I have you ever been really excited about doing something you are passionate about and then something changed? Have you ever experienced God interrupting your plans with a new plan?
Jesus' younger brother, Jude, had this experience. Listen to why he wrote the letter entitled Jude.
"Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people." Jude 1:3
At first, Jude wanted to write about the glorious, generous gift of salvation that we Christians have experienced. But, God interrupted his plans. God compelled him to write about something different, to go down another road, to take a different direction.
Have you ever experienced God "compelling" you?
Have you ever had God interrupt your plans to do something He wants you to do?
I think this is the exciting, terrifying adventure for all Christians. Isn't that what the book of Acts is all about? Isn't it the Acts of the Holy Spirit "compelling" the disciples of Jesus to share the Gospel with different people in different locations that launched the church?
On their way to worship and prayer, Peter and John were interrupted by a man who had been crippled his entire life who asked for money. Wasn't it the compelling of the Holy Spirit that led Peter to give him Jesus' healing power?
Wasn't it the Holy Spirit who "compelled" Philip to go to a city in Samaria to share the Gospel of Jesus which unleashed so much freedom in Christ? Wasn't it the Holy Spirit that "compelled" Cornelius to connect with Peter?
The extremely important question that we all need to ask is, is this "compelling" really from God or not? Is it from the living Savior Jesus Christ or is it from someone or something else? How do you know? God reveals some wise steps to take to discern if this "compelling" is from God or not.
1. Did this idea come out of a time of waiting and seeking God?
Studying Jesus' life through the four biographies of Jesus: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we clearly see that Jesus daily met with His Heavenly Father for direction, debriefing and worship. Mark 1:35 we see Jesus having a spiritual breakfast with God. During that time, God "compelled" Jesus to go to another town and do ministry. As the Antioch Church was "compelled" by God to send out Paul and Barnabus, it was in the context of worship, fasting and prayer. So, did the "compelling" come during times of seeking God, times of spiritual disciplines?
2. Does it sound like God?
Does it sound like it is coming from the characteristics and attributes of God? Or is it coming from our culture/world, or from other people, or from ourselves or from the evil one? Ideas come from all of these sources. Jesus explained, "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come to give life and give it to the full." John 10:10 Does the idea of honoring God sound like it is coming from Him in order to build His Kingdom?
3. Does it line up with the Bible?
God will never contradict Himself. He is not a confusing God where you have to discover a secret code or something. Most of the time our decisions can clearly be seen right in Scripture. "Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit,you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Gal 5:16-26
4. What do wise Christian brothers or sisters in Christ think about the idea?
"Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." Pr 11:14
"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice." Pr12:15
"Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." Pr 19:20-21
5. How does this idea fit with who God created you to be?
"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Eph 2:10 (NLT) With the skills, spiritual gifts and personality of who God created you to be, does this "compelling" help you honor God the best?
If you can say "yes" to all these criteria, obey God the best that you can. Risk and do what God is "compelling" you to do. If not, throw that idea away and keep seeking Jesus.
Desiring to obey all of Jesus' "compellings,"
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.