The thesis of this book is that divine guidance is astonishingly simple. It is the joyful portion of those who repent and become as children. It requires no spiritual or intellectual equipment beyond a heart that thirsts for God Himself--above all manifestations or gifts or experiences or revelations which may or may not come. God himself. God alone.

  When our heart-thirst is pure, our eye begins to see Jesus of Nazareth as he is forever. And in seeing him we see the ever-glorious One to whom Jesus is the express image, the perfect utterance. We pass from darkness into light and from the power of Satan into the very heart of God in our daily life.  




Chap. 9 - Satisfied
Chap. 10 - Sent
Chap. 11 - Spent
Chap. 12 - Blessed Are the Peacemakers
Chap. 13 - Inner Renewal
Chap. 14 - Led By the Lamb


Chap. 1 - Hearing His Voice (below)
Chap. 2 - Having This Mind (below)
Chap. 3 - Know Who You Are
Chap. 4 - Believe
Chap. 5 - When You Lose Touch
Chap. 6 - The Cross
Chap. 7 - Freedom
Chap. 8 - Don't Panic



Chapter one                         HEARING HIS VOICE


.... And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

I Kings 19:11-13 

It was probably the most discouraged and troubled hour of Elijah's life. But Elijah nevertheless was able to distinguish between hearing noise and hearing the voice of God. God was not in the wind. God was not in the earthquake. God was not in the fire. But when Elijah's heart began to hear the voice of a gentle stillness, he knew he was hearing God. 

The most important gift on this earth, and it is a gift imparted to every follower of the Lamb, is the ability to know the voice of God, to distinguish it from all other voices.  

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand."

John 10:27-28  

Books are coming off the press by the carload, teachings are being given - often almost in a whisper, that claim to show you how to hear the voice of the Lord, as if it were a skill to be developed. But the more you read those books and the more you expose yourself to those teachings, the more confused you will become: the more vulnerable you will be to every weird spirit that comes drifting down the road. Because you're making a science out of a faculty you already have. You're complicating something that must be kept simple.  

"My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me ......”


Hearing With The Heart


How do I hear the voice of the Shepherd? With these ears? Sometimes I hear with these ears words that I know are coming straight from the lips of the Son of God, uttered perhaps by a friend or a stranger, but I don't wait for a voice of thunder to waken these ears in the middle of the night.  

Then do I hear with my mind? At times a thought comes into my mind which is pure Christ, I know it came from him, but if I start playing games in  my mind, asking questions and waiting for answers, I will soon get strange answers.  

No. I hear the voice of the Shepherd with my heart, my will. If my heart is fixed on the Lamb of God in thanksgiving and worship and praise for his great kindness, for who he is, for his death on the cross, then somehow in any one of a million, different ways – in whatever way he chooses -- Jesus makes me to know the next step. If my heart is fixed on Jesus, I don’t have to hear a voice telling me to forgive, I know that is his will. I don’t  have to hear a voice telling me to pay my bills and make certain wrongs right. Or to stop making a pig of myself at the table, or to be thoughtful of those people I have often taken for granted.  

But if there is something I don't know which I need to know, some change I haven't understood that needs to be made, in some way the Shepherd will make me to know. In some way I will hear his voice. And it will almost never be an audible voice. Rarely will it be one of those many voices that rise and fall in our minds. If he does speak in our mind the Shepherd’s voice will be as different from those mental noises that talk in our heads as the voice of a gentle stillness different from the wind, earthquake and fire.


The Idolatry Of The Means


The means by which the Shepherd speaks will continuously change, remaining a mystery, so that we can never develop a system of hearing the Lord like dialing the weather or conducting a séance. These things need to be said because there are so many believers who start out following the Lord with great joy. Wisdom from heaven visits their minds; they understand the things of God; they minister; they help others to find the Lord. Then comes a testing time, a dry period, when they seem to experience confusion. They long for that clear-cut relationship they had before. A voice is heard which claims to be the voice of the Lord. It promises blessing, risks some innocent act of obedience to itself. And as they respond to this voice things seem to click. The voice demands another act of obedience. Again the response seems to bring blessing. Then imperceptibly the demands this voice makes start becoming strange. The voice divides and becomes two. Then five. Now the believer is on a fast for some grandiose cause. Or locked in a room refusing to see people, or in the jungle trying to figure out what to do next, or flying to Jerusalem to be one of the two witnesses of Revelation, or simply part of some "prayer group" that operates more like a séance than the kingdom.  

"How can such things happen?" we ask. "How can it be that people can start out in all sincerity, following Jesus, listening to his voice, practicing his mercy, and end up so far in left field? Doesn't the living God promise to instruct us and teach us in the way that we should go? Doesn't he promise to guide us with his eye? Doesn't Jesus assure us that if we ask our Father for bread we won't get a stone?  

How can it be that people who start out presumably hearing the voice of the Shepherd end up hearing a cacophony of voices that literally drives them out of their minds? The same Jesus who promises to make his voice known to his sheep warns us to beware of false prophets who come to us in sheep's clothing, who claim to be fellow sheep following the same Shepherd listening to the Shepherd's voice, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves who devour and destroy. Jesus makes us responsible for knowing the difference between a false prophet and a true one and the same Spirit who spoke through the Son of God and who has guided and directed the church down through twenty centuries also counsels us to test the spirits that speak to us in any way, through men or in our heads or through the air itself. He makes us responsible for knowing the difference between the Spirit of God and spirits that purport to be of God but are from the Pit.  

And what do these false prophets and lying spirits do? Time and again they lead us into the trap where we are more taken up with hearing a voice than we are with doing the will of the Lord that we already know.  

So instead of doing the will of God, which is mercy, instead of going forth and proclaiming the word which is Jesus crucified and risen, we sit around waiting for some spiritual voice to tell us what shirt to put on.  

People are being taught, "Don't get out of bed unless the Lord tells to him you to get up." "Don't shop at A & P unless the Lord shows you to." "Don't do anything until the Lord tells you." The Lord has already called them to rise up and follow him in the doing of the good and merciful will of God, to think with sanctified brains, to labor with sanctified hands, to speak in kindness and truth words that reflect his grace. But instead, these troubled souls sit around waiting for some hollow voice to say, "Now, my child, get up. "Not A & P my child, Farmer Jack's." And before long a voice indeed is heard that will even tell you what socks to put on. But is it the voice of God?  

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many will false prophets have gone out into the world. By hand this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ, has come in the flesh is of God                                                             I John 4:1-2


The Word Was Made Flesh


What does it mean that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? It means that Jesus came into this real world of flesh and blood, won the victory in this realm of flesh and blood, and so he never leads you into a realm of sheer spirit -- not in this life. When you start hearing spiritual voices that offer to lift you into spiritual heights --- look out!  

Jesus didn't call us to listen for voices. He has already made us to hear his voice, called us to follow him in the doing of the Father's gracious will. He has already told us exactly what God's will is:

” .... go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice ....                                                 


Mercy …  Goodness … Forgiveness … God's peace. And if we should have problems translating his mercy into day-by-day living, Jesus will help us. Through the Spirit he will make his specific will known in the voice of a gentle stillness as we faithfully do what lies in front of us. "Oh, but I don't know what Jesus wants me to do today!" What do you mean you don't know what Jesus wants you to do today? You know that Jesus wants you to love with all your soul, strength and mind. You know that Jesus wants you to pray and not to faint, to trust the heavenly Father. You know he wants you to forgive, to love your neighbor, to give to him who is in need, to humble yourself, to do good to those who give you a hard time, to proclaim the kingdom.  

To hear the Shepherd's voice is not to hear voices but to acknowledge that the words of God which have already come to us, through Jesus' gracious lips, are true, by believing them, by doing them.  

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand."

John 10:27-28 

If your heart is drawn to the Jesus of the gospels, you will hear his voice and you will be known by him and you will follow him, and he will give to you eternal life and no one will snatch you out of his hand.



Chapter two                         HAVING HIS MIND


Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Philippians 2:5-7 

When someone talks about divine guidance we tend to picture a to be a "walkie-talkie" relationship with God where we keep getting messages, "Now go-here  "Now go there…”  

While there are times when the Spirit of God intervenes in this way, the vast bulk of divine guidance is an inner thing. It's not a matter of getting messages, but of being so indwelt with the Spirit of God, so saturated with the love of God, that we begin to think in God. God's thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are our ways his ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God's ways are higher than our ways, and his thoughts than our thoughts. But when, by the power of his cross, we come into Jesus Christ, we are called out of our ways and our thoughts into God's ways and God's thoughts. We are invited by the Spirit of God to enter into the mind of Christ.


The Unrenewed Mind


The natural mind is the throne of the Deceiver, the dwelling place of Satan. The Deceiver keeps urging us to eat of the Tree of Knowledge promising that as we do we shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. But knowledge apart from God - knowledge that excludes the reality of the living God - becomes distorted and false, is inflamed with a weird imagination, vanity, suspicion.  

.... for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.

Romans 1:21-22

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Romans 1:28-31

  All these things flow out of a mind which is estranged from God and is held in the grip of the Father of Lies.

  How can a base mind, reprobate mind, a darkened mind, receive divine guidance? If the mind is deceived it will then be "guided" by strange voices and think they are the voice of God. If the mind is deceived the life we live becomes an out flowing of that deception. Certain of our rightness, we set about to change the world. But the changes turn out to be destructive. How many of us are "seeking direction" with minds so bent out of shape we can't recognize truth which comes to us? We swallow lie after lie as if it came from the Throne of God.


The Renewed Mind


The basic requirement of divine guidance is to have the deceived mind set free from the lies that hold it prisoner and brought into truth; no longer conformed to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life; but renewed in the image of God - given the mind of Christ. What we need -- desperately need -- is not to hear voices, "messages from heaven" as if we were plugged into a computer, but to have in us the mind of Christ: a free mind, a clear mind, a mind that is able to recognize and appreciate the mercy of God. Then guidance comes from within.

  Is this too much to expect? Then why does Paul make the fantastic claim in I Corinthians that he has the mind of Christ? Why does he exhort us in Philippians 2 to have the mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus? Why does he tell us in Colossians 3 to set our minds on things above? Why does he beseech us by the mercies of God ... not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds? Because he knows from his own experience that we can have the mind of Christ --­ a mind that thinks God's thoughts, moves in God's ways. A mind that is Iiterally saturated with the life, the mercy, the wisdom, the truth of God. This mind is ours for the receiving. A mind we can enter if we will. Have this mind in you ... be transformed by the renewing of your mind... set your mind ... turn your mind toward the Lord. Open it to that living truth which comes rushing down from Calvary like a river and washes away the lies, which have held it, bound for so long. Soon you will be thinking God's thoughts of mercy, thinking the very thoughts of God. And you will be doing God's deeds of mercy from a mind that is set to do the will of God which it knows as well as it knows its own name.  

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus …

Philippians 2:5


The Mind of Christ


The mind of Christ is down-to-earth.

  who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but

emptied himself, …

Philippians 2:6-7a  

Jesus was in the form of God but he gave it up and came down to earth. We are not in the form of God, yet we are forever trying to rise up and vie with God for the power and the glory to be our own god. To enter into the mind of Christ all we have to do is let go of our vanity and come down to earth. I need to forsake the idea that I have superior insight, "I can criticize all I like because I'm right. I discern. I see through people. To have the mind of Christ is to give up such a position, which we know to be false, and come down to earth. I need to desert the idea that I have a superior destiny --- "I’m not like other mortals, I've been chosen by God for some great work. I'm God's special messenger to my fellowship.   I’m the martyr of martyrs. To have the mind of Christ is to give up these illusions and come down to reality.

  The mind of Christ is the mind of a servant.

  “... taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men… "

Philippians 2:7b

  No Ionger in the form of God, yet manifesting what God is like, clearly for the first time on earth as a servant.

  "For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many."  Mark 10:45

  This is the Father's nature; this is what the Son is like. And as we enter into his mind this becomes our nature too. To serve, to pour out our lives as quietly, and efficiently and unobtrusively as the household servant. Not as a duty, or as proof that we're totally committed, but as our joy! Glad to serve- in the lowliest, meanest, most thankless place.

  The mind of Christ is a passion to do the will of God -- which is mercy.

  And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.  Philippians 2:8

  Jesus didn't do this as a chore. He did this as a burning passion.

  "My meat is to do the will of God and to accomplish his work."  John 4:34

  "I have a baptism to be baptized with (of fire) and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!"  Luke 12:50

  "Father, I came to do your will, in the volume of the book it is written of me."

Hebrews 10:7

  If we awaken in the morning with the mind of Christ we awaken with a desire, a passion, to do one thing: to offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice to God in the exact place where we are --- in our present cir­cumstances. To pour ourselves out in performing the will of God, which is mercy, even unto death, Each new day we bring our mind to the flame of Christ's mind until it catches fire with that flame afresh, until it burns with his passion. When our minds burn with the passion of the mind of Christ there is little need to hear voices or get messages.

  What a strange sight we must be to the Father so much of the time. People who desire to be led by God; and yet when God looks at our minds what does he see? Cobwebs and dust to be sure, clutter and distraction indeed, but far worse he sees minds that are satisfied to go on and on locked in deception and vanity, minds that are darkened and dull and sluggish and base. Do we think God can't see the perversity, the sick twisted thoughts that occupy our minds? Can we presume to think our minds are capable of divine guidance in this shape?

  Are we willing to exchange these minds for the mind of Christ day-by-day, hour-by-hour? Are we willing to be transformed by the renewing of our minds in the mind of Christ?  What a change will come over our living when our mind becomes the dwelling place, no more of the serpent who beguiles, but of the Christ who sets us free.