As I took a stroll around Serenity Acres today, I began thinking about something my youngest son had said to me during one of our conversations. He said, "What if I leave the job I have and take another job? How will I know it will be the right one?" I think what he was really saying is, "What if I make a mistake and make the wrong decision?" I gave him a reply that my college professor gave me one day when she said, "Nothing is set in cement Barbara. If you never try something new, you will never know if you could have succeeded at it. If you fail, you have lost nothing but a little time."
My college professor was correct. If we never step out in faith and attempt something new, we cannot grow and learn. Making a mistake and choosing something which we later find is not our calling affords us the opportunity to eliminate that direction in our lives. Most things in life are subject to change but many people are afraid of failure so they attempt nothing. Jesus calls us to step out in faith and follow Him. He doesn't give us a detailed map to follow, but He has given us practical tools which will help us keep on the path He has designed for us.
First, we have the Bible. Within its pages, we find out who God is and who we are as His creation. As we learn about His character and read His commands, we come to understand how we are to relate to Him and one another. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, we read: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." Consider these words with me. Do we want to be competent and equipped for life? Then, we need to turn to God's Word. Do we need a course correction in terms of our spiritual walk? We will find the answer in the Bible. Likewise, I love the idea that we are inhaling the very breath of God as we read His words. We come to find Him, and in finding Him, we find ourselves. His Word is truly a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. It should be the first book we take off the shelf in the morning and the last we lay down at night. This, then, is our first tool.
Our second tool given to guide our steps is prayer. This is one of the greatest privileges a Christian has is to come into the throne room of God and bring our praise, our petitions and our confession. God is never too busy to listen to us. In fact, He delights in us when we come to Him. Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing and make our requests known to God (I Thess. 5:17). If we need healing, we are to call upon the elders to come and pray for us (James 5:16). Jude 1:20 tells us to build our faith up by praying in the power of the Holy Spirit. There is so much that prayer does to bring change in our hearts and minds, but we must be faithful to use this tool daily. I have found praying on my way to work each day helps me be better prepared for the day ahead. If a problem arises at work, I find a quiet spot and lift up a prayer. There are no preconditions that would prevent us from a life of prayer. Whenever we find ourselves in the position of having to make an important decision, we would be foolish to neglect this power tool.
Finally, we have the tool of godly counsel. Sharing our concern with believers who will pray for us and hold us accountable is a key to discerning direction for our lives. The Bible says this in Proverbs 27:17: "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." When we commit to godly fellowship, this tool offers a safety net of those who will lift us up. When we put all the tools together - the Bible, prayer and godly fellowship, we will be able to hear God's direction more clearly. This does not mean we won't have course corrections or that we won't try taking matters back into our own hands, but we will be more likely to enjoy success as we seek to follow the call God has placed in our hearts.
Now while many things in life are not set in cement, there are a few things that are. For example, God is unchangeable, eternal, all knowing and all powerful. His Word will remain forever and His Word is truth. Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son who came to die for our sins. He has risen from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father. He is the only way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Christ. There is no other way. Last, we know that God's commandments still stand as well. Jesus told us plainly that He came not to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill them. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit are we able to keep His commandments. These are some of the non-negotiables that are set in cement. However, for all the rest of those things which we grapple with such as jobs, relationships, finances or our call in life, we can depend on the tools which Christ has given to us.
Let me close with these words of wisdom from Psalm 37:23-25:
"The steps of a man are established by the Lord;
when he delights in his way,,
though he fall, he shall not be cast
for the Lord upholds his hand.
I have been young and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread".
I can honestly say since I have become older that I have seen God's hand move in many powerful ways to preserve His children. We would be foolish for ignoring the tools he gives us to discern His will for our lives. May we be diligent to follow hard after our Lord and know His will for our lives. Selah!
What has God walked you through in your life? What tools have helped you find your calling? I love to hear your comments. Please share with me.