Pitfalls from Packer on Guidance

17 03 2010

J.I.Packer in his book ‘Knowing God’ has a chapter on Guidance. Here is a summarised version of a list of pitfalls to us being guided by God. See ‘Knowing God’ p. 269-271

1. Unwillingness to think. “It is false piety, super-super-naturalism of an unhealthy and pernicious sort, that demands inward impressions that have no rational base, and declines to heed the constant biblical summons to ‘consider’. ‘O that they were wise..that they would consider. Deuteronomy 32:29.

2. Unwillingness to think ahead, and weigh the long-term consequences of alternative courses fo action. ‘O that they were wise…that they would consdier their latter end.’

3. Unwillingness to take advice. Scripture is emphatic on the need for this. ‘The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.’ Proverbs 12:15

4. Unwillingness to suspect oneself. “We dislike being realistic with ourselves, and we do not know ourselves at all well; we recognise rationalistions in others and quite overlook them in ourselves.”

5. Unwillingness to discount personal magnestism. “Outstanding people are not, indeed necessarily wrong, but they are not necessarily right either! They, and their views, must be respected, but not idolised.’ ‘Test everything. Hold on to the good.’ 1 Thess 5:21

6. Unwillingness to wait. “‘Wait on the Lord’ is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.”

I would add that prayer is necessary through this whole process.


Packer on Wisdom

16 02 2010

Here’s some quotes from Packer in his discussion on ‘wisdom’ in ‘Knowing God.’

“”For the truth is that God in his wisdom, to make and keep us humble and to teach us to walk by faith, has hidden from us almost everything that we should like to know about the providential purposes which he is working out in the churches and in our own lives.” p.119

“We can be sure that the God who made this marvellously complex world-order…knows what he is doing, and ‘doeth all things well’, even if for the moment he hides his hand. We can trust him and rejoice in him, even when we cannot discern his path.” p.120

“Your part is to use all the good sense and enterprise at your command in exploiting the oppurtunities that life before you.” p.120


22 01 2010

This is another excerpt from Knowing God that I had to share. The lesson God taught Jacob is surely the lesson we all need to learn and relearn each day.

“Jacob…must be made to feel his own utter weakness and foolishness, and brought to such complete self-distrust that he would no longer try to get on by exploiting others. Jacob’s self-reliance must go, once and for all. With patient wisdom (for God always waits for the right time) God led Jacob to the point at which he could stamp the required sense of impotent helplessness indelibly and decisively on Jacob’s soul.”   Knowing God p.105

Why not replace Jacob’s name with your name?

Then turn to Jesus for grace and strength.

Turning knowledge about God into knowledge of God

12 01 2010

“How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? …we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God….What is meditation?…meditation it the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously preformed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God. Its purpose is to clear one’s mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let his truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart. It is a matter of talking to oneself about God and oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God’s power and grace.

Its effect is ever to humble us, as we contemplate God’s greatness and glory, and our own littleness and sinfulness, and to encourage and reassure us – as we contemplate the unsearchable riches of divine mercy displayed in the Lord Jesus Christ…And it is as we enter more and more deeply into this experience of being humbled and exalted that our knowledge of God increases, and with it our peace, our strength and our joy. God help us, then, to put our knowledge about God to this use, that we all may in truth ‘know the Lord’.”   J.I. Packer – Knowing God p.22-23