Let's consider today how we can learn to follow God's direction for our lives. How does God leads us? How can we know the direction that he has for us?
Discerning God's will begins with the vital relationship between us and God. The more I'm treating my daily life as a constant dialogue between God and me, the more I will be able to follow His will.
There's a simple prayer I learned and I pray it often: "God grant me knowledge of your will for me, and the power to carry it out." Two fundamentals, knowledge and power. Knowledge, to know it, and power to do it.
It would be nice if God would just come out and say what's next. But it doesn't work like that. One of the hardest things is waiting, not knowing what's next. And I insist to God, that he tell me what's coming. But he won't say. I try to figure it out, I spend hours in prayer, reading scripture, pondering the events in my life trying to line then up in some coherent fashion, but everything is silent.
And once I'm done strenuously wrestling, begging for dreams and visions, and insights and signs, emotionally exhausted, disturbed, I finally surrender, and come like a little child, lost, upset, confused, and simply nestle into the arms of the Father and say: "I don't know what's happening Father, but I trust you completely, and rest in you, in the not knowing."
I'll often go out at night and walk around the city. And I'll see the lights. They shine in the darkness. I'll walk out in the sticks, see the street lamps, leading me down the road. It's like the Holy Spirit, symbolically leading me through life. God is speaking always; we just have to attune ourselves to watch for it. And understand what he is saying.
But I always must remember, my ability for self-deception is extreme. I can create scenarios in my mind and develop all sorts of false delusions, and believe many things that aren't true. So there is a danger that I will take what God is revealing to me, and twist it to suit my own desires. Or I'll construct a future of my choosing, point in that direction, manipulate my way forward, and then say "this is from God" when it was really me manipulating events.
But, if we really, honestly seek to do God's will, and not our own, He will lead us in beautiful ways. It won't be easy. But it is so worth it. Sometimes, as I live with God... it's the craziest thing, but it's like I can sense things that are coming. I have a communion with God that begins to reach beyond today. He shares perceptions from Himself. He tells us that a trial is coming, or a blessing is coming. We begin to have an emotive perception of reality.
Practically speaking, it begins with asking in prayer, God are you calling me to this. And it takes action. When I first encountered the Salvation Army, I began to attend conferences. At the conference they would have a moment of "calling forward to officership" and I would feel God calling me out of my seat, and toward the front to pray. That's a sign from God. When others see the calling in you, that's a sign from God. When doors begin to open in front of you, that's a sign from God. When you love what you do, that's a sign from God.
In the final analysis, the way God communicates with me and shows me his will is really a daily dialogue, hour by hour through the day. God is always doing so many things in my life. And if you're really seeking to know the truth, praying, and looking for God's signs in your life, you will find your way forward. Do it. Do God's will.
The words are true from the famed Salvation Army chorus: "I'm in his hands. I'm in his hands. Whatever the future holds, I'm in his hands, The days I cannot see, have all been planned for me, His way is best, you see, I'm in his hands."