The following is an excerpt from Priscilla Shirer’s newly revised and expanded study, Discerning the Voice of God. Order your copy or see a free sample today at www.LifeWay.com/DiscerningTheVoiceOfGod. You can also pick up a copy at your local LifeWay Store!
Ever since my husband and I were married, we’ve been saving our pennies to build a house someday. For the last couple of years, we’ve been working with an architect to design the floor plan, admittedly taking our sweet little old time on this first stage—crafting the blueprint.
We were advised early on in the process that spending time with the architect on the front end is crucial—because every subcontractor who will eventually pour the foundation, lay brick and mortar, run electrical cable, and put in the trim work will be following the detailed plans drawn on these original construction documents. These laborers may not immediately see how their individual contributions fit into the rest of the design, but the fact that they’re following the established guidelines of the master plan will ensure that the whole house looks, feels, and functions the way it’s supposed to, even as they bring their individual expertise and flair to the project.
God has a plan—an overarching blueprint for the construction of our lives, a compilation of specs and details that accomplish His purposes. The whole design is already in place. We can try, of course, to draft a different one. We can act as though we’re a better judge of how our lives should work and what they should look like. But God has thought of everything. Can you just trust Him in that? The Architect of your life knows exactly what He is doing. He knows what you love and what delights you the most, based on how He’s created you, and He has incorporated all these things into a plan that best enables you to do what He wants done, even as you express your individuality—even if you can’t see how some of the details fit together in the overall design.
I admit, I’ve often plowed ahead with my own purposes, hoping God would give them His seal of approval. When He didn’t, I was frustrated and disappointed, sometimes questioning His love for me and His concern for my well-being. But the truth is, I was trying to bend His will to mine, rather than mine to His. Why should I expect Him to encourage me in it or equip me for its success?
Your loving Father has a specific agenda for your career, ministry, finances, and family—a good and satisfying plan that graciously involves you in the vast purposes of His kingdom. And these plans—God’s plans—will be more satisfying and fulfilling than any self-styled blueprints you could dream up and try to build on.
Committing ourselves to God’s predetermined, sovereignly orchestrated plans and allowing them to govern our lives gives us a framework through which to understand His leading. Without confident trust in this biblical truth, we will lack the means to clearly hear God’s voice speaking to us. Instead we will mistake our flesh’s desire for ease, convenience, or pleasure as the voice of God. Our flesh, if not the enemy himself, will be quick to suggest that God’s way is “too difficult for you.”
Being yielded is always a vulnerable spiritual posture, requiring a willingness to abandon your own ambitions if necessary. But it’s an important commitment to make. So in regard to a situation you’re currently facing, prayerfully consider where you stand: Convenience and comfort? Or commitment and obedience?
Check out this video from Priscilla talking about why she wanted to revise Discerning the Voice of God.