We do not always know where God is at work, so how can we tell where God is working. First there are some things that only God can do, so identifying these are a good place to begin:
- God draws people to himself (John 6:44)
- God causes people to seek after him (Romans 3:10-12)
- God reveals spiritual truth (1 Corinthians 2:14)
- God convicts people (John 16:8)
- Of sin
- Of righteousness
- Of judgment
No one will seek after God or pursue spiritual things unless the Father is at work in his life. If someone is interested in spiritual matters, the Father is at work in their life. The great thing is that we have the Holy Spirit to help guide us through the spirituality of our lives (John 14:15-17, 26)
A great example is that of Zacchaeus. Jesus left the crowd that day and focused on one man in particular, and salvation came to that house (Luke 19:5). Jesus looked for the activity of the Father and joined him in that work.
So what can we do to put ourselves into a position of hearing a word from God, and see where God is working?
- Start by praying.
- Then get off your knees and watch to see what God does next.
- Watch for people with needs.
- Discover people who might be interested in spiritual matters.
- Ask questions to people around you.
- How can I pray for you?
- Do you want to talk?
- What do you see as the greatest challenge in your life?
- What do you see God doing in your life?
- What is God bringing to the surface of your life?
- What burden has God put on your heart?
- Then listen to people.
Here is a convicting part: we often don’t join God in his work because we are not really committed to God. We are more interested in his blessings that in his work. How many times have you prayed for God’s blessing? I am convicted that prayer needs to change from focusing on God blessing us to God’s revealing to us where he is at work. When we focus on God working through us, the blessing will follow. I intend to stop asking God to bless me, and my church, and will ask him to reveal to us where he is at work, and to work through us.
God speaks when he is about to accomplish his purposes, and we can be assured that what God initiates, he will complete (Isaiah 14:24, 27, 1 Kings 8:56, Philippians 1:6).
When we say that we have a “word from the Lord” be careful. We need to stick with that leading until God brings it to pass. Abraham waited 25 years for the son of promise, and Moses was in training for 40 years before God sent him back to Egypt. If your “word from the Lord” does not come to pass, you are in danger of being a false prophet (Deuteronomy 18:18-22, Jeremiah 28:9, Ezekiel 12:24, 25).