F. B. Meyer was a famous London pastor of the 19th Century who led the English speaking world into the “Deeper Life” in Christ. His book The Secret of Guidance is a classic of devotion to Christ. He writes, “So much of our power and peace consist in knowing where God would have us be and in just being there” (p. 19). Learning to discern God’s will and hear his still, small voice are essential to a life of joy and fruitfulness.
Yet, all of us struggle with this, including those of us who are spokespersons or caregivers for Christ. Meyer cautions, “How much of our Christian work has been abortive because we have persisted in initiating it for ourselves, instead of ascertaining what God was doing and where He required our presence!” (p. 19)
God is active in your life and calling you to join in with what he’s doing. How do you discern this? How do you hear God’s voice? Meyer answers, “The Word is the wire along which the voice of God will certainly come to you if the heart is hushed and the attention fixed” (p. 42). But to hear God’s voice we need more than the Bible. Meyer teaches us to look for the Three Lights.
What follows are the words of F. B. Meyer, the inspiring little book he wrote in 1896, which went on to become a classic of devotion to Christ, The Secret of Guidance:
Wait for the Three Lights to Converge
God’s impressions within and His Word without are always corroborated by His providence around, and we should quietly wait until these three focus into one point.
Sometimes it looks as if we are bound to act. Everyone says we must do something, and indeed, things seem to have reached so desperate a pitch that we must. Behind are the Egyptians; right and left are inaccessible precipices; before is the sea. It is not easy at such times to stand sill and see the salvation of God, but we must. When Saul compelled himself and offered sacrifice because he thought that Samuel was too late in coming, he made the great mistake of his life.
God may delay to come in the guise of His providence…
Your Circumstances will Become Glowworms
Sometimes [we] sigh for an angel to come to point the way [but] the time has not come for [us] to move. If you do not know what you ought to do, stand still until you do. And when the time comes for action, circumstances, like glowworms, will sparkle along your path. You will become so sure that you are right, when God’s three witnesses concur, that you could not be surer though an angel beckoned you on.
The circumstances of our daily life are to us an infallible indication of God’s will when they concur with the inward promptings of the Spirit and with the Word of God. So long as they are stationary, wait. When you must act, they will open, and a way will be made through oceans and rivers, wastelands and rocks.
We often make a great mistake, thinking that God is not guiding us at all, because we cannot see far in front. But this is not his method. He only undertakes that the steps of a good person would be ordered by the Lord. Not next year, but tomorrow. Not the next mile, but the next yard. Not the whole pattern, but the next stitch in the canvas. If you expect more than this, you will be disappointed and get back into the dark. But this [method] will secure for you leading in the right way, as you will acknowledge when you review it from the hilltops of glory.
(The Secret of Guidance by F. B. Meyer; published by Moody Publishers in 1997/2010 and originally written in 1896, pp. 28-30.)
The Three Lights as a GPS
My article “Hearing God’s Voice Today” elaborates on Meyer’s teaching about the Three Lights and puts them into a GPS acronym, a simple tool to use for personal discernment and teaching others. GPS stands for God’s Word, Providence (seen in circumstances), and Spirit impressions.