Seeking God's will in big decisions, post 4

Continuing with a process for making big decisions with God. Here's the basic roadmap:

  1. Seek God in prayer and fasting.
  2. See God in your story.
  3. Feel God's Fire in Your Heart
  4. Know Your Strengths (and Face Your Challenges)
  5. Listen for God's Voice
  6. Decide and Move Forward
This is post #4 on knowing our strengths and facing our challenges. Under "strengths", we are talking about spiritual gifts, talents, and expertise. The bottom line is that we are looking at what we are good at and love to do. When we make a big decision, we usually don't want to head off in a direction that doesn't emphasize our strengths. I say "usually" because we don't want to limit God to working exclusively within the strengths we know we already have.

In 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, Paul essentially said that all of us are good at something. God gives everyone gifts to use for the betterment of everyone else.

In order to follow Paul's teaching that we should operate in our areas of giftedness, we have to know what we are good at. One of my good friends, Tim Morey, participates in assessments of prospective church planters. One of the issues they explore in those assessment centers is whether a candidate is good at the things a church planter has to be good at. Preaching, envisioning, recruiting, evangelizing, leading, and so on -- a church planter has to have a certain kind of toolbox in order to launch into it with a high probability that the plant will succeed. Some of the prospective planters have all the desire, and they have the necessary toolbox. For others, the toolbox is not complete. Since church plants impact many people's lives, people like Tim think and pray carefully before recommending that the Covenant denomination endorse and support a plant. The same goes for some of the other things we want to do in life.

Here are a couple of things you can do to gain clarity about your strengths:

  • Pay attention to what people say about you. A lot of times others see our strengths more clearly than we do. One of my friends is a great encourager, and several people have told her that. When you hear something repeatedly, it's probably a sign that you have a gift and/or skill in that area.
  • Look at patterns of effectiveness. Spiritual gifts and skills are strengths that bear fruit repeatedly.
The bottom line is that often God will lead us to do the things we are good and love to do. After all, he is the one who has given us our strengths and gifts. That said, sometimes he asks us to do something we aren't good at. The key is to approach big decisions with a heart that is open to doing God's will no matter what he asks. 


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