24 September 2010

Asking Questions - Finding Answers

Why was I created?
Why were you created?
The answer is simple: To please God.
Not for His “amusement” but because it pleased Him to do so and He wants to be pleased by us.

So, how do we please God?
Again, I think the answer is simple: By doing His will.
While the answer is simple, actually doing His will seems very difficult at times.

See, before we can do His will, we have to know what it is.
What is God’s will?
Well now…

Someone asked Jesus once what the greatest commandment was.
The unstated but full question was, “What is the most important thing God wants us to do?”
Or, “What is God’s will?”
Jesus answered by saying, in a nutshell – Love God and Love your Fellow Human.

If we truly believe something (and love is a “belief”) then our actions will follow.
If we truly love God – we will express it; we will show it; we will live it.
If we truly love our fellow human our actions should demonstrate this.
No, this is not a “works based theology”. The thoughts, the feeling, the heart must come first – then we will honestly desire to act on those things.

So that is God’s general will for us – Love Him, Love each other.
But what about God’s will for MY life as opposed to…say, oh….YOUR life?
Do you believe God created you for a specific and distinct purpose (or perhaps a few possible purposes) or just as a general plug-n-play human?
I think He created us as individuals and we all have opportunities to please Him in different ways.

I may please Him by going to the Amazon and preaching the gospel to natives while you may please Him by running a multi-million dollar company and influencing those with whom you come in contact.

I have heard good arguments for not waiting around to determine what God’s will is in one’s life. Just get moving and let Him direct you. I agree with that to an extent. But it just puts off the inevitable – “letting Him direct you”. How do we do that? How do we know if he wants us to take the left fork or the right fork? Should I stay here or move to Seattle? Does it matter?

God can obviously use us anywhere – if we are in His will. So the question remains – how do we know if we are in His will?

Well, we can study the Word to understand His character and His ways.
God would not want me to cheat on my wife or to kill an innocent – that’s easy to understand those are in the “10 Commandments”. But what about tougher questions: Should I personally sell all I own and go forth preaching His Word? Or should I make sure my kids get through college?
Should I use these skills and gifts God has provided me or those skills? What direction, Lord – what direction?

I think the answers to those questions require more than study.
I think they require more than contemplation.
I think they require listening.

Listening for God
Hearing what He has to say to us as individuals
Then listening TO God – obeying.

The first one can be very difficult to do – listening for God.
We are surrounded by noise: coworkers, schedules, deadlines, other folks talking, radios.
We surround ourselves with noise also: Movies, Internet, magazines, hobbies, chores.
Americans are culturally a busy people – go, go, go, do, do, do – accomplish, create, PRODUCE.

I think we could all benefit by taking some time out.
Taking some time out for God.
Go ahead and fence off some time for God (how terrible that sounds – doesn’t it?)
Go someplace quiet.
Physically quiet, emotionally quiet, mentally quiet.
Pray if you must.
Read the Bible if you must.

But then stop.
Stop talking. Stop reading. Just stop.

Be still and just listen.
Be still
Listen for that still, small voice.

I’ll warn you though – you may not like what you hear.
Because once you do hear it’s time to obey.
Once you listen for your Father and hear Him – it’s time to listen to your Father and obey Him.

But what if He tells me to…?
Scary, huh?

God loves you.
He has a perfect plan for you.
Do you know what it is?

A work in progress…


  1. There is much to be said for looking at the lives of those who have walked with God before us. Not that there specific callings would ever be ours but the manner in which they learned to hear and respond to God's callings can be illuminating for our own walk.

  2. Joe,

    When we live out of what God is calling us to, that unique role if you will, animated by His spirit, then are we truly alive and reflecting Father's glory into the world. I am being "body slammed" by Os Guinness' The Call right now as he describes what it means to respond to both the general calling (Love God, Love man) and the specific or individual calling (what puts a fire in your breast) in the fulfillment of the individual "role" that Father has crafted each one of us for.

    This would of course have the effect of liberating people from the smallness that the world calls us to. Go slow, be safe, don't overreach yourself, who are you to...? Especially difficult for those of us sitting comfortably in America where, church goer or not, we can get along quite well without God, thank you very much. More than one recent Christian author has commented on the practical atheism of many claiming to be christian. It appears there is little desperation to hear from God and many reasons why one would not want to as it has a high probablity of wrecking a comfortable life. Gary Best in the last conference I attended said it well, "The love of God will ruin your life". The senior pastor at the OP Vineyard said once that if your life makes perfect sense to everyone around you, you are probably not following God. Look at what God called the prophets of old to do. James Shire in The Universe Next Door relates about talking to a Japanese businessmen who dismissed Christianity with "When I meet a Buddhist holy man I am talking with a man in touch with another reality but when I talked a Christian leader I am talking to another manager just as home in this world as I am."

    If that is true of church leaders how much more of those they are leading?

    If our seeking God's will for our lives is really nothing more than asking Him to smooth out the bumps in this world so we can get on with being happy,secure,etc. is He really likely to speak?