How do we know what we ought to do? Where do our direction and strength come from?
“Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1b-2 NIV)
A friend once wrote me about how God helps her to know what she ought to do. She experiences His nudging or encouraging when she is making decisions, just like seeing signal lights at intersections. With a green light, she acts on it and thanks God for the signal. For instance, she might call on a friend and discover how needed the visit was.
Lectio Divina (Latin for “divine reading”) is a method that has helped me to hear the Lord speak through His Word and experience His guidance like signal lights. Each Tuesday noon hour, a few people gather at our church. A Scripture passage of usually 2-3 verses is read. The first time, we listen for a specific word or phrase that the Lord is impressing upon us, followed by silent meditation. Then the passage is read once more. This time, we silently ask the Lord to reveal what it is in our lives that caused that word or phrase to be so meaningful and why He gave that to us. Following each time of meditation, there is an opportunity for each of us to share. After the third reading, we meditate on whether the Lord is offering an invitation or a challenge in relation to the word or phrase.
When I was discouraged recently and uncertain as to what direction to take, the Holy Spirit spoke to me as if by a flashing yellow light, warning me to slow down, to talk to the Lord (pray), and to read His Word to seek His guidance. It is amazing how He answers when I do that! I have discovered that I can follow Lectio Divina at home by recording a passage using my iPad and playing it back, thus hearing the passage read three times, each followed by a time of meditation.
As an example of how this works, recently, I received messages asking for my participation in two very different types of volunteer activities. Following the Lectio Divina method, I heard and silently meditated on His Word from Colossians 3:23: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” (NKJV) The answers were clear, as if He had spoken with clarity, though not audibly. My reason for accepting the first request would have been to help out and to please those people, rather than the Lord — a red light. The other request was a clear green light to serve the Lord and accept the challenge with God helping me.
Points for us to ponder: Is the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, guiding us as if by signal lights to warn, guide, and direct our decisions? Do we seek His will by hearing and meditating on His Word?
Prayer: Dear Lord, Maker of heaven and earth, help us remember to look to You for direction and to seek Your will. Thank You that You still speak to us through Your Word. Give us ears to hear and wills to obey! Amen.
Mary Lou Tompkins