When I was in elementary school, I noticed a surprising fad. Everyone was walking around wearing little bracelets made out of string wrapped around plastic. They were all different colors but they had one thing in common; they all had the same letters embroidered on their outer side, “WWJD.” This was before I was a Christian but nonetheless I soon found myself wearing one everywhere, not having a clue what it meant. When I found out it stood for, “What Would Jesus Do?” I was perplexed. Was I supposed to ask myself this question every time I made a decision? “Homework or TV immediately after I got home from school?” WWJD. Homework. Cool. “Finish my dinner or demand that my mom make me something I like better?” WWJD. Honor my mom. Seems to be working so far. “Chocolate or vanilla ice cream for dessert?” WWJD. Uh… What would Jesus like better? (The answer is chocolate, by the way, I’m positive!)
This is just one of many silly ways we have tried to make discerning God’s will easier. Should you major in something you’re passionate about or something you could use to help a lot of people? Should you take that promotion that will allow you to do a lot of good in the community but take away time from your family? Should you invest your money in things God is doing overseas through an NGO that sponsors children living in poverty or give to a missionary?
Discerning God’s will can often be so difficult that it results in a kind of discernment paralysis, in which we can’t decide what God is directing us to do so we just wait on Him forever and end up doing nothing at all! In my life, I’ve found that I can often shake myself out of discernment paralysis not by a catchy slogan like WWJD, but by reminding myself of five simple truths about who God is and who I am.
1.GOD CAN SPEAK TO ME USING ANYTHING THAT WILL GET MY ATTENTION // He spoke to Adam by walking with him in the cool of the day. He spoke to Abraham through a promise. He spoke to Moses through a burning bush. He spoke to Gideon through a wet blanket. He spoke to Joseph through a dream. He spoke to John through an open vision.
2. GOD LIVES INSIDE OF ME // Jesus had the audacity to say it’s actually better for us if He left! Why? Because He could send the Holy Spirit to live inside of us. Do you think He’s too far away to hear him clearly? Think again.
3. GOD LIVES INSIDE MY CHURCH FAMILY // On “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” everyone knows what the best lifeline is: Ask the Audience. It’s a Biblical principle that by listening to wise counsel we are more likely to succeed (Proverbs 15:22). But how much more so when a group of people who have the Holy Spirit living inside them give that counsel?
4. GOD IS CAPABLE OF CHANGING MY DIRECTION IF I CHOOSE THE WRONG OPTION // In Acts 16, Paul and his companions were all set to go preach the gospel in Bithynia (a province in what is now Turkey), but the scripture says the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to! If it’s time for you to make a decision about what God’s will is, step out in faith toward whichever direction you’re leaning and trust that He’ll stop you if it’s not the right decision.
5. MY CALLING IS TO MAKE DISCIPLES // At the end of the day, we all have the same calling: to make disciples. We just might be led to do it in different ways. Some will do it by bringing justice through an non-profit. Some will do it by leading out in business missionally. Some will do it by raising children. Some will do it through cross-cultural ministry. But whatever you do, you can be sure you’re not too far off from what God wants for you as long as you’re answering the simple question: “How can I use this to make disciples?”
Last but not least, remember this saying from Proverbs 25:2, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but to search out a matter is the glory of Kings.” This should remind us that oftentimes, discerning God’s will has very little to do with the destination and much more to do with the process. That feeling of struggle you feel is a good thing. It draws you closer to Him and builds character. That’s what is really important.
By An Antioch Missionary