Direction or correction?

God guides us using two distinct processes: Direction and Correction.


We already know we don’t have the capacity to lead ourselves well (Jeremiah 10:23), and God seeks to help us by guiding or directing us in the way we ought to go. 

Direction happens when we follow Proverbs 3:

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

Proverbs 3:5-7

  1. Trust

Know that God knows better and believe He has your best interests at heart. This is where faith comes in. You cannot trust Him if you don’t believe He know’s what is best. 


2. Lean not

It’s easy to think you’ve got it under control, that’s what the Bible would call “leaning on your own understanding.” It’s the inherent mindset that you know better than God. Be careful that you don’t just pray and ask God to bless what you’ve already decided to do! The Bible says:

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

Proverbs 3:7

Lean fully on God’s wisdom and understanding to direct you. 


3. Acknowledge Him

Can you imagine your reaction if your parents told you they were moving tomorrow and had never asked for your opinion before making the decision? You’d be upset! You would wish that you had been acknowledged. This is the same concept with how God wants to be involved. He gave us the ability to make our own decisions, but He wants us to learn to come to Him first before making them. Look for His guidance! God promises wisdom to all who ask!

Pray like Christ prayed in the Garden,

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Luke 22:42

Jesus knew what was coming and wanted something different. However, He acknowledged God and instead of pushing Him to change His plan, Christ made clear His request and left the decision up to God. Tell him what you’re thinking but trust His guidance.

We get God’s direction by studying His word and through prayer. Spend time in the Bible in order to give the Holy Spirit fuel to work on your heart. When you listen to preaching, you’re giving the Holy Spirit space to guide you; and when you passionately pray for help, God works to use His word to guide you. These two things work together to provide a synergy of direction. What you read and hear guides you while you’re praying for God to speak through it.



This comes after you have ignored the direction God has tried to provide. Just like Jonah, when we refuse to follow God’s direction, God makes that way we have chosen difficult (Jonah 1). God never starts here, but He will use correction if necessary. Sadly, this is the only type of relationship some Christians may ever develop with God. God loves us enough to direct us, but He also loves us enough to correct us. Our prayer should be for openness of heart and willingness to follow the direction God gives us the first time!

Correction is what the prodigal son experienced when he went his own direction! Hey Christians, when your life seems to fall apart around you it’s likely God trying to get your attention. Correction is God’s way of bringing you back to Him

A simple example

Direction or correction are choices more often than you think

I teach a variety of classes in our Christian School. This particular year, I was teaching a financial literacy class for high school students. One day, I encountered two students who were hiding coffees from a nearby coffee stand beside their desks on the floor. School rules were clear, any drinks besides water were supposed to stay in the students’ lockers. I encountered the coffee cups and discreetly told them to stop what they were doing and take the drinks to their lockers.

Immediately, they both jumped to the defense. Arguing, their voices became louder as they began demanding that I allow them to keep their drinks as “other teachers allow them to do it.” For the second time, I requested they remove their drinks. Again they bombard me with demands to instead place their half filled cups on the counter in the back of the classroom so they would still have access to them. Their voices had now grown so loud and their arguing so undeniable that the entire class had looked up from their classwork to watch the show. With no other option, I raised my voice to talk over them, “You will both take your cups immediately to your lockers and when you return I will have a demerit slip ready for each of you, go now!” They sulked out of the classroom with no choice but to accept the punishment that easily could have been avoided.

When you ignore God’s direction to do what you want, you are left to deal with God’s correction that comes later.

When correction comes

  1. Be thankful God wants you back.

Yes correction is annoying. Understand, however, that correction represents God’s desire to direct you again. God wants to be involved in your life, and correction facilitates getting you back on His path. 


2. Be receptive to what He is teaching you.

God wants to teach you something. The quicker you learn it, the faster you can move from correction back to direction. React positively to His moving. 


3. Pray that God will help you understand His direction the first time.

Cultivate a spirit of willingness inside yourself. If you can learn to hear and respond to God’s direction the first time, you’ll never be forced to handle His correction later. 


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