Saturday, January 20, 2007

Discovering God's Will for My Life

In any relationship, the only way to know how to please the other person is to spend time with them. For example, this Christmas I noticed it was easier to select a gift for my co-workers and close girl friends than some of my family members. I just had spent, recently, much more time around my friends than some of my family, even though I knew my family much longer. I was more in tune with them.

Likewise, the only way to know how to please God is to spend time with Him. Like you would your friends, you listen to them, you do things with them, you observe them in different arenas of life, and as you do, you will discover how they drink their coffee, if they are larks or night owls, if they check their email regularly or if they leave their cell phone on as they drive home from work.

When we spend time with God, in Bible reading, prayer, worship, service to His children, we learn about Him.

The other factor is God is constantly preparing us for the next adventure. He wastes nothing. No activity, no event, no pain, no joy is wasted in your training, your sanctification, to use the official “churchy” word. As my brother Gabe said yesterday, “As soon as Maria (his daughter) was borne, I embarked on this journey of training her. Everything I did, as I did it, I thought of how I would use it to teach her a new lesson about life.” God is like that. Everything can be a life lesson for us, if we are open to it.

So that brings us to the next important step: we need to do everything with all our might, opening our heart to the lesson in it our Heavenly Father has for us. If we focus on the thing “in your hand” (Exodus 4:1-5) then He will train us for the next thing. He has told us to train our children “when you walk by the way,” (Duet 6:7) and likewise, He trains us. If worry about pursuing the “next step” we may miss what He has for us now, that we need to prepare us for that step. God’s word is a light for our feet (Psalm 119:105) – meaning that we get enough light for the next step only most times. When we rush ahead or we can miss the necessary preparation.

Often it’s so hard to wait on God. But we need to wait for His timing in all things. Recently I went to a service where we remembered our youth pastor, PJoe, who went to be with the Lord a year ago. The night before, in response to preparation work we were doing for this service, I had blogged about PJoe, but I was not sure it was appropriate to read it. But I emailed it to Pastor Jeff, who was presiding over the service, and then tucked it away so I had it with me. Later, at the service, Pastor Jeff sat nearby me, and during one of the closing parts he looked at me and nodded. And so I felt confident to get up next and read what I had written.

This incident touched me as representative of how it can work well to seek God’s will:

  1. Serve God: I was busy making preparations for PJoe’s service and then, while doing that, God spoke to me. When we are doing the right thing, even when others may misunderstand or be angry, we are always on safe ground. Even if others do not notice, God always sees and rewards us.
  2. Do what God prompts you to do: I went home and wrote the blog entry.
  3. Check your spirit and your gift: I sent it to Pastor Jeff, to make sure I was on the right track. I let myself be accountable to someone with wisdom and integrity. For a change, I was gentle and humble, not self-righteous and pushy.
  4. Be prepared: I brought the blog with me to the service.
  5. Wait for the nod: I was prepared to speak, or not, not depending on my reasons or my feelings, but was waiting on God.
  6. Move out in confidence and courage: Got up and shared my blog with those who had come. And it didn’t matter the feed-back I got, really, I needed then to do God’s will only, in obedience.

Often we can feel that a person or situation can block God’s will for our lives, but that does agree with scripture which teaches us that no trial, no person, can interfere with God’s plans for us (Rom 8:37). God is sovereign. There is no trial we encounter that God is taken back by, that God has not counted in His great plans for us. Look at the life of Job, where God has literally pulled back the curtain and allowed us to see His conversation with Satan before He allows him to interfere with Job’s life (Job 1:6-12). Look at the life of Joseph; he was treated so cruelly by his own brothers and in the end his testimony was “God meant it for good” (Gen 50:20).

We can embrace every trial knowing that God sees, He is in control, and He will work it out. When we rest in that knowledge, we can experience the peace that passes understanding.

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