Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Knowing Your God

Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.  Ephesians 5:17 (NLT)

Have you ever asked yourself the question, "What is God's will for my life?" Have you figured it out yet, or are you still wondering? Perhaps you have thought in terms of specific things you are meant to do, such as having a particular career, a calling in ministry, or impacting those around you. Or perhaps you think in more philosophical terms: 'God's will for me is to glorify Him, serve Him, and love Him; God's will for me is to live a good, productive life and make the most of the blessings He gives.'

When I read the above words in Ephesians 5:17, I initially interpreted Paul's words to say, 'Don't live thoughtlessly, but know God's will for your life. Anything else is a waste of time, so figure it out!' I felt burdened by the words because most of the time I feel clueless. I often do what I feel God leads me to do, but I often don't see the results I'm hoping for, and it makes me wonder, 'Am I hearing Him right, or am I off in left field somewhere?' I often pray, "God, show me what you want me to do, tell me, lead me, and I'll do it. Teach me your will, and I'll live by it." But just when I think He has me on a certain path, a roadblock or detour comes along and I think, 'Where did I go wrong? Now I'm really lost!'

But I read Paul's words again, and Jesus made me think of them in another way. And after doing a little research on the word understand, I knew I was hearing it correctly this time. It's not only about knowing what God wants me to do, but knowing why He wants me to do it. What is His motive? Why does He command me to do certain things and not do others? Why does He lead me on certain paths and gift me in specific ways? What is He trying to teach me or show me? How is He trying to guide me or protect me? What is His heart behind the instructions, commands, and tasks He gives?

I believe God's will for my life is to know Him. But knowing Him is a process. It takes time and experience. In difficult times I can see how mighty He is and who He can empower me to be. In joyful times I can see His goodness. In obeying His commands I see His protection and truth. In taking the path He lays before me I see His faithfulness and who He has made me to be. In trusting Him I find Him trustworthy. In seeking Him I find Him accessible. In following Him I find Him worth following. In knowing Him I find His love. It's often not about what He wants me to do, but what He wants to do for me.

Whatever you currently feel God leading you to do, that is His will for you today. Whether it's to obey a particular command, do a specific task, make a certain decision, or to simply listen and wait for His instructions. But ask yourself this question before you obey: 'Why does He want me to do that?' Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what he wants you to do.

If you don't know why, ask Him. Listen, study His Word for the answer, or ask someone who has been through something similar what they learned through the process of obedience, trust, or waiting. Or perhaps you just need to do it and see what happens. How are you blessed? How are others impacted? What does God teach you about Himself? God doesn't want us to be in the dark about where He is leading us and why. He is light. He is truth. "Everything hidden will be brought into the light," Jesus said.  Allow Him to enlighten you today.

I pray for you constantly, asking God to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. Ephesians 1:16-18 (NLT)