Introspection is self-examination or analysis, that soul-searching reflection, which leads to self-awareness. And may lead to something else: peace! Because some lack self-awareness, they lack peace. They simply don’t know where they are with themselves, and more importantly, with God. Introspection requires honesty, and several avoid it because the truth can be a little painful. But as it’s been said: “No pain, no gain.” Ironically, avoiding that self-examination leads to more agony, or at least, lingering discomfort. The process of soul-searching does not involve beating yourself up, though it’s easy to do sometimes. You have to put judgment aside, and employ discernment. Coupling honesty with the help of Holy Spirit, you’re able to discover where you’re really at, and what course corrections might be necessary. If we’re straight with ourselves, we know full well the Lord has tried to deal with us from time to time. Perhaps, even now. One thing to consider: avoiding this process leads to self-deception. Discovering one has been self-deceived can be very disconcerting.
Psalms 139:23-24Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
So, what are you doing with your life? Have you decided to make it a gift, in which you seek to bless others, or are you in it for yourself? Do you trust God, especially during the hard seasons? Is Jesus Christ actually your Lord? Obedience is an indicator of whether you have truly submitted to Him. Being in His perfect will is a place of peace. Because He loves you, His will for you is always good! Do you believe His Word more than human logic? Whose report do you believe? Part of walking by faith is not leaning on your own understanding. Do you trust Him with the things you don’t understand? The important thing about this question is knowing you don’t have to understand everything; you simply need to know the One Who does! Following Jesus doesn’t require brilliance; it requires love which leads to obedience. Incidentally, one reason people “don’t have time to read their Bible” is it calls for change, which they avoid. Peace requires transformation, and the Word of God plays and intricate part. It may cause you to feel exposed at times, but exposure is a good thing! Hebrews 4:12-13For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.
Ask the Lord to show you what you need to see, along with the wisdom and understanding needed to make any necessary changes. Be brave, have the courage to listen and act. His Truth is the path to peace and freedom. John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My Word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 14:27Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Some confuse zeal and bravado with faith. They’re not the same. Zeal in the Greek means to bubble or boil, from the sound of boiling water. It means to be fervent. It’s that passion or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause. Bravado is a show of boldness intended to impress or intimidate. While it may be a display of boldness, often it’s attached to pride. Either way, both of these are based on emotions. In their proper place they’re good. Negatively, zeal can turn into jealousy, and as already stated, bravado can lead to pride. Even though someone may feel passionate and bold in the moment, it doesn’t mean they’re doing so in faith. It’s easy to romanticize faith and get enthusiastic. Make no mistake, walking in faith does often include zeal and passion; but, what about those times when you feel the opposite? Does that make it any less faith? Emotions can be tricky, especially if you’re led by them. There may be times when you’re walking by faith and you feel hot as boiling water. Other moments not so much. You might even feel like a walking-ice-cube. These emotions don’t make or break faith. Again, feeling like you’re walking by faith and actually being in faith are two different things. Of course, while walking in faith, you will often feel it.
By definition, faith is assurance, firm persuasion, or conviction by inward certainty. Biblically, it’s the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). It’s the essential nature or essence of the thing hoped for, the proof of things not perceived by the natural senses. In short, it is God’s unseen reality. It is spiritual in nature, and cannot be emotionally driven. It may affect our emotions to be sure, but that’s as far as it goes. The confusion comes when someone is emotionally driven, and they step off the cliff thinking it’s faith, and they fall flat on their face. It was something they conjured, even though it felt like it was God’s direction. Many have experienced this phenomenon, so don’t be discouraged if you are one of them. It’s a learning thing. So how does faith work, so zeal and bravado don’t hijack your walk? Romans 10:17So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. To begin, this is how you came into faith. You heard the Gospel, Holy Spirit moved on your heart and you received Jesus. This was your entrance into the life of faith. Steps of faith require hearing from God. As Jesus said: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 [quoting Deuteronomy 8:3]). The proceeding Word is also known as Rhema. Hearing comes in a variety of ways. Some have heard God audibly. Many hear His voice in their mind as Holy Spirit speaks to their spirit. Other times, they feel the unction or anointing of Holy Spirit moving in their heart (see 1 John 2:20, 27). Someone may come with a word of knowledge, word of wisdom, or prophesy (see 1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Once you hear in whatever manner, believe, receive and then act according to what you hear. In many instances, that will be one step at a time.
For instance, the Lord may give you a vision of your God-given destiny. That vision may not give you the actual steps it will take to get there. That’s where humility and listening comes into play. It’s easy to get excited and start thrashing about, trying to bring it to pass. Patience! Part of walking by faith is waiting on God for the next move, or simply waiting on Him to move. There are times when you act, and other times you sit still. It short, you have to relinquish control to Him! Sometimes enthusiasm finds the window and crawls out. We all have to learn to do as the Lord asks, regardless of our emotions. “I don’t feel like it,” won’t cut the mustard. Faith is never about how we may feel in the moment. In short, pray, listen and obey. Humility will also keep the wrong side of bravado in check.
It is time for the Church to rise up in fervency and boldness. In order for that to happen, we must allow God to lead us every step of the way. Moreover, it’s important we give Him the glory in everything, which is an act of humility. Psalms 127:1Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
Do you hate the feeling of someone taking of advantage of you? Here’s a simple way to short-circuit that feeling: put yourself out there. Make a decision to be a blessing to others, regardless of their response or intentions. Forget about whether they are grateful. Expecting someone’s gratitude or praise can steal your joy, because it detaches you from love. Just determine ahead of time that you will simply bless others. Whether it’s serving or giving, do it for someone else’s benefit -period! Sure, there are nuances involved, such as what the Lord would have you do in any given circumstance. The bottom line is by freely blessing others, they really cannot take advantage of you.
John 15:13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
If someone feels the need to manipulate others, something is broken. Maybe all he or she has known is manipulation. It serves as a survival mechanism, which doesn’t make it okay, but it may help with understanding. For whatever reason, their heart is not right. They are in need of healing or repentance. Perhaps, both. Maybe, they’ve never experienced unconditional love, which in turn leads to healing and repentance. Think about this: God’s kindness leads us to repentance (see Romans 2:4). Your act of kindness might be the very thing that opens their heart to receive the very thing of which they have need. Allowing God to bless others through you can be monumental in their life.
In the previous blog, we touched on people resisting God’s will due to the fact they don’t want to face discomfort. There’s one more small piece to add to this idea, before moving on to finding God’s will. No one likes suffering, and this seems especially true in affluent segments of the world. Moreover, they seem to be afraid of it. It’s as if their primary adjective in life is comfort and happiness. It’s by no means limited to the affluent; however, many aren’t seeking the will of God because they’re afraid it may include suffering. The Bible does have some things to say about it. Here are a couple for your consideration:
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon thatthe sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:17-18). What is yet to come far outweighs our present circumstances. Life as we know it has a shelf life, and so does suffering for that matter.
Secondly, Jesus said: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matthew 5:10-12). In short, if we suffer for His sake, there is great reward.
Regardless of whether you follow God’s will or your own, as long as you’re in this world you will face suffering of various sorts. With that in mind, think long term. If you were to decide to follow your own will, and ignore His, you would very well suffer regret in the very end.
An obvious theme to this this blog series is our willingness to be in the center of God’s will is paramount in finding it. The more committed you are to Him, the easier it will be. Your love will dictate your desire. John 14:15If ye love me, keep my commandments. Love is the starting point to finding His will; in fact, it is the center of His will. No one has to tell you it’s the will of God to love Him and others as yourself. Love includes patience and kindness; it excludes selfishness. It’s being Christ-like. It means embracing His character as your own.
Jesus communed with the Father, and by so doing, He knew His will. John 5:19-20Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will shew Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
His example reveals the importance of being the state of communion with Him. You have to spend time with God to know His will. Sure, He can and does guide us through our ignorance. And the key there is an open heart. Walking in His will is also a walk of faith. It requires listening and obeying. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Jesus said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Moreover, the Bible says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). There is the process of hearing and being led, and it all works by love (see Galatians 5:6). If you ask, He will reveal His desires for you. Sometimes it will be very clear, other times He’ll reveal it as you go along in life. Do a lot of listening!
It is important to embrace fellowship with God; otherwise, you may develop a Master-slave mentality. Yes, we do serve Him, but we do so as sons and daughters. We do things together. 1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. We freely serve Him. Remember also, He is interested in your desires as well. Psalms 37:4-5Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.
Why is this last point important? Some believe if you have desire to do something, it cannot be God’s will. In many cases, it’s quite the opposite. As you delight in the Lord, He drops things into your spirit that He desires for you. You may have a desire to do something, because He had the desire first. Of course, a person may have an aspiration that doesn’t fit His will. One example would be person who is operating out of a lust. It also could be a combination. Meaning, what you desire may be the very center of His, but it’s a matter of His timing in order for it to take place. “Yes, but not now.” It’s easy to get in a hurry, and yes, procrastinate as well. Just know He is faithful, and He will put you on the right track, if you stay open.
What is God’s will for my life? Have you ever asked that question, sought the answer and still, you have no idea? Here are some things to consider, which may help. First, begin with the premise: God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good. And that means His will for your life is always good! On the surface, that would seem obvious, but looking under the hood, some aren’t so convinced. They’re afraid of what He might ask of them. They’re comfortable where they’re at, and they don’t want any disruptions to their comfort.
Others, don’t actually trust Him, because of their skewed frame of reference based on their earthly parents, especially fathers. That’s nothing new these days. Most understand the way some view their earthly fathers is the way they view God the Father. We won’t belabor the point here. So what is point? Simply, a number of people who say they want to know His will, really aren’t all that interested, because of fear and discomfort. It’s hard to find something you don’t want found.
The second step to finding God’s will for your life is fundamental: get honest. Figure out where you really stand in your relationship with Him. If you don’t trust Him, tell Him about it. Get proactive, and allow Holy Spirit to show you the origins of the mistrust. He’ll reveal where it started, and how to address it. In the end, you’ll find healing in the process. There are loads of Scripture and personal testimonies that point to His goodness, but it’s important for you to experience it for yourself. Talk with Him! It’s not sacrilegious to be honest. He already knows how you feel, so why hide it?
Back to that comfort thing: how committed are you to God? Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul (Matthew 16:24-26)?” Yep, obedience may cost you comfort, but the rewards far outweigh the “inconveniences” (see Matthew 16:27; Revelation 22:12).
So let’s deal with the discomfort for a moment. How many know that to become comfortable with various things, you first have to go through discomfort to get there. Here’s a simple example: those who are comfortable driving a car now, generally didn’t start that way. How many felt a little jittery the first time you drove in traffic? How about your job or business? When you first started, how comfortable were you the first day? Many new beginnings aren’t exactly a warm bath with soft music playing in the background. They’re more like a cold plunge into ice water. The unknown can be intimidating when it comes to God’s will for your life, but that’s okay. Some people need to get rid of some self-reliance, it’s actually keeping them spiritually weak. One big reason is it’s pride-based. True confidence is being confident in God who lives in you. The counterfeit is self-confidence. Moreover, true strength is found weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Several are actually square in the middle of God’s will, but don’t like where they’re at, and so they’re “searching for it.” Some are discontent, because they feel insignificant in their current position. They don’t see the bigger picture, nor do they grasp the concept of wherever the Lord puts you is important. Some of it comes from gauging where they’re at by what others are doing. Those seemingly insignificant places have a greater impact for the Kingdom than they will ever realize on this side of eternity. Of course, others are dealing with pride as mentioned earlier. They want a place of prominence. This may be an indication they haven’t stepped into their true identity in Jesus Christ, and are still trying to find self-worth. Perhaps it’s more carnal, and they simply have a lust with which they’re contending. But do keep in mind, until any of us are faithful with the so called, “little things,” He will not give the bigger ones. And of course, it’s easy to romanticize things about the will of God, and create an image of what it should look. If His will doesn’t match the picture in your mind, it could be easy to dismiss it.
Again, being in the center of God’s will can be very uncomfortable, because in many instances it involves an inner work that revolves around conforming you to the image of Jesus. That’s part of His will for your life. Do know, the process will lead you to completely trust Him, because you will find Him to be a very faithful Father! Regardless of how happy you may think your will makes you, His will is far more fulfilling.