Sunday Devotional Playlist:
This week’s playlist starts with some songs to sing along with, but then will move into some instrumental music as a backdrop to your devotional time.
Feel free to use the opening songs as moments to worship, or just have them as background music while you read. It’s up to you!
Hit play on the video above and it will run through the songs in the playlist.
Walking His Way (part five) – Me, You and Jesus
Over the past month, we’ve been looking at walking in Gods way: how we can hear and know what He is saying, and follow in his will for our lives. My heart for this series is that each of us would feel more assured than ever that God really does have a good plan for our lives and that we would all feel more confident in hearing him as He leads us into it.
Jesus really is the Good Shepherd and we can take him at His word when he says that His sheep (that’s you and I!) can hear and learn to recognise his voice. Often the way that Gods speaks to us is through his other sheep, so through each other! The bible is absolutely full of stories where God’s direction, encouragement, challenge or correction came, not through angels, dreams or dramatic signs, but through the words and counsel of other people.
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.Proverbs 15:22
God wants partnership with us and He will and does speak and lead us each individually but we need to also recognise and make space for the voices of other people in this process and as an important part of the partnership. The advice and counsel of other, trusted people can be absolutely critical in our success and can be one of the most significant ways that God speaks to us.
There are two unhealthy extremes that we need to avoid when considering how we navigate this. The first is that we are unwilling to share our journey with people and refuse to invite discussion, challenge or others perspectives. The other is that we find ourselves lacking any confidence to hear God for ourselves and make decisions and are constantly looking to defer to other people’s opinions or thoughts. I don’t think this verse in Proverbs means that we have a board of people in our lives who we have to inform and ask about each and every life decision that we make! I don’t think that it means that we give other people a vote but we do invite their voice; we actively seek other people’s input but we keep hold of the responsibility for our own choices and walk with God.
The reason this is so important is because none of us should exist in isolation to other people. We are bought into the body of Christ where our primary connection is with Jesus but we are also intentionally and essentially connected to other parts of the body- that’s other people!
1 Corinthians 13 clearly tells us that we know and prophecy “in part.” I look on a certain situation in my life or decision I need to make and I don’t have all the answers, I only know “in part” and will tend to look at it only from my perspective. The thing is that my lens is unavoidably going to be shaped by my past experience, future concerns, my preferences and expectations. Bringing another person into my journey can be so vital because while they also only know “in part” – their part may well be different to mine and so can give a fuller perspective of what I am looking at! Remember, we’re not asking others to make our decisions for us, but to talk with us and walk with us as we look to lean in, listen and follow God.
Receive and invite.
I think there are two main ways this can happen.Firstly where we receive others and secondly where we invite them. Let me explain.
I have had times in my life where someone has come to me out of the blue to say they had a dream about me or were praying for me and felt like God spoke to them. I might not have invited them in but I can now choose to receive them and be open to the fact that that what they share may well be the voice of God to me.
At others times I need to actively invite people in. I have to share what I am walking through and invite them to tell me how they see see it, what they think and point out anything I may have missed. They don’t need to have the answer or even necessarily anything specific to bring to the process but even just asking someone to pray is a beautiful and powerful way we can carry one another’s burdens and it gives God an open invitation to speak.
Whenever someone speaks into our life we always need to bring what they say back to God and ask him to confirm what he is saying. Other people won’t always get it right, might not always have the best advice and so if we don’t get that peaceful, inner conviction then it’s ok to lay down what they have shared and keep walking.
Humble and brave.
Building relationships where this shared listening, hearing, speaking and walking has become a mature and healthy normal is going to require us to be both humble and brave.
Humble and brave as we learn how to listen and share with an open hand when God speaks through us for other people. Humble and brave enough to acknowledge that we don’t always know what to do and have areas where we lack confidence, clarity or courage and we need others to speak in. Humble and brave enough to receive with an open and teachable heart when God speaks to us through our brothers and sisters.
In all of this, let’s remember that God is a good father and if we ask for bread he won’t give us a stone. I don’t think he will throw us red herrings, lead us into dead ends or be deliberately confusing. If we ask him to speak to us and guide us then we can trust and be confident that He will – and often He will use other people to do just that.
- Are you ready for God to speak to you – both through others and for others?
- Are you actively listening not just for your own life but for the lives of people He has connected you to?
- Are there situations in your life you need to invite other people into?
- Is God speaking to you for someone else – how can you share this with them?
- If we need humility and courage – which are you more in need of in this area?