I warned you. I really do not know what I am doing. Here I am breaking Rule #23525 of How to Blog: to be the world's best blogger, respond to a comment in the comment section. I know, I know. Here I am responding to a reader's comment in a new blog post. This is all your fault.
I am humbled that a reader took the time to read my last post (The One Small Step). I am even more humbled that the reader responded to it. Thanks for your encouragement—I truly do not know what I am doing (oh my dear goodness).
I am posting my response because the purpose of this blog is to fuel discussion--I do not want the discussion to be an afterthought, I want it to be the thought. And, here it goes:
In a nutshell, the reader asked, "How does one discern God’s will for his/her life?"
I really can only answer this based on my personal experience—which others’ experiences have confirmed. I am likely oversimplifying this often agonizing process; this process may also look different in different contexts. I apologize for being long-winded—even an oversimplified version of my complicated journey is. . .well, complicated.
The following have consistently been vessels for God’s voice in my life:
1. Prayer & God’s Word. This may seem like the cliché answer. And it is. But, it is true. And they are inseparable—you need them both; together. We understand what God is saying to us through the Bible because we discuss it with God. You will experience how active God’s Word is—especially in giving you direction. Spend time engaging in God’s presence. If that does not give you firm direction, it will shape the attitude of your heart about God—and the latter is most important.
2. Prayer & Agreement. God speaks to me almost always through His body of believers He has given me. I have a select number of family and/or friends who speak into my life. (I always refer to these people as “my” body of believers—although they are very much God’s body.). I have seen their pursuit of God, and I have heard the Lord speak through them. Most often, God puts something on my heart individually and through prayer, those people are in agreement with what I have heard. Sometimes those people have spoken into my life before God has spoken to me, and then God confirms what He spoke through those people. Be careful whom you let speak into your life. Even godly individuals are humans first, so I encourage you to let the Spirit in you and God’s Word test everything anybody says.
3. A Step of Faith. If you have earnestly sought God through time with God, God’s Word, and others’ counsel and you have not received a no, pray about taking a step in faith. If the Spirit within you is not at unrest, take that small step in faith. I believe God will confirm or deny the direction you are headed. Let me emphasize that we know when God says no—at least God has made it extremely clear in my life when I am living outside of His will. Also, maybe the waiting is more important than the knowing. Easier said than done. God may confirm that he wants you to wait when you take a step and God says no or not now.
The most important element of all is the Holy Spirit that God has given us. If you have surrendered your life to God’s call, you have Christ’s Spirit in you. I understand that differentiating between what the Spirit is telling you to do and what you are telling yourself to do is difficult. What the Spirit prompts you to do will not be inconsistent with God’s Word.
Lastly, I want to encourage you. This all sounds so analytical; so clean; so calculated. My search for God’s will in my life has been far short of that. Try messy. Try impatient. Try selfish. Thank God for His grace. Many times I sought God’s will and never received confirmation about what I was supposed to do. I look back and see how foolish I am, but I also look back and see how gracious God is. In those times I really do not think it mattered what step I took as long as the step was predicated on my pursuit of Christ. God’s grace was over me; it is over me now.
And it is over you.
Thanks for letting me share. Thanks for spurring me on to seek a better understanding of the Lord and the Lord’s will. I am certain this understanding will continue to evolve. And this is why I like dialogue.
Alotttttttttttta coffee for Alotttttttttttta woman.
Much love to you,