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Dec
18

I Am Uncertain

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As proverbial “jars of clay,” each of us have one or more issues that can serve as limitations to the great things God wants to accomplish through our fragile lives. For some of us, uncertainty regarding God’s will can be one of the greatest limitations of all.

Take, for example, the story of Gideon, found in Judges chapters 6-8. The story begins with God’s calling to his life, to which he responds with a detailed litany of how he is the least of the least of the least. As God patiently pursued Gideon, he then requested a sign involving a fleece. I find it fascinating that God actually indulged Gideon’s request not once, but twice.

Gideon’s story serves me personally in two ways. First, God is uniquely inclined toward weakness. To Gideon, it made no sense that the “call” would come him, given his lack of pedigree. To God, however, he was the perfect choice.

The second helpful feature of this passage is that God is acutely aware of our struggle between faith and doubt. Belief often is mixed with levels of uncertainty as evidenced in the experiences of others in the Bible as well as our own. We, like Gideon, feel the need for “fleeces” or signs to help us navigate the direction God provides.

We need to be cautious about taking Gideon’s example as anything more than a description of what happened. Just because he asked for a sign and God in his grace granted the request does not make this practice normative or prescriptive. So how do we find certainty as we attempt to discern God’s will?

For years, I’ve pointed to four ways we can discern God’s will, in this particular order.

1. Is it consistent with Scripture?
You may always rest assured that God will never ask you to contradict the Bible.

2. Do I have confirmation from the Holy Spirit through prayer?
Like Elijah, we can find confirmation from the “still, small voice” of the Spirit. This voice will provide a sense of peace in the midst of confusion.

3. Have I consulted the counsel of the community of faith?
In other words, what input can I gain from the wisdom of others who are of similar spiritual conviction?

4. Do I see God at work in my surrounding circumstances?
Can I make connections between God’s call and the activity I perceive God to be doing in other areas of my life?

Those four things, independently, may not provide the confirmation we seek. However, if you stack them all together you’ll find that you are better equipped to proceed with the direction you perceive.

So what if I do all of these things and I’m still uncertain? A long time ago a wise person once answered that same question for me in this fashion. He said, “If you’re not sure of what God wants you to do, do the last thing he told you to do until you are sure.”

Amen.

Categories : Jars of Clay

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