It’s a mysterious thing, this faith life. It doesn’t come with specific instructions, yet believers down through the ages have followed God with confidence and faith. Unlike Food Network’s step-by-step instructions for how to make lasagna, God’s direction is usually a little less straightforward.
The Bible does, however, provide classic examples of how God reveals his will to his followers. We can learn from the historic exchanges on the pages of Scripture and apply the principles to our own lives. Because of this, we can obey God with the same faith and confidence that guided the biblical heroes of the faith.
Moses’ historic “Burning Bush” experience of Exodus 3 and 4 is a great example of how God reveals his will to his people. And while most of us are unlikely to have a literal burning bush appear in front of us, if we take the pyrotechnic element out of the picture, we can still find much guidance from Moses’ encounter with God.
Here are seven signs of God’s direction, four today, and three in the next post:
1. God will get your attention in a significant way.
He used a burning bush to catch Moses’ eye, but he may get yours in an equally noteworthy but less flammable way. Maybe you attend a concert and the artist shares a story about sex trafficking. The statistics shock you, and you’ve thought of little else since. Maybe you read an article about how local schools are struggling to find readers for their at risk students, and you’re wondering if you’re supposed to volunteer. Or maybe you’ve noticed your pastor’s wife seems overwhelmed and discouraged, and you feel moved to help. Whatever method God uses, he will get your attention.
2. God will often repeat himself.
In Moses’ case, God repeated himself by calling Moses' name twice from the bush. Your call probably won’t be audible, but the sense that God is speaking to you will usually return again and again. I’ve heard it said that being convicted by the Holy Spirit is like being nibbled to death by a duck, and I agree—it’s relentless.
When my husband and I began to sense God was calling us to take a family mission trip, the idea just wouldn’t go away. Shortly after we began talking about it, we received a letter from missionary friends in Mexico describing how one of their supporting families had just spent a week ministering with them. The experience was so positive that they wanted to invite other families to come.
A final repeating nudge came when my husband shared what we were thinking with another family, and they said they’d had a similar sense that God was calling them to do a short-term mission trip. I’m thankful God repeated his call several times in several ways, or we might have missed the opportunity for a life-changing mission experience.
3. God will assure you of his presence.
When God called Moses to go to Egypt and announce himself as God’s appointed deliverer, Moses balked.
“Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" he asked.
“I will certainly be with you,” God said.
It's been my experience that when God calls us, he also reassures us that he will go with us. This confirmation can come in different ways. You might read a verse of Scripture that speaks perfectly into our situation. Or hear a word of promise in a Christian song, or read a Bible verse on a billboard or a bumper sticker. Your pastor may preach a message that has nothing to do with what you’re sensing, yet one of the verses will shine like a spotlight in your heart. However he chooses to do it, God will give you confidence that he will walk with you every step of the way as you obey his calling.
4. God will give you the first step.
As you seek God’s face and try to discern his will, God will reveal Step 1. For Moses, it was, “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt" (v. 10). God later laid out a series of steps for Moses to follow, but he seldom does this for us. I suspect if he did, we’d be too scared to take the first step. Instead, he usually shows us the first thing he wants us to do. Then, as we obey, he reveals the next one, and the next one, and the next one.
When I first sensed the Lord calling me to write professionally, I had no idea how to go about it. Then I received an email from a writer friend telling me about a new Christian writers group. I attended the inaugural meeting, which set into motion a series of steps that led to the publication of my first devotional book, Joy in the Journey. God didn’t show me every step that first day, but as I obeyed what he told me to do, he gave me direction for the next step.
These are four of the seven signs God is calling you. In my next post, I'll share three more signs. If you haven't yet subscribed to Hungry for God, now is a great time. I'd hate for you to miss a single post.