Wouldn’t life be grand if God’s “signs” were actually signs — you know, like street signs? The Great Wayfarer’s direction would be crystal clear to us. At least if we ignored the sign, or opted or a detour, we would know definitively that we made that choice and, come what may, we’d have a somewhat softer blow of living with the consequences of that action (theoretically speaking). I’m thinking it’d be like Christmas Day every day if I prayed out an important question, and the next time I walked out the door, there was a sign with my answer on it.
Divine direction, however, very rarely comes to us in the form of a literal sign. It almost always is discovered or stumbled upon or gifted to us in a way that we are not expecting, or that is mysterious. It follows no formula, and although I’m sure it can, it may never repeat itself in the way it’s delivered to us. Divine direction is guidance God provides for that moment in time, for us, and in that particular way.
God’s guidance is not always in the form of an actual message. It can be in the form of an event, or the allowance of what we perceive as an unfortunate event or circumstance to befall us. Just this morning, I was feeling depleted from many weeks of preparation for a retreat I’m leading on top of family stresses and running my business. I was supposed to drive an hour and a half to a high-stakes meeting early this morning, and then go straight from there to the retreat center. Fifteen minutes before I was scheduled to leave, as I was packing the car, I received an email that the meeting had been cancelled. God knew better. He knew that I needed time to spiritually prepare for the weekend ahead. He knew that what would happen this weekend is far more important Kingdom work than the work I was stressing myself to fold into my schedule today.
If you’re driven by the right why, God will lead you to the right what.
But I didn’t always recognize God’s hand at work in my life. It’s only been in recent years that I’ve grown to learn His voice and His ways, and I still have such a long way to go on that walk. I do know that a good way to practice is by getting to know who God
So, how do you do that, really? Well, I’ll share with you what I’ve found to be the my most practical and breakthrough ways of connecting with God.
Read and Study the Bible
This sounds par for the course here, and it is. The Bible is the Word of God. The words on the pages of the Bible are “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16); therefore, they are our roadmap for life. They are our instruction manual to consult, to know how to live the fullest life, and where to turn when we are faltering, or when we break. Bible studies are a terrific way to ease into studying the Bible, and so many now are available online.
Pray (Learn to Pray)
Prayer is the most important thing you’ll ever do in your spiritual life. In a macro sense, it’s the prayer of faith that leads you to accept Christ into your heart and ushers you into salvation. At the everyday level, prayer works to keep you connected to God. It’s your lifeline to Him. The more you pray, the more you’ll understand what I mean. Dismiss the idea that you have to be in church to pray, or that you need to have holy language and posture to pray. Dismiss the idea that your prayers only reach the Father by way of an intermediary, or that “people like us” can’t pray and it make a difference. Speak to God naturally, in your own language, from your heart. This is how the door to “the secret place” (Psalm 139:15, Psalm 51:6, Isaiah 45:3, Jeremiah 23:24) opens. And once opened, you and your spiritual life will never be the same.
Silence and solitude, with the purpose of going deeper with the Lord, will always take you into greater relationship with God. He will see to it. A spiritual retreat is among the fastest and most powerful ways to increase your awareness of God’s presence and gives you the greatest opportunity to be free in practicing worship.
On the subject of worship, praising God is a joy that radiates throughout the Earth and the heavens. Your act of worship through prayer and singing serve to open your spirit and grow your faith through gratitude to the One through whom all good things flow.
Service and Community
Receiving goodness from the Lord is the most healing, joyous and loving experience we are allowed on this side of heaven. As a result of being touched by God, we, in turn, instinctively will want to share that with others. These “fruits of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22) are “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” The Body of Christ is a community in which the fruits of the Spirit are alive, well and operating.
Even with my “antennae” up, and with practice, it’s still difficult at times to know when and how God is working in my life. My faith tells me He is, and that is enough for me. But I am always talking to him, and I will share with you that the more I practice, the more He responds in His own ways, and the more adept I am at recognizing Him. I pray often with people these days that, “All of the noise and other voices of life will fall away, and that you will only hear God’s voice… that His voice will resound above all others.” This is my prayer for you reading this. May you find your way to the Secret Place, friend.