As I read the 23rd Psalm recently, 3 words jumped off the page: He Leadeth Me. As I read John Piper’s “Four Ways God Leads His People”, the powerful and concise way he describes the “four methods that God uses to leads us in his will” really caught my eye. I am sharing it with you today.
Who is John Piper? He is a Baptist minister who has written many books. His insight into the Bible are extraordinary. His educational path, prior to joining the ranks of the clergy, has surely affected his thinking and writing; Piper is a graduate of Wheaton College (less than 25 miles from Brown, my Alma mater), Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D. Theology).
The Lord is My Shepherd
Psalm 23: 1-3
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
The “Four D’s” of God’s ‘Leadership’ (Piper)
When he decrees, “God sovereignly decrees and designs circumstances so that we end up where he wants us to be even if we don’t have any conscious part in getting there.” Moreover, Piper states, “It is unique above the other three leadings because it includes them (since God’s decrees include all our decisions) and because it happens infallibly (since “no purpose of [God’s] can be thwarted,” Job 42:2).” People, unlike with the other three types of ‘leadership’, are “unconsciously led” when God decrees.
When he leads by direction, God simply “does for us by giving us the commands and teachings of the Bible.”
- When an abiding Christian uses the Bible effectually (4th Pillar of nine Christian Assurance Pillars), God’s ‘directed’ leading is involved and on display.
When he leads by discernment, the Lord’s no longer leading with simple Biblical teachings (e.g. the Ten Commandments, an example of “directed” leading). As Piper notes: “Most of the decisions we make are not spelled out specifically in the Bible. Discernment is how we follow God’s leading through the process of spiritually sensitive application of biblical truth to the particularities of our situation.”
- Consequently, the less spiritually mature will be more challenged when this way is being used by God. Your spiritual growth will allow you to develop a higher level of spiritual discernment.
When he leads by declaration, God “declares to us what we should do.” Piper cites that this is the least common way for Him to lead God-abiding men, woman, and children. Unlike the “discerned” leading of God, his declared desires are crystal clear.
- However, a Christian’s will to faithfully follow and act upon the declaration is a hurdle for them to clear. The last time God declared you do something did you do it?
- The 2013 John Piper article highlighted and quoted in this post was found on www.bibleStudyTools.com. It was originally posted on the Desiring God site.
He leadeth us. He leadeth all his children. Will you keep following Him?
Grace, mercy, and peace to You.
Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way