Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Too many of us approach life in combat mode, always battling and very rarely winning. This isn’t the life you have to live. Sure there are seasons when life and hell is throwing everything at you but this isn’t reality 100% of the time. You don’t have to live under constant pressure and feeling over burdened. Get a different perspective. God offers us a relationship with him, whereby, we get access to his inexhaustible grace and power to live the life he’s called each of us to. But you have to come to him. You can’t keep doing life in your own strength. You must choose to stop and drink from his living waters. Often times, we are our own worst enemies because we don’t create space in our minds, hearts and schedules for his presence to renew us. It’s time to stop making life harder for yourself than what it needs to be. Run to him and ask for his help!
Type A achievers tend to have high capacity to handle a lot of different tasks and assignments all at the same time. However, whilst the results may be enviable in the short term, the long term consequences are far less glamorous and far more stressful. The person who who commits themselves to focus on fewer things but with greater attention and resolve will execute far more consistently and receive better results long term. It has taken me my entire life to learn this principle. I would struggle with saying ‘NO’ to well meaning people who would ask me to get involved in a task, ministry or event. I didn’t want to disappoint people and I thought I could make a helpful contribution. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. High profile individuals are generally recognized for the one unique thing they do remarkably well, not for the million and one things they are average at. Play to your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Do less and do it better. You’ll enjoy life more and you’ll produce better results.
Contrary to popular opinion, God’s Spirit is communicating far more to us than we care to acknowledge. He’s at work far more than we care to notice. God doesn’t leave himself without a witness. He uses any and many means to inform the paths we should take but we have to pay attention to the signposts he positions for us along the path of our life’s journey. God’s always speaking, it’s whether we are listening. God’s always revealing, it’s whether we are seeing. Just as a freeway has signposts directing you from where you are to where you want to be, God gives us signposts to help guide you from where you are to where you want to be. His signposts range from people we bump into, to the circumstances we face, to the opportunities before us, to the words we receive, to the impressions in our hearts and everything in between. What are the signposts God maybe using to lead you right now in your life? Pay attention and you’ll get to your destination!
All of us at some point make a decision but don’t always see that decision through. The decisions we make are significant because they shape our lives but there are some decisions that define our lives more than others.
One of those defining decisions is answering the call to follow Jesus as one of his disciples. It should be life defining and yet I’m observing a trend in the church that has been consistent throughout the ages. People put their hand up to make a decision but don’t necessarily follow through to actually becoming a disciple. Jesus didn’t call us to make converts but disciples.
You can make a momentary decision to follow Jesus but never actually discover what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus said, ‘Many shall come in that day and say Lord, Lord, did we not preach in your name and cast out demons in your name and I will say depart from me, I never knew you.’
In Luke 9:57-62 Jesus gave three examples of people who seemingly made a decision to follow Jesus but didn’t actually follow through to becoming a disciple. When the cost of discipleship presents itself, some people simply cannot pay the price and follow through.
There are stages of spiritual maturity that we must navigate if we are going to move from decision to disciple.
- Comfort – When we decide to follow Christ we grow quickly and we are excited about everything in God’s kingdom that we come across. There is an element of initial comfort attached to the new discoveries we are making about God.
- Connection – We start to connect with other like-minded people in Christian community and lifestyle changes are starting to take shape.
- Cause – We become aware of the cause of Jesus and respond in 1 of 2 ways: Either we commit to the cause or we retreat to comfort and connection. Our revelation of the cause is a line in the sand that defines whether we move from decision to disciple. Unfortunately, some church attenders go backwards and forwards between the first 3 stages of spiritual maturity.
- Commitment – If we respond to the cause with commitment we become aware of our gifts and call and we’re moved to action. We start to serve in the life of the church as a priority.
- Crisis – Once committed to the cause life will always present us with a crisis. This crisis can range from disappointment, loss of a loved one, broken relationship or financial pressure to name a few. In this stage we start to question our theology and we have a choice to make, do we respond Godward or man-ward?
- Conviction – If we respond positively to the crisis we form internal convictions that shape our ideas, beliefs and actions in line with God and his Word.
- Consistency – If we get to this final stage, we mature to a pattern of consistent testimony. A life driven by convictions results in a lifestyle of consistency. Consistency is measured by your stickability to what God has purposed in your heart and what you’ve learnt along the journey.
I exercise and train my physical body early each morning. I run, bike, swim, lift weights and stretch. Some days I move my body quickly and efficiently and other days more like a turtle, very slowly. But the one thing that makes a difference in my fitness is not the initial decision to get up in the morning and train but the consistent showing up, day in and day out and actually doing the training.
Consistency demonstrates maturity and ultimately victory. What about you? Do you tend to make decisions but don’t follow through. Break the pattern today. Move from a decision to a disciple and watch what happens in your world.
Each of us make a hundred decisions everyday. The bigger the decision, the more attention we need to give to it. Unfortunately, some Christians approach decision-making as flippant as opening their bible and letting their finger land on a verse and taking that as the word of the Lord for their lives. Not helpful. We need to take our decisions seriously because they define our lives. Where you are today is a result of your decisions.
In the natural we have navigational systems called a ‘GPS’. These help us to navigate our way to our desired destination. If we miss a turn off or veer off the selected route, the GPS helps us by re-routing and getting us back on track. In the spiritual realm we also have a GPS, it’s called relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Intimacy with the Holy Spirit isn’t an event, it’s a lifestyle. We must pay the price to hear God’s voice and have the courage to do what God asks us to do. It’s not what you do in life but what you do out of what God asks you to do. We must learn to be led by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14 says, “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
Making Godly decisions begins with following the principle of multiple witnesses. Deuteronomy 19:15 talks about only on the evidence of two or three witnesses should a charge be established by someone. In the context of relationship with God, He has given us witnesses to help us make godly decisions. These are:
- Witness of Clarity = Define the decision to be made
- Witness of Exposure = Have you got the right information to make the decision?
- Witness of Spirit = What is God revealing to you?
- Witness of God’s Word = What has God illuminated to you in his word?
- Witness of Prophecy = What are the prophetic sign posts God is sending your way?
- Witness of Godly Counsel = What your mentors saying to you?
- Witness of Calling = Does making the decision align with your calling?
- Witness of Circumstances = What’s currently happening in your life?
- Witness of Peace = Are you being honest with how you really feel?
- Witness of Provision = Is God supplying your need in this decision?
Not all 10 witnesses need to agree at the same time but at least one of these needs to be in the mix. When it all comes down to it, pull the trigger. Procrastination will paralyse you. You don’t have to live life blindfolded. You can walk confidently into your decision, knowing that God has gone before you.