Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Charles Stanley: Real Guidance for Life's Journey

Who doesn't want to walk through life wisely? There are those careless ones who disdain any approach to life that smacks of restraint. But most of us want to avoid foolish pitfalls. And now renowned Christian leader and author Charles Stanley has provided a road map.

His book Walking Wisely: Real Guidance for Life's Journey is a practical handbook on the subject.

"Wisdom is the capacity to see things from God's perspective and to respond to them according to scriptural principles," writes Stanley.

Drawing heavily on Proverbs, Stanley devotes the first half of the book to telling us why we want to walk wisely and to teaching us the basics. The rest of the book addresses specific situations where wisdom is desperately needed.

In making his case, he compares earthly wisdom to Godly wisdom, emphasizing that information and knowledge are not wisdom. In fact Godly wisdom can appear downright foolish by earthly standards.

"Earthly wisdom is doing what comes naturally," he writes. "Godly wisdom is doing what the Holy Spirit compels us to do."

Note the word "compels." The prodding of the Holy Spirit may lead us into unwelcome territory. Wisdom comes in verifying that leading and then obeying.

If you need any convincing, Stanley draws a nasty picture of the repercussions of earthly wisdom -- power struggles, greed, envy, lust, blasphemy, heresy and more.

But if you seek Godly counsel, you have the creator and ruler of the universe on your side.

The benefits? A gain in knowledge of God. Clear guidance from God. God's divine protection. God's strength and power. Genuine joy and contentment. A good self-image. Whole-person prosperity. Good health and a long life.

Stanley then offers a step-by-step plan for laying hold of these treasures.

First, we must be determined, not turned aside by naysayers or directions from God that seem out of whack. "One of the main admonitions for acquiring wisdom is that we seek it. This requires diligence that is unwavering."

We must ask God in prayer for wisdom. " we must consciously and intentionally ask the Lord daily to reveal His wisdom in every area of challenge, difficulty or opportunity that we face." And we must meditate on God's Word. But we can't stop there. We must actively apply and obey God's Word.

Another essential is sensitivity to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. A prompting "is like a flash of lightening in a person's spirit that creates an almost immediate knowing of how to respond. The prompting comes with a deep assurance and confidence that the choice or decision is right." You'll make some mistakes, Stanley concedes, but recognizing these promptings gets easier with practice.

Next, we must observe God at work in the world. Learn from nature, from events and from the lives of other people.

The people to focus on in your friendships are those who have already displayed skill in walking wisely. "Don't just accept people into your life solely because they live close to you, you have known them a long time, or you feel obligated by them to be a friend or colleague." Rather, focus on character and commitment to Christ.

Walking wisely doesn't come naturally, and it's not easy to master. It requires time and discipline. But Stanley argues persuasively that it's worth the effort.

Do you need wisdom for confronting temptation? For choosing friends and business associates? For building deep, lasting, Godly friendships? Do you need to heal a damaged relationship? Counter conflict and criticism in your life? Do you want a deeper relationship with God?

Stanley tackles all these situations with detailed advice on how to deal with each wisely.

You may think that you know all this, but I encourage you to read Stanley's advice. It can prompt some valuable soul searching.

I thought I was walking wisely but was forced by Stanley to trace some trails I blazed on my own that led to dead ends. I am now more energized to undertake the walk with conscious discipline. My heart will be more sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and my will more attuned to following through.

I gain my resolve from the simple truth expounded by Stanley. It really is possible to walk wisely with God.

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