“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
The ancient patriarchs relied on the direct word from God in their decision making. From Adam strolling with His Creator to Moses having his bushes burned to Christ making breakfast in His resurrected body, the Lord availed Himself throughout history to those whose hearts were completely His. He still speaks today. But, modern man has to drown out so much more distraction.
Additionally, contemporary believers have a plethora of resources to factor in to their divine listening. Several thousands of years of written truths, magnificent cathedrals and universities, and zillions of Bible translations and spiritual books all speak a cacophony begging for attention.
Leslie Weatherhead in his book, “The Will of God”, gives six signposts to consider when seeking a word from the Lord. His suggestion is that all of them must agree; there must be a cooperative consensus of convergent truth within them all.
With GPS and Google at our fingertips, these six signposts, and a favorite Bible translation, it should be a piece of cake to get it right. Right? I recently heard on a newscast that to become proficient in anything, ten thousand repetitions are required. If a pro-golfer needs that many putts to knock a little ball in a cup, why do believers think they can discern the will of God with casual attendance?
Many believers struggle with decision after decision, fearing a mistake, a shortcoming, or missing God’s plan or will for their lives. Most of us want to get it right, but do we really want to know what He says or do we want Him to bless our plan instead? Do we have the courage to forge ahead once we hear from Him or will we decide to look for a better offer?
We can trust our conscience. It’s with us always, so we can check it frequently. The problem with conscience is that it may become skewed, tainted, or corrupted. Perhaps it should be relegated to the bottom of the list.
There is such a thing as common sense. Another great portable resource, common sense is not found too commonly. Reserved for our wise grandfathers, this tool has to be sought, cultivated, and learned. Unfortunately, there is no gene for wisdom.
Stable Christian friends are great resources for counsel. This requires some long term observation with proof in the pudding lifestyles. The Lord told us we could know a tree by the fruit it bears, so we can also know a man or woman by the lifestyle they lead.
Researching a problem may be another way of arriving at a solid solution. If we read the life stories of admirable Christians and see how they solved their issues, we can be instructed by their examples. Since temptation is common to all mankind, we can be sure those that walked before us and won their race have something to teach us.
A neglected voice in the world today is the witness of the Church. Modern people resent being told what to do or having their wills thwarted. An institution, albeit ancient, such as the body of Christ offers solid, dependable, trustworthy and reliable counsel.
Finally, the idea of an “inner light”, embraced by the Quakers, can guide us in our path as we seek the Lord’s will for our life. Weatherhead’s statement that “our mistakes, if made in good faith, will not result in our being lost” causes me to appreciate the grace of my Savior as He deals with my fallible soul. God will use our choices to reach His goal, because as Job said, no plan of His can be thwarted.
Yet, all resources aside, a simple earnest approach to problem solving or will-seeking is to align with the big picture of God’s standards. The basic things He wants for us are clearly written: to love and follow Him, draw others to Him to do the same, and to love our neighbors. Before we sweat the details, His Big Picture has to be hung on our hearts. If we are living these principles, He will show us the job we need, the friends we desire, and give us the words to speak. He will supply all our needs. He will never leave us. His arms are always outstretched to us.
Are you puzzled where the Lord may be taking you? Implement the signposts and see what God reveals to you. Most importantly, know Him, love Him, and follow Him. We all make mistakes and those you have made in good faith or not, when confessed to a loving Savior, will not result in being lost. Take a deep breath. Trust. You have nine thousand-and-some attempts left to get it right.