Lambie asked a question after yesterday’s devotion, “How do you know you’re going in the right direction?” What’s that old saying? “That’s the $64,000 question!” So I thought I would share a few simple guidelines for what is anything but a simple task — figuring out what the Lord wants you to do in life or even just the next step you need to take.
First, if your life is complicated by a long series of wrong choices or consequences of sin (yes there is a cost to choosing a path that is opposed to God’s standards and it’s often quite painful and complicated) you might have to make a long series of right choices to begin bringing order into the chaos. The restoration will happen but it’s rarely instant.
Throughout the scriptures there are passages about restoration, if you’ve stolen, return things, if you’ve cheated begin to live honorably, if you’ve been in sexual sin begin to walk in purity and honor. When you choose to live according to God’s laws (and man’s where applicable) there begins to be a peace that fills your heart, mind and life. The chaos and confusion begins to still and it gets easier to hear the still small voice of God.
In hearing His voice, it’s rarely ever like Charlton Heston’s deep timbered voice from the sky! When you’re first hearing it, it’s almost always a conviction that something you’re doing is wrong. When I came back to the Lord in my late teens, I was a thief. I would steal the magazines that were at the mail boxes of our condo. I didn’t even think about what I was doing and who I was hurting. Then after giving my life over to Jesus, the very next time I took one, I felt so guilty (but still did it), walked up to my condo and had no peace until I went back down and returned the magazine. A few other similar encounters and I decided it was much easier to just obey in the first place and experience God’s peace instead of his stirring up a lack of peace in my heart.
Second, you need to be sold out to what God has planned for you. If you’ve walked with Him long enough there will already have been more than a few times you desperately wanted something only to be denied and later be very, very grateful that you didn’t get it. When you develop a track record of seeing that He really does have the best plan and want the best for you it gets easier to surrender to His will rather than desire your own.
Here’s a really great example that is very fresh in our lives right now. My husband found out about a great job that pays well and has the perfect schedule for us. He would have worked 3 days one week and 4 days the next with a total of about 14 work days in the month (long, hard work days) but still leaving 14-17 days at home to do ministry and household chores. We prayed sooooo hard for this job and nothing came about. This week we received word that this company just laid off 6 people in the section he was wanting to work in… last hired, first fired…! God spared us a great deal of pain and frustration.
As you begin to learn God’s peace, which is in essence that place where you know you are right with Him and you are applying His principles in your daily life, it gets easier to realize when that peace is gone and you are going in a wrong direction. I am struggling to find a verse in my PC Study Bible Concordance, the AP Version (Audrey’s paraphrase :-)!) is “Let the peace of God be the umpire in your heart.” An umpire is the only one who can call a pitch in bounds our out of bounds. He sees it clearly, we often don’t.
There’s a lot more to it, and if those of you who read my blog regularly would like me to continue sharing on this, just leave me comments to that effect and I’ll be happpy to share some of what I’ve learned over the years.
One of the most powerful things I have learned is to pray this simple prayer, I still do it regularly. Maybe it will help you to take the first steps in really seeking to hear and know God’s voice or grow stronger in the hearing you’re already doing.
SCRIPTURE: Phil 4:6-9 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 The things which Ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you. ASV
PRAYER: Lord, I really want your will in my life, but I’m hard of hearing and more than a little stubborn about wanting what I want whether it’s good for me or not! So Lord, I’m going to ask that you make it really, really easy for me to obey you and follow the path you’re setting out for me and really, really hard for me to disobey and go in a wrong direction.
Cause my heart to lose the sense of peace that passes all understanding and my spirit to feel stirred up and uncomfortable if I’m making a wrong choice and fill me with joy and delight when I make the tiniest step in the right direction. I really desire to please you and I know you really desire to lead me so I’m trusting that you will teach me how to follow you.