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I Need to Listen More

I’ve been struggling with a question that many struggle with.

What does God want for my life?

In a recent sermon series, we’ve been discussing Joseph. A person who went through many hardships and trials. It would be easy for anyone to lose faith. But through it all his faith never wavered – he trusted in God.

One of the bullet points of the series said: “God has a plan for your life that will include: enduring trials, passing tests, receiving gifts and growing to maturity; a plan that will fulfill you and impact the world.”

For years I’ve asked God what he wants for my life and I just never heard anything back. It was discouraging, especially when others say they hear from him and clearly know their path.

A handful of weeks ago, I laid down in bed and asked God what he wanted for me. I laid there and listened. I didn’t try to come up with something I thought I wanted to hear. I simply said, “Jesus, I love you. What do you want for my life?”

I didn’t hear an audible voice from above but what came to me was: “Feed my Flock.”

Now, what to do with my answer?

My gift has never been to go up on stage and talk – let alone preach. But, I’m learning that’s OK. According to Romans 12:3-8, gifts are not one size fits all. Do I wish I had certain gifts that others possess? Yes, but it’s just not how God made me. All of us in the Body of Christ are truly unique. We need to use the gift(s) that God has given to us and not let it go to waste.

3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members,[e] and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[f] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Typically, I become preoccupied with the what and the how. Rather than trusting in God, I tend to overthink which leads to inaction; which I know God doesn’t want. In Romans 12:2 it says:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

While I’m searching for my path, I can take action by being obedient to Christ. In Romans 12:9-21 it shows what I can do as a follower of Christ. To be honest, a lot of this doesn’t come naturally and it’s counter to what our culture points to.

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Instead of being worried abut my path or charting out an action plan from A-to-Z I need to do a better job of living out the above scripture. One thing I know, when I try to dictate outcomes, the result rarely goes as planned. There are a lot of stumbling blocks that humble me. God’s plan is always better. I need to listen more.