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. 


Am i doing the right thing?

Why life is confusing and you can’t trust yourself

As I entered my senior year of High School, I woke up suddenly to the realization that I had to make a decision about my future, and soon! The impending deadline for that life altering question, “What will I do with the rest of my life?” haunted me as I went to class and completed my assignments. It doesn’t help that choosing what you’ll do with the rest of your life happens during the most transitional part of your life. You’re no longer a child, but you’re not quite an adult just yet either. Why do we struggle with knowing when we’re doing the right thing? The Bible lays it out fairly plainly in Jeremiah 10:


Look at the problem

We operate on a moral compass that has no true north. If you were to take an expensive dslr camera with a 10x magnification lens and were to point that camera towards something in the distance, you would find that as you zoomed in, you would struggle to keep that object in the frame. The slightest degree off center would cause you to zoom in to the wrong place.

Pilots are said to have an air navigation rule called the 1 in 60 rule. It means simply that for every degree a plane gets off its course, it will miss the target destination by 1 mile for every 60 miles you fly. The farther you fly, the further from your destination you will find yourself.

A compass that has no true north is useless. If you can’t rely on it to point you in the right direction, you really don’t want to follow that compass. Sadly, you don’t even have to be way off in left field when you start! Even a little off base and you’ll miss the mark!

Plainly put, we cannot know what is actually correct. Just as Jeremiah said in the passage above, “the way of man is not in himself.” We can try as hard as we can to be right about everything and still be wrong about a whole lot. You likely have regrets in your life; did you get those regrets because one day you chose to do something harmful to your future? Probably not. Most of us have regrets because we did something wrong in spite of trying to do or say the right thing.


look at the predisposition

This is where we really hurt ourselves. We naturally assume we are always right. As humans, we are capable of endless self deception.


Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

Proverbs 21:2


We give ourself passes to be wrong, even when we hold others to a higher standard! Just consider how many times you have been upset at someone for something you are also guilty of! Not only are we off target most of the time, we are the first to make ourselves feel better for being wrong. This makes our own target untrustworthy because we cannot even bring ourselves to follow our own standard. So how can we fix this problem?


Look at the prescription

We must trust someone who sees more clearly than we do and we must hold ourselves to a higher standard than our own.


Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

John 16:13


If we want to be right about the things we do and the decisions we make, we must allow God to direct our steps.


Looking for more on how God directs us? Check out this post: 

Direction or Correction?