Discerning God’s plan for your life can be a tricky business. How can I tell the difference between God prompting me to do something and my own desire to do it? What if I think God wants me to follow a particular path, but there are real risks involved? Is it OK to ask God for a sign that he’s leading me in a specific direction?
In his book How Are You Doing? Stewart Dinnen suggests 30 questions which can help us find God’s plan for our life. Reflecting on these points prayerfully can allow the Holy Spirit to speak, to prepare us, to lead us and to guide us. Ten of those questions are listed here (slightly adapted). If you’re currently trying to discern God’s plan for you, we hope these will help!
1. Am I right with God and other people? (Isaiah 59:1-2) We can’t expect to have our prayers answered if we have not dealt with unconfessed sin or conflicts with others.
2. Is God’s will my highest priority? (Matthew 6:33) Jesus promises that if we ‘seek first his kingdom’, all of our needs will be provided for.
3. Am I consistently waiting on God? (Psalm 25:14) Keep the matter consistently before God, thinking things through in his presence.
4. Do I have peace from the Holy Spirit? (Colossians 3:15) The Holy Spirit brings a sense of assurance, confirming what God is showing us in other ways. But beware of a peace which is simply the absence of tension, following a time of decision-making!
5. How am I putting aside worldly concerns? (1 John 2:16). Make sure your decision is not motivated by a desire for position, security or recognition.
6. Do I have spiritual counsellors? (Proverbs 12:15) Share your thoughts with older or more experienced Christians, whose opinion you value. Very often, a sense of confirmation comes through their reaction and advice.
7. What objective ‘signs’ have I seen? (Judges 6:37-40) When it is hard to distinguish between personal feelings and the Spirit’s confirmation, ask God to do something objective, outside of yourself, as a sign of his will.
8. Do I know how the Holy Spirit has equipped me? (1 Corinthians 12:1-11) Your spiritual gifts can be a clue to the path you should take.
9. Am I bathing in the word of God? (Psalm 119:11) The Holy Spirit will never lead us into anything that goes against the truth of God’s word. So, beware of isolating ‘special verses’ and taking them as guidance.
10. Am I prepared to step out in faith? (Luke 5:4) If you know God is leading you in a particular direction, the next step is to launch out, trusting him. Go for it!
If you want the full list of 30 questions, along with a good deal of other useful, spiritual advice, you can buy a copy of How Are You Doing? (Christian Focus) from us at CLC, or from your local Christian bookshop.