Seeking God's will in big decisions, post 3
It's one thing to make big decisions. It's another thing to make big decisions with God. Here's an outline of the process we are working through at Sanctuary:
- Seek God in prayer and fasting.
- See God in your story.
- Feel God's Fire in Your Heart
- Know Your Strengths (and Face Your Challenges)
- Listen for God's Voice
- Decide and Move Forward
This is post #3 on feeling God's fire in our hearts.
When Jesus called Saul (who became Paul), Saul had no idea he would one day be preaching the good news about Jesus to the Gentiles. However, some years later, Paul wrote to the Christians in the prominent Gentile city of Corinth, "I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" In other words, "If I don't preach the good news about Jesus to the Gentiles, I feel like I am going to die!"
God creates us and fashions us in just the way he wants. He crafts our inmost being and knits us together (Ps 139:13). He indwells us (1 Cor 6:19) and if we are receptive, he will deposit his will in our hearts in the form of deep, gut-level desires for God and his kingdom. When that happens, we are taking delight in the Lord, and he is happy to give us the desires of our hearts (Ps 37:4).
If you are trying to find God's will for your life, your heart is a good place to look. God will often move us in the direction of the deep desires and passions he has placed in our hearts. Our hearts are a mystery to us, so it is not always easy to know what we care about at the deepest levels. This is why being surrendered to God is key to discerning his will. We quiet our hearts when we let him have his way. Then we can hear him more easily.
Not just any deep desire is worth pursuing. How do we know the difference? Some desires are self-centered and feed the kingdom of self. They are oriented toward ambition, greed, insecurity, lust, unresolved conflict, and so on. These are desires that revolve around taking. Other desires are God-centered and feed the kingdom of God. They are oriented toward faith, hope, and love in Jesus. These are desires that revolve around giving. As Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits) would say, reject the self-desires and follow the God-desires.
Here are some questions to ask when trying to uncover our deepest God-desires:
- What do my life-giving dreams repeatedly drift toward?
- What life-giving things do I feel that I have to do?
- What is so deep inside me that I keep seeking and never quite getting enough of?
- What am I doing when I am at my best?
- What is one God-dream I have for my life (or we have for our lives together)?
If you forget everything else, remember the words of Napoleon Dynamite: "Just listen to your heart. That's what I do." :-)