On Asking God: “What Should I Do?”
I went on the leadership retreat for our church last month. We spent a lot of time talking about discipleship, being a disciple a Jesus, and exploring what that means, what it looks like for our church this next year. We didn’t want to come up with another program, something to make us busier with religious activity.
One thing that I’m always concerned about is how to encourage people to live out their faith without it only being motivated by a sense of duty. And what I realized today was letting go of doing something out of duty doesn’t mean giving up something that’s hard, to just do what comes naturally or what is easy.
Sometimes letting go of doing things out of a sense of duty is extremely scary.
Doing things out of duty is actually kind of easy, everything is spelled out for you.
Listening for what God is leading you in means defending something mystical. Something that seems foolish. Something you can’t quantify or put on paper.
You have to risk disapproval.
When you stop and listen and replace the question “What should I do?” with “What do I sense God saying to me? What is God calling me to do?”, you have to wait on God.
You have to slow down.
You have to be patient.
You have to give up controlling others because the answer isn’t one size fits all.
You risk being different, stepping out of line.
You risk being seen for who you are, you risk exposing the passions and longings of your heart.
You will seem foolish, people will misunderstand and assume things about you.
They’ll think you are being judgmental and self-righteous and impractical.
They may even try to put you back in your place.
(All this and this isn’t even addressing your own negative self-talk or self-limiting beliefs!)
Sometimes we are so afraid to ask “What do I *want* to do?” or believe that what we should do is always different than what we want to do. I think the better question is “Who does God want me to be?” not “What does He want me to do?” but “What life does He want me to live?”
The cool thing is, there is a hard, lonely and scary way ahead that if you choose it, could lead to life instead of boredom and death.
God’s primary focus is not on our performance and behavior , it’s on our relationship with Him or even better, His relationship with us. Proverbs 37:3-7 and Psalm 145:14-21 and this Tim Keller quotes illustrate this:
3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
14 The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.
“The more you understand how your salvation isn’t about your behavior,
the more radically your behavior will change.”
~ Timothy Keller
Seeking God’s will almost always involves waiting.
Not doing better but learning to trust.
To trust His faithfulness, His steadfast love.
He actually wants to give us good things; the desires of our heart, peace and joy. This involves confessing our deepest desires, to allow God to reform and redeem those that don’t align with His will. Not focusing on our outward behavior, while choosing not to allow Him access to our heart and will.