My oldest child is five, and it didn’t take him long to realize that before he does something he may better make sure it is okay. He will look to see if something is okay based on my facial expression. And depending on his level of mischievousness he may or may not move forward.
While this is great when you’re a toddler, it becomes an issue when you get older. Somewhere we stall in our maturity process and start waiting around for the approval of others to move forward with things that we’ve been prompted by God to do.
Have you experienced this? Do you look to others for validation of your ideas?
Once we reach a certain level of maturity, we have to stop looking to others for permission and we have to go to God.
Now that can sound ambiguous so I’m going to give you five ways you can go to God to figure out if you’re in alignment with His will.
When Jesus died on the cross He gave us direct access to God’s ear. We can simply ask God about the matter. Then listen for the creative ways He answers. Mostly He answers while reading His Word. But He can also speak to you with confirmation through listening to Christian Radio or through fellowship with His people.
Read the Bible
If you want to learn to discern the voice of God you have to spend time listening to Him talk, and he speaks clearest through His word. The Bible calls Jesus the good shepherd and as His followers, we are the sheep. John 10:27 says my sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me. Read the word and get familiar with His voice so you can discern when He is speaking to you about the particulars of your situation. The word is alive and active. It cuts through our heart motivations and sinful tendencies, it cuts through lies and distractions from the enemy. God uses His word to renew our strength and guide us along the right paths bringing honor to His name (Psalm 23:3).
Fasting is the act of intentionally abstaining from food or a regularly enjoyed good gift from God to focus on growth or deepening our relationship with God. It’s where we deny our flesh and focus on glorifying God. Fasting is a great way to cut down on distractions so that we can intentionally seek and hear from God. Just remember when you lay down distractions fill that space with more time in the Word. This will increase your chances of hearing directly from God.
God was very kind to give us the gift of relationships. And He commands us in Proverbs 19:20 to get all the advice and instruction we can so that we can be wise. Wise people utilize the hard-won wisdom of others. One word of warning with this, not everyone has godly wisdom. Certain markers should be present before you allow others to speak into your life. Download my accompanying workbook to see if the person you are considering has these markers before you consult with them.
If you have done all the above and still don’t have clarity my advice is to move forward. As we mature God will allow us more and more freedom. Kind of like our children growing older. We typically don’t breathe down the neck of our adult children and tell them the exact decisions they should make. Instead, we trust that we have taught them how to discern and make good decisions, and we let them try things. God does the same thing with us. He has given us boundary lines that have fallen in pleasant places and if he doesn’t want us to do something he is powerful enough to redirect us (Psalm 16:5-6) So move forward and if God says to stop then stop. But if he says nothing then trust that you are within those pleasant boundary lines.
Knowing how to seek God’s will rather than the approval or permission of others is vital to making an impact. The people in our lives can give us good counsel, but that should come second to seeking the Lord. The Bible is full of the authority God has given us through Christ to be His ambassadors. Sadly, many of us are waiting around for a person to confirm that for us. Well, he has and His name is Jesus. Go to the source and find your permission there. Get confident in who God says you are and what He created you to do, and then go seek wise counsel instead of falling into the permission trap.