It’s a mystery why God choses to act through His people, but He clearly does. When a situation, problem or needs comes to our attention, it could be God calling us to play a part in His great plan. But it could be our human nature, the devil, or the bad shrimp we had for supper the night before. How can we know? It’s tough but there are ways.
1. Pray. Before taking any action or saying any word in response to a perceived need, we need to pray. I am talking about serious prayer. I mean prayer that is 1 percent us talking and 99 percent us listening. Because the bottom line is God will tell us what we need to do and what we need to stay away from. Hearing for His voice to determine His will is something we learn. It’s why He starts us out with small things then moves us on to bigger challenges.
2. Investigate. If we see a situation that seems to need some correction or intervention, we need to look closer. For example, if we think something is wrong in our children’s program at church we need to get involved. We need to volunteer. Take a closer look. We need to do this for several reasons. We need to have the right information. We need to see the perspective of others and we need to build our credibility. Those involved are much more likely to listen to one who is in a position to know and understand than to one who just “heard from God.”
3. Examine our motives. We really need to know ourselves. Are we controlling types? The biggest motivation to seek change and see problems is often not the voice of God by the spirit of control. There truly is such a Spirit and some folks are bothered by it in spades. Consider your past. Have you had evidence of the influence of this spirit? Are you motivated by jealousy? Sometimes it just bothers us if someone is receiving much applause over their work. We just want our moment in the sun. That’s not God, that’s another influence. Does a critical spirit rest on your shoulder? Usually this spirit doesn’t prompt us to act, but to talk about those who do. It is always outside the will of God.
4. Consider our place. Is the problem we see in an area outside of our concern. Here I don’t mean that “lay” folks should stay out of “staff” business or that kind of thing. I think the best example happens with our children. We spend years teaching them and, we should, be giving them good example. Sometimes we see them doing “wrong” and want to step in an intervene. Be careful. Just because they aren’t doing what we would do, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Even if it is wrong, it doesn’t mean we are called to step in. During certain periods of life, our parents or grandparents are the last persons we want to hear from. Another example is politics. All Christians should be concerned about the direction our country and society is taking; but we need to be careful about spending too much time worrying and fretting about it. Some are truly called to act in these areas. For most of us, that’s not our place. There is too much to do with individuals, much closer to home.
5. Consider the timing. Make sure that intervention is needed now, before acting. Sometimes God is working on the person or in a situation. He may be teaching a lesson or clearing out some chaff. We don’t interfere with that.
6. When sure of our direction, place and timing, ACT. Don’t put yourself in a position of regret. Knowing we should have acted and having failed to do so.
7. PRAY. Obviously we need God’s help at every point of this process. Being in His will, means being in Him. That means not just saying a prayer when we need Him, but living a life of prayer and praise and worship.
There is nothing like being in His will. The joy it brings is worth every difficult step it takes.