"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."
One of the lessons I am learning now, is how to hear God's voice above the chaos. This has been an ongoing process for me but He has really been working in me over the past couple of weeks to teach me this lesson specifically.
This lesson is one that I have been struggling with for quite some time and have shared struggle on numerous occasions. I have a habit of allowing people to lead me to doubt what I truly feel God has placed on my heart.
There hasn't been a magical moment where suddenly I recognize His voice over all others. Instead, I can test my thoughts to see if they are true.
My purpose in life is to pursue Christ. I am to imitate Him in all ways. When dealing with situations, I need to line my thoughts and actions up with what He would have done in my place. If anything I do or say is un-Christ like, then I can be more than confident that it did NOT come from God.
James 3:14-17 tells me what I need to do in order to imitate Christ.
"But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."
This passage makes it clear to me that Godly wisdom cannot spring forth from bitter envy or selfish ambition. If I am feeling led to do anything for my own gain, it is NOT from God.
- I must ask myself these questions:
- Is my thought pure? If it is not, it did not come from God.
- It is bringing forth peace and love? If an idea has truly come from God, it will bring about reconciliation and not conflict.
- It is considerate? Nothing that would harm someone else in order to benefit myself is from God.
- Is it submissive? If is something I am willing to bring before other people? Something where I am asking for input. If not and I am trying to "hide" something, it did not come from God.
- Does it show mercy? Godliness is that of grace and forgiveness. It is not critical and judgmental.
- Is it sincere? An idea from God will NOT be used to manipulate other people to get our own way.
If what I feel God is showing me or leading me to do does not match up with that list of questions, then I can be confident that it is coming from some place dark.
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose."
When Christ lives in us, His love and power works through us. Our life looks different that of the "world" around us. What do your actions say about your walk with God?