Chapter 10: When Doubt Whispers “I can’t follow God Consistently”
Since the “Move” Conference has come and gone, I am still standing in awe of how God moved through the event. If you went to the conference, you might have left fully inspired to go out and do all that God created you to do, and to be all who God created you to be.
Like me, you may have been inspired to “Do less, but be more,” as Renee Swope put it.
This small phrase sums up the entire book for me.
Do less worrying, be more trusting. Do less complaining, be more prayerful. Do less in your own strength, but be more obedient.
Do less doubting, be more “God-fident”. Do less busy-work, be more focused.
I am reminded of Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life”. He explains that we can focus our lives simply by knowing our purpose.
“When you know your purpose,” he wrote, “it is easier to spend your energy on the things important to you, and to disregard the rest.” Essentially, knowing your purpose is key to doing less and being more.
“There is nothing quite as potent as a focused life, one lived on purpose”
Purpose. The idea of it can be so confounding. How can one come to know his/her purpose? Renee touched on the idea of purpose in Chapter 8. She wrote,
“If you want to know your purpose, pursue the heart of God and you’ll have a head-on collision with your calling.”
Gideon had a purpose, but he didn’t know what it was until he focused on what God was saying to him. I enjoyed reading Renee’s take on Gideon’s story in Chapter 10 as it relates to following God consistently. In a way, his story gives us permission to ask God to show us His will and to expect an answer.
Have you ever done that, asked God to show you a sign that you are in His will? I certainly have. I learned from Gideon’s experiences, and from my own, that is ok to ask God for a sign. I believe He delights in our asking, simply because He delights to answer.
Less than a year ago I was reading a book that spoke to my heart so personally, that at one point I stopped reading, put the book down and prayed a completely random prayer. I told God that I felt that He had inspired the author of the book to write it just for me.
As the chapters unfolded and the author shared more and more of her experiences, wisdom and insights, I was convinced that God meant for the book to minister to me personally.
I prayed, ‘Lord, if you did, in fact, have me in mind when you led this woman to write this book, could you give me a sign? Could you let the sign be my birthday? If my date of birth is printed somewhere in this book, then I will know you are speaking directly to me through these words.’
Can you guess what happened? One or two chapters later my birthday was printed not once, but twice! I could not believe my eyes! The date was so significant to the author, that she referenced it twice. It was like God was saying, “Yes, yes!”
As God would have it, the subject matter of the book was obedience and living a God-directed life. Of course He meant the book for me!
The experience affected me so greatly, that I determined to carry out the three points listed below, all to realize God’s purpose for my life and to follow Him wholeheartedly.
Three Ways to Pursuing Purpose and Following God:
1) Know Him Intimately
Psychology tells us the ancient Greek aphorism, “Know Thyself”. I support that principle, but I would add, “Know Thy God, Know Thy Self.”
When we come to truly know God is when come to truly know ourselves.
This requires spending time in prayer, in His presence, and in the Word; talking to Him continuously; asking Him to show you those silly signs;asking questions; and finally, waiting for the answers.
2) Dedicate Your Life to Him
This is a bold one, I know. However, if you want to know your God-given purpose, you will want to life a God-directed life, or rather, a dedicated life.
Dedications come with vows. You can vow with your heart and let your words be few, or you can stand tall and declare your oath. Either way, God is a covenant God, and He is faithful.
“When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin.”
Of course, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Therefore, if you mess up, simply confess your sin, repent and move on.
Dedicating your life to God is a sure way to walk in His calling.
“…in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”
3) Confirm Your Calling
The very task of trying to discover your God-given purpose can be tiresome and even discouraging at times. It seems like it comes so easy for some, and so hard for the rest of us.
One way to maintain living a God-directed life is to confirm your calling.
The “calling” I am referring tois the calling of your inheritance with the saints (Ephesians 1:18).
The apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:10, “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble (fall, sin, transgress).”
Essentially, Peter is saying that if you do “these things,” then you are sure to follow God consistently, walk in your God-given purpose, and prove yourself as among the called and elect.
What are “these things”? They are found in 1 Peter 1:5-7.
“Add to your faith virtue and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”
Basically, this is a model of Christian growth. It is growing in the fruit of the spirit and in bearing your fruit to the world.
This is our calling; this is our purpose.
Life happens while we are busy making other plans. Be present in the moments God puts you in.
Bear fruit and be more—
Ultimately, when we pursue this purpose, we bring glory to God, for this is why He created us.