This is my 3rd Daniel Fast in the last 3 years and I must say that it never gets easier! I still prefer dessert over salad any day of the week and I'm pretty sure that that will never change! What is changing though is me. I'm fasting for a spiritual breakthrough and believing that God to move in my life, my family & our church. Fasting also enables us to hear God clearer as we spend more time with Him and in His Word. How do you know that God is speaking to you? That's a great question isn't it? My 10 year old daughter, Mikayla, heard God speak to her this weekend. No, not in an audible James Earl Jones voice. She heard a still small voice encouraging her to raise $365 toward the missions goal of the church for this year. So I guess that begs the question, can a 10 year old really hear from God? It makes me wonder if a 35 year old (that's me) can hear from God. How do you know if God is speaking to you and how do you know if it's legit?
What if we could 'sniff out' with K-9 like ability the path that God is leading our lives each day? So many times I have made dumb decisions and filed it under the "I feel like God is leading me" excuse that we as Christians revere so deeply. Since the Bible teaches us that God does lead us, how do we know for sure that it is Him and not our own selfish desires or creative imagination? I recently read an article by Rick Warren on this very topic and He shared some great stuff that I'd like to share with you. The 7 ways that God leads us can be used as a filter to help us make sure that we are on the path that God is leading and not simply following our own desires.
The first way that we can know that God is leading us is to test whether or not our decision, feelings or even someone else's opinion is from; ourselves (Proverbs 14:12), God (Job 33:14), or Satan (2 Cor. 11:14). 1 John 4:1 says, "Don't always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God; test it first to see if it really is!"
Here are the first 2 ways to be sure that God is leading you and you are not misleading you!
1. MAKE SURE YOUR DECISION AGREES WITH GOD'S WORD.
"Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away." Lk. 21:33
"Even if an angel should preach a different `gospel' than this let him be eternally condemned!" Gal. 1:8
We need to be careful to interpret scripture correctly when using this evaluation. We can read anything we want into scripture if we are desperate enough. We need to let God place what He wants into our hearts through His Word. Keep everything in context.
2. MAKE SURE YOUR DECISION MAKES YOU MORE LIKE JESUS CHRIST
"In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus." Phil 2:5 (NCV)
"If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition. . . such `wisdom' doesn't come from heaven... but is of the devil. The wisdom that comes from God is... pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, impartial and sincere." James 3:14-17
God's desire is not merely for our temporary happiness. That is painful to read I know! I want God to want what I want. It is important to remember that God doesn't always lead us to the path of least resistance.
Tune in this week for the remaining 5 ways to be sure that God is leading you!