By Father Peter Farrington
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’.” This is the first commandment | Guide Me In The Right Path [P1].
Most of us desire to be guided by God. We do not want to wander aimlessly through life, or make wrong choices. But it is very easy to find ourselves confused about what God wants from us, and desires for us. This is especially so when we are considering actions and choices which have significant and practical consequences for our lives. Sometimes we feel that if only an angel would visit us then everything would be clear. Yet we only have to remember the angelic messages given to the Virgin Mary, and to Zachariah.
The Virgin Mary had grown up in the Temple and was used to receiving the visits of angels. Therefore when she received the word of God from Gabriel, she committed herself to it in obedience, but she did not understand how it might come about. And when the angel visited Zachariah, he also could not comprehend how God’s word could be fulfilled, but this led him to doubt, even in the angel’s presence. And in the Old Testament, when Abraham entertained his angelic visitors, his wife Sarah, hearing the Lord say that she would bear a child in her old age laughed in disbelief.
Guide Me | God Grace
So we should not imagine that having an angel appear to us would take away all of our doubts and confusions.
It seems to me that several things are required of us if we hope to be guided by God in our lives, and be found doing his will, and many of these things are quite ordinary and demand perseverance rather than an experience of miracles and exceptional events. These are preconditions, I believe, which we have to be trying to fulfill in our lies, in whatever partial manner we may find is possible for us, by the grace of God, otherwise, it seems to me, we cannot expect to be guided by God.
#1 – We must be willing to commit our lives to God, to doing his will, and to seeking and following his guidance. If we are not willing to commit our lives to God and his service then we will not be willing to obey his will, and if we are not willing to be obedient then we will find it harder to understand God’s will.
This does not mean that God abandons us, rather it is that we have turned our faces away from him and following our own will he does not force himself upon us, and it seems that he becomes silent. In truth, it is us who become hard of hearing.
Our Lord Jesus Christ says to us,
Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Guide Me | The Life
Very often we hesitate to commit our whole life to God. We are afraid that he will ask us to do something we do not want to, or that he will take away from us all the things we enjoy. We have a sense that God demands religious things of us, but all the practical aspects of our life should be more or less left to us to sort out. There is even that practice we sometimes fall into of doing what we want ourselves, and then asking God to bless what we have already chosen to do, as if that was doing God’s will.
“What does our Lord Jesus ask of us, indeed what is the chief commandment? It is that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. He asks for all of us, and promises all that we need in return. And if we wish to be guided by God then this must be our starting point.” Father Peter Farrington illustrated | Guide Me In The Right Path [P1].
But if we do not allow God to have authority over our lives then we cannot expect to be guided by him. The guidance of God is not partial, as if we could say that we would follow his will here and there, but will look after things ourselves in this and that aspect of our life. If we create no-go areas in our lives, where God is not allowed, then we are closing our whole heart, whatever we say to ourselves.
So we must seek the Kingdom of God, first and above all things, and God promises to provide all else that we need in our lives, both to do his will, and for life itself. And it is our Lord Jesus Christ who also says to us,
The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
What does our Lord Jesus ask of us, indeed what is the chief commandment? It is that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. He asks for all of us, and promises all that we need in return. And if we wish to be guided by God then this must be our starting point. We find this in the attitude and instruction of the Virgin Mary.
In the first place, she says to the word of God given to her by the angelic visitor – Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word. And then in the second place, she says to the servants at the Wedding in Cana – Do whatever he says to you.
Guide Me | The Attitude
This is the attitude, it seems to me, which is required of us if we wish to be guided by God. Or at least it is the first attitude. The more we are able and willing to give our life to God, trusting in him, then the greater the degree of our experiencing the guidance of God. We should not underestimate the difficulty in giving ourselves to God in such a way, at the beginning of our journey of faith, or when we have grown used to following our own will.
We may be afraid, at first, of all manner of consequences in trusting God with our whole heart. But we should pray, Lord, I offer myself entirely to you, filled with weakness and anxiety of every kind. But I ask that you will take the gift of my life, and grant in return all the grace and experience of the divine life which is necessary for me to hear your word and respond in obedience. When we pray in such a way, God will hear and honour our desire, whatever the weakness and fear we find in our heart.
God certainly wants to guide us, as we will discover the word and will of God more easily heard and understood. To be continued…
Delivered to you by COPTICNN™ | Coptic News Network on 2020-02-03 from Liverpool, England
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