A lot of us want to know why we were put on this earth. Why was is so important for each of us, as individuals, to be a part of this humanistic society? Life would be just a tad bit easier if we knew our purpose and lived endlessly trying to achieve that. It would be easier if God would just hand us a piece of paper that stated “on this day “this person” was born to become a…..” However, He doesn’t; but He does give us hints as to what it is that we are called to do. Because of this, you will hear some people say, "I feel like God is calling me or leading me to do this.” No matter what “this” represents, they feel like God is commissioning them into another season, place, or position. Like many, I often wonder, “How Sway?” How can you be so sure the Lord has called you, instead of you calling yourself? By this logic, it seems God is speaking more now than He did even back in the OLD Testament. Therefore, let's find out if God really called you. If so, what will it take to answer the call?
So, you think God is calling you? Everyone wants to find their purpose -the original intent as to why they were created. We look to God to supply the answer, after all He is our creator. God has called each of us to follow him. However, what happens when God is specifically calling you to something? What happens when He calls you to a specific ministry, region, community, group of people, business, or mission? How might we know when God gives the green light into this new season that we may enter or embark on?
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27
We are the sheep and God is the Shepherd. How might a sheep know the voice of its Shepherd to know to follow Him? Herding sheep can be a real task for a shepherd. Sheep are not the most dominating animals out there. They usually follow their flock wherever they go and wander off a lot, which is why they need structure and guidance provided by the shepherd. What is quite interesting is that in the passage, God states the sheep will follow him, when typically, a shepherd leads from behind. This gives the shepherd the ability to see his flock and protect them from imminent danger. So why is God leading from the front and is so certain that all the sheep He has called are right behind him?
Okay, first of all, God leads from the front with no worries that His sheep are following Him. So, when God called you, how worried were you about the call? You see, it’s in the sheep’s nature to yearn to veer off track. However, as children of the Most High God, it's also in our nature to comply with the instructions of our Father. What do I mean by this? When a dog knows his owner, it answers when the owner calls. Unless the dog has been poorly trained, it is difficult for the dog to disobey the commands of its master. It is in its nature to comply. So, when the sheep are called by the master, they obey. The next sentence states, “I know them.” Not only do you know Him (God), but He also knows you. Therefore, intimacy would be imperative in being called by God. He wouldn’t call you unless He knew you, and knew your capabilities to do exactly what He has asked of you. So, although the sheep may be worried, the voice of the Master soothes them into obedience.
Now, here is the part many people get stuck on: WHOSE VOICE AM I HEARING? We want so badly to do what we think God is commissioning, but who in the world is talking? Is it me, is it the enemy, is it the Lord, or is it my own emotions? How might the sheep decipher multiple voices? In the verse, it seems as easy as it was read. However, we fight a battle that wages within us where the enemy offers confusion and impressions that often result in our second-guessing what was originally asked of us. So, if God isn’t an author of confusion, how might we discern who is speaking?
1 John 4:1 states "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
Therefore, how might you test each of your own thoughts to know if they were inspired by God?
1. Does it agree with the Bible?
2. Does the idea makes me more like Christ?
3. Does my church family confirm it?
4. Is it consistent with how God shaped me?
(Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality Experiences Ephesians 2:10)
5. Does it concern your responsibility?
6. Is it convicting rather than condemning?
7. Do I sense God’s peace about it?
I am currently going through a season where I’m trying to be conscious of whether God is speaking to me or not. It’s normal to do something or go somewhere new while being frightened a little. However, allow it to drive you, rather than stop you. The fight between us and God is usually the fight of comfortability. What He may be calling you out of or into is probably uncomfortable to your nature, idea, upbringing, thinking, and more. There are times God may have put an impression on your heart that you can’t deny was from Him, but you still chose not to act on it. Since you didn’t listen to it, follow it, or pass it on, you experienced a friction. You began to feel it as anxiety or fear brought on by your willingness to remain comfortable. If you feel you are in a season of silence with God, you need to find Him where you last heard from Him. Then, come before Him without the sin of doubt and fear, but instead with openness to put away your selfishness and hear what He has to say. So, if your Shepard speaks, will you follow?
7 keys to test an impression notes above were provided by Rick Warren