Following God's Lead - Part 5 of 5

Continued from my previous post... Time to wrap this discussion up!

As I drove home from the seminary that day, and in the weeks that followed, the trust issue came to the fore. There I was pursuing (what I thought was) God's plan for me, but it wasn't working out. Finally, (I'm not really sure exactly when) it dawned on me: having trusted God to tell me where to go, would I not trust him to tell me when and how to get there?

That question seems pretty easy to answer as I look back, but at the time it was a difficult one to answer. That difficulty was compounded by some well-meaning people who thought they knew for certain what I should do, and they made it clear that they disagreed with my choices. At such a time, resolve is needed: vague feelings of trust and fuzzy intentions will not hold up. At last, through a series of converations with family, friends and God, I gradually resolved to pursue a different course from my original plan, and follow wherever it led. In other words, I had to drive a stake in the ground, so to speak, and determine to do it God's way.

I take comfort in the fact that the Apostle Paul did much the same thing in Acts. There Luke records a seemingly insignificant detail when he notes that Paul got a haircut (Acts 18:18). The reason this detail made it into the Bible is that this haircut signified the completion of a Nazirite Vow (Numbers 6), which entailed letting one's hair grow long (among other things). Paul took this vow for the duration of his stay in Corinth. When Paul had arrived in that city he was depressed, lonely, and afraid (1 Corinthians 2:3). But having received a promise from God (Acts 18:9-10) that he would be protected in Corinth, Paul took this vow as a way of driving a stake in the ground, and committing himself to God's control.

I think there are times in the life of every Jesus follower where similar action is called for. To summarize this series of posts, the idea is that following God is less about getting him to bless what I'm doing, and more about getting me to do what he's blessing. At least three things follow: 1) aligning my life's goals with his stated goals, 2) making sure my plans are revisable, and 3) trusting him.

Yet all this requires a response from me. Finding God's will isn't so much a wild goose chase or the search for a proverbial needle in a haystack. Rather, it's more about choosing to release some control over my life, and relinquishing it to him. That requires me to periodically drive a stake in the ground and determine to let him have his way, even when it doesn't make sense to me, because I trust him.

Is it time for you to grow some long, Nazirite hair (so to speak)? To press on with something you know God wants even though you can't guarantee ahead of time what the outcome will be? Speaking for myself, the times that I have done so are by far the times I've grown the most as a person and as a Jesus-follower.

I chose to blog about following God's lead because I think it's a critical aspect of successful Christian living. But it's also not an easy thing to figure out. To that end it has been helpful for me to pound out some of my thinking in these posts, and I hope it's stirred up your thinking too. That said, while it can be discussed and described to a point, mostly I think it simply has to be done to be learned, much like playing the violin or riding a bike. Maybe it's time to simply step out and start the journey.

By the way, I notice Randy Alcorn has also just written some useful thoughts on finding God's will - he must be following my lead, which he usually does. He would never admit this to you if you asked him, of course, but at least you know the truth now.

Ha! ;)


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