Here are the seven realities of experiencing God:
- God is always at work around you.
- God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.
- God invites you to become involved with him in his work.
- God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal himself, his purposes and his ways.
- God’s invitations for you to work with him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
- You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what he is doing.
- You came to know God by experience as you obey him and accomplish his work.
We tend to ask questions trying to determine whether we really heard from God…
- How can I know it is God speaking to me?
- How do I know where God is at work?
- What kind of adjustments will I have to make to be obedient?
- What is the difference between adjustment and obedience?
Here are three similarities in the lives of biblical servants through whom God worked:
- When God spoke, they knew it was from God.
- They knew what God was saying.
- They knew what they were to do in response.
Let’s look at the seven realities of Experiencing God in the life of Moses:
- God is always at work around you. The people groaned in slavery, cried out to God, and he heard them, he looked on and was concerned (Exodus 2:23-25) .
- God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal. Moses came up to the mountain of God and talked with him, and told Moses of his plans for deliverance (Exodus 24:12, 15-16, 18).
- God invites you to become involved with him in his work. God said he was sending Moses (Exodus 3:8, 10) to do the work of God.
- God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal himself, his purposes and his ways. The lord appeared in the flames of the bush, and later while Moses would visit God face to face (Exodus 3:2-8, Numbers 12:6-8).
- God’s invitations for you to work with him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action. Moses gave five excuses why God could have picked a better person for this job (Exodus 3:11, 13, 4:1, 10, 13).
- You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what he is doing. God said GO and Moses started back to Egypt (Exodus 4:19-20).
- You came to know God by experience as you obey him and accomplish his work. Moses came to know God more intimately through his obedience (Exodus 14:15-17, 21-23, 26-27, 29-31).
When God is about to do something, he reveals to a person or to his people what he is about to do. Points to remember are that God sees, hears, cares, acts and has a plan for this people. When God reveals what he is about to do, that revelation becomes an invitation for us to join him. The great part is that God is already at work in the place he is going to send us!
God uses ordinary people to accomplish his purposes. We often think of Elijah as an extraordinary person of faith, but the Bible actually tells us he was ordinary (James 5:18-19). Peter and John were nothing special to the rest of the world (Acts 4:13) but were used in a mighty way by God. This is God’s pattern to use the weak to accomplish mighty things (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). When people don’t measure up to human standards, God is still at work in their lives.
When you believe that nothing significant can happen through you, you have said more about your belief in God than you have said about yourself. – D. L. Moody
Jesus came as a servant to accomplish God’s will in the redemption of humanity. Here are two classic verses regarding the obedient servanthood of Jesus:
- Philippians 2:5-8 (servant, humility, obedience)
- Matthew 20:26-28 (greatness, service, example of Jesus)
As the Father had sent Jesus, he also sends us (John 20:21). The master never allows the servant to run out on his own to do whatever the servant wants to do for the Master. That is not a biblical servant.
Here are two concepts regarding a servant (Jeremiah 18:1-6).
- The clay must be molded.
- The clay must be in the potter’s hand.
A clay pot or cup cannot do anything on its own; it must submit to the will of the potter. So, a servant can do nothing on his own, when God works through a servant he can do anything… as long as he is moldable and remains in the potter’s hands. The Master alone makes the clay into the vessel he chooses (John 15:5).
Use Elijah as an example (1 Kings 18:15-39) when he was going to prove once and for all who was the greater God. He was outnumbered 850 to one. Had Elijah run in and did all this on his own, he would have failed.
- At whose initiative did Elijah offer this challenge (1 Kings 18:15)?
- Who brought the fire down from heaven (1 Kings 18:38)?
- After is is all said and done, what did Elijah have to do? He was to be obedient to God and focus on the task or mission he was given.
Sometimes we think that we should NOT just stand there, but do SOMETHING. This is not the way it is with God. He often wants us to stand still until he leads, then we go and do the work he has for us. God wants us to adjust our lives to him, and then he will accomplish great things through his servants.
The longer one is a follower of Jesus Christ, the greater one should have spiritual discernment, which is the ability to determine right from wrong, good from evil, this direction or that.
Discernment does not come by flipping a coin and saying “heads or tails,” and it doesn’t completely rely on common sense or the conscience. Spiritual discernment is a gift from God and comes to us through the Holy Spirit, who dwells in every authentic Christian. It is the supernatural ability to “know” something not because of personal knowledge or experience, but because of personal time spent with God in prayer and time spent in his Word.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:5–7)
The ability to know God and discern his will for your life comes through…
Salvation: Spiritual things can be discerned only by the indwelling Holy Spirit. When you trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have met the prerequisite for knowing the mind of Christ. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:15–16).
Scripture: As you study Scripture, you learn how God works in the lives of His people. Understanding God’s principles gives you a basis for knowing how He is working in your life today.
- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise (Psalm 111:10).
- These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come (1 Corinthians 10:11).
Situations: Are you focusing on God’s will for your future? Instead, focus on God’s purpose in your present situation, and trust Him with your future. God always has a personal will for you, and your responsibility is to adjust to what He is doing in your life right now. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:33–34).
Surrender: Are you surrendering to what God wants to do in your life today? Pray to be moldable clay in the Potter’s hand, allowing God to mold and shape you into the vessel of His choosing. O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does? declares the LORD. Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel (Jeremiah 18:6).
Servanthood: Have you given up ownership of your own life? When your heart is willing to be God’s servant no matter the cost, He will reveal His plan for you. No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? (Matthew 6:24–25).
There has been a debate on whether we are called to be successful in our lives and ministries or simply faithful to what God has called us to do. For pastors, we often view success in terms of numbers; we are successful if the numbers increase.
I read a book by a guy named Kent Hughes called, “Liberating Your Ministry from Success Syndrome.” Imagine a pastor of a small church in a transitional community who faithfully preaches week after week, cares for the congregation, invests in leaders, witnesses regularly, and serves the community; but the numerical growth is just not there. At the Convention he hears stories from other pastors with churches experiencing tremendous growth. The conclusion is often, “I’m not successful in what I am doing. Maybe I should be in a different vocation. God has not blessed with response to he must not be pleased with me.”
So, we beg the question, “Has God called us to be successful or faithful?” Sometimes we see both; but often we have to resign to the fact that even with the hardest work and best laid plans, God is the only one who can bring about growth (1 Corinthians 3:6, 7).
Check out what God says to Ezekiel:
“He said to me: Human one, listen closely, and take to heart every word I say to you. Then go to the exiles, to your people’s children. Whether they listen or not, speak to them and say: The LORD God proclaims!” (Ezekiel 3:10-11)
Getting people to respond to your ministry is hard. If we are doing it in our own strength, it is sure to fail (John 15:5), but even when we rely upon God to make it happen, we must faithfully do our part and leave the results up to him. Let’s look at evangelism as an example.
Most Christians know that they should be sharing their faith with others, that it is part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. But, most Christians feel very uneasy about doing it. Many Christians rarely share their faith with others.
- Some don’t because they don’t want to look foolish in the eyes of their co-workers.
- Others hold back because they don’t want to offend someone.
- Many believers choose not to share their faith because their afraid they won’t do it right.
- Others fear they’ll mess up the message or be unable to answer unexpected questions, so they don’t talk about it.
If you can relate to these statements or if you’re someone who keeps the lid on our faith because you’re afraid of what might happen if you talked about it, then you’ll be encouraged and challenged by Ezekiel 3:10-11. In this passage, the Lord told Ezekiel to take his word to heart and then to share it with the Jewish exiles in Babylon, where Ezekiel was himself an exile. God told him to speak, “whether they listen or not” (Ezekiel 3:11). In other words, Ezekiel’s calling was to be faithful, not successful.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with success, whether in life or in serving the Lord, but our chief calling as God’s people is to be faithful to him, to serve him with excellence, to obey him wholeheartedly. If God chooses to bless our efforts with success, that’s great, but many times we cannot guarantee success. We should always choose to be faithful and do what God tells us as well as we can.
How do you feel about sharing your faith with others? What about seeing the fruit of your labor (like success)? What do you find uncomfortable about this? What about setting goals and action plans to reach them? What encourages you to continue serving the Lord even when it does not appear to be successful? What would it mean for you to be faithful as a servant or witness for Christ?