God Is That You?

"God Is That You?"

5 Questions you NEED to Ask

As Christians, we should never believe a lie that God does not speak to us! God has told us that He does speak and that if we are His sheep we can learn to know His voice (John 10:27-30). Still there are times when it is easy to doubt whether or not what we are hearing is legitimately God's voice.

If we want to be lead by God, it is of utmost importance to recognize how easy it is to walk in deception. We can be fully convinced that we are being lead by God, but in reality is was our emotions or even our spiritual blindness that was leading us (Proverbs 14:12). Now, more than ever we must learn how to cut through all the endless noisiness of distractions and the opinions of others, and we must train ourselves to be disciplined in hearing and knowing the voice of God.

When it comes to our life and calling, here are 5 questions that we need to ask ourselves in order to evaluate whether or not we are being lead by God or by something else.

1. Is Love my Highest Goal?

If we are children of God, scripture says that we will be lead by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14). The easiest way to know if we are being lead by God's spirit, is to evaluate the fruit God's spirit in our lives. In Galatians 5:22 twelve 'fruits' of God's Spirit are listed, and at the very top of the list we find ‘LOVE’.

 Love is the primary filter in which we can evaluate our thoughts, beliefs and actions.

Ask yourself “Am I living my life from a spirit of love (that believes the best-especially in people) or a spirit of fear (that causes me to doubt - especially people)?

Remember, 2 Timothy 1:7 says that a spirit of fear is NOT from God! If we are being lead by fear, or if we feel like you cannot do something ‘OR ELSE’ something bad will happen to us - wisdom would caution us to stop and ponder some deeper heart beliefs.

Ask - What am I really afraid of? 
Is something in the past clouding my vision for today? 
What does God want to teach me as I am identity these fears?

Being lead by fear can cause us to run ahead in reckless ways, it can also keep us out of God’s best for us. God does not want us to be controlled by a spirit of fear, and we must guard from operating in a spirit of fear because it often leads to our own controlling behaviours.

Parents can unwittingly begin to manipulate and control their children using ‘fear tactics’, but this style of parenting is rarely effective in the longterm and it is not representative of heart of God. God wants all of His children (young and old alike) to be motivated by love (1Corinthians 16:14).
Jesus longs for us to shepherd the heart and inner motivations of our children so that when they grow up they can make their own good and godly decisions.  If our children are simply driven to obey us out of an obligation to the ‘house rules’, as soon as they have the independence to move out from under the ‘roof of fear’, they’ll run far and fast in their own direction. It is far wiser to train our children’s inner world.  It is our responsibility to lead our children to Jesus when they have a disappointment or heartache. It is our privilege to lead (by example) with our own longing and commitment to purity of heart. When our children grow in their personal desire to honour God, they will be motivated by love and not fear. God longs that we know and come to Him as a friend and a Father and ever present helper in our time of need.

There are also methods of evangelism that are built on fear as a driving motivation to come close to God… but I wonder how often genuine INWARD transformation happens when fear is in the driver seat. A spirit of fear (and condemnation) will keep us bound and feeling like we need to hide from God, but a spirit of love will draw us closer to God, knowing that He is the answer to whatever mess we’ve made! THIS is how God has revealed Himself to the world (John 3:16).

Jesus says that He no longer calls us servants - but friends! God cares so much more about WHO we are than about what we do! Before empty and loveless obligation, JESUS WANTS OUR HEARTS… “We LOVE Him because He first loved us” - (1John 4:19-21).

It is a slave who lives  their life with a paradigm of fear, it is a friend lives through the paradigm of love. It is the kindness and love of God that brings us to repentance (Romans 2:4), we can never forget that!

*Evaluate, is love my HIGHEST goal? (1Corinthians14:1)
Read 1Corinthians13:4-8 for greater clarity on what is practically looks like to walk in 'a spirit of love. 

2 - Do I Have Peace?

Referring back to the list of the fruit of the Spirit, we find ‘Peace’ listed in third place -just behind love and joy. I want to highlight peace because I find it to be one of the most HELPFUL indicators of how you are really doing when you can't figure that out on your own. We can be lead so easily by our emotions. We all have ups and downs, good days and hard days - but through God’s spirit we are given the fruit (or indicator) of peace.

It is helpful to note that peace has the ability to reign over all of our emotions..

We can feel happy in a moment.. but still lack peace
We can feel confident in a moment… but flip-flop into insecurity (that ‘unrest’ is actually a lack of peace).
Alternatively, we can feel grief, sorrow and pain - and YET have a profound sense of peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7)! There are times when God is actually requiring us to walk through a challenging season, where He holds us and keeps us in His ‘perfect peace’ (Isaiah 26:3).

Chasing after a ‘happy’ feeling, or something that feels rewarding or satisfying.. does not mean it’s God. This is why if you are making a BIG decision, it is wise to ‘wait on the Lord’ for a period of time. We may build up a sense of peace that comes from reassuring ourselves again and again… but if you find yourself having to validate your decision, or having to convince yourself or others, “this must be God because…(fill in the blank)”… you’re not in a place of peace but inner wrestle (This may be a red flag that you need some further counsel or insight from an outside person).

A VERY important thing to remember is that IF another person tells you “I am certain that God told me this” and is pressuring you to make a big decision that will affect your life’s responsibilities, do not move ahead unless God has reassured you with His peace. If any decision violates your conscience - LISTEN to that unrest, listen and obey - don’t ignore that alarm bell! Often times this is how the Holy Spirit seeks to guard us from what is on the other end of that decision. (1Kings 13:8)

3. Are my Motivations Pure...

                                (like really though)?

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 2:3-4

Motivation and Attitude MATTER to God!

Jesus is our example! He made Himself low, taking on the role of a servant - forsaking His throne to extend His royal identity to multitudes (Philippians 2:7-11).  Jesus did not demand special treatment or fanfare, but he did demand that the Pharisee’s quit with theirs!

Ask - Am I primarily motivated to genuinely celebrate and champion the gift of God on the lives of those around me? Do I want (or worse, NEED) to be the star of every story told and every room that I walk into? These are clarifying questions to take stock of the state of our inside world.

One of the things I respect so much about John the Baptist is that He was a loyal ‘best man’ to Jesus. John never forgot whose wedding he was preparing for. It wasn’t John’s ministry that made him faithful (PLEASE catch this) It was John’s loyalty to obey what God assigned specifically for Him to do! It was the SURRENDERING of His ministry that made Him faithful and loyal to the heart of God. Faithfulness isn’t just ‘trudging on through’ - faithfulness is marked by OBEDIENCE FIRST!

John never forgot that his responsibility was simply to prepare the way for Jesus. At the peak of John’s ministry he didn’t seek to hold onto ‘his’ disciples, rather he TURNED them toward Jesus. We must learn from this attitude that Jesus publicly acknowledged and celebrated! An attitude that proclaims; “He must increase and I must decrease” - John 3:30

Ask - Am I  being lead by a desire to increase myself? 
 Is greater influence of what I've built, or God's Kingdom in the centre of my vision?
Do I see a pattern of people flourishing and living up to their FULL God designated potential around me, or do those closest to me often feel used-up, abused, and discarded by my behaviour?
Do I find myself jealous of the gift on the lives of others?
In insecurity, do I withhold blessing from those who have hurt me, or do I lift and bless those who have cursed me?

What a shame it would be for me to raise my children into men (I have 3 boys) of  ‘vision, strength and capacity’, and then refuse to allow them to ‘set sail’ when they were ready to leave my house.

It is my responsibility as a faithful mother entrusted with the stewardship of my sons, to see that I open the door for them as the spirit calls them to ‘move out and possess the land that the Lord has called them to!  How tormenting for them to be seeded with dreams and visions and the capacity for greatness - only to remain imprisoned and enslaved to the land that the Lord gave to me.

A foundational piece to faithfulness is surrendering everything and everyone that I have built - to the King and the Kingdom’s purpose! When I read about the parable of the talents, it is very clear that the wicked servant was the one who held on (motivated by self and fear) and refused to invest what God had given him because he was fearful it could be taken from him.

It is also important to know, whether in family, business or ministry - we do not OWN people's lives and neither does anyone else OWN our lives. We belong to Christ and Christ ALONE - any thing else is a twisted understanding of God-given boundaries and is actually the very definition of emotional abuse.

What a wicked mother I would be to only allow my sons to marry whom I allow, and only allow them to live on the property that I declare they are designated to! How abusive and narcissistic of me to assume that God give me this authority over their lives! The Bible says the very opposite! God teaches us that ‘leaving and cleaving’ are important principals as children walk into their adulthood.. it is both a healthy and a necessary step for our children AND for the parents as well! It is what accomplishes God’s greater command for all of His children to ‘possess the land, be fruitful and multiply!’

*Selfish ambition will cause us to hold onto what God has required us to release.

Ask God - has my fruitfulness stagnated because I have too much of me in my vision?

Whenever I see the Lord’s favour rest upon a person, a business or ministry - I see their vision is to   serve other people. God will bless us as we bless others - and genuinely seek to be a lifter and a ‘way maker’ for God’s purposes to be accomplished! When our vision is to serve ourselves, we get stuck and everything becomes quite toxic! Healthy people will begin to move out of toxic places, that is a natural sign of an emotionally healthy response. We should not get offended when people refuse to tolerate our greed and selfishness, instead - we should humble ourselves, grow and move forward!
REMEMBER - people are the greatest treasure to God! We will be measured by how we treated people, not by how big the house , business or ministry we built is!

If we have not even considered how our choices will affect others, we're likely being more lead by our flesh than by God’s spirit. Jesus will give us a lens of love that sees how our decision will affect the people around us, don’t lose sight of that filter! Selfish ambition and a vision of our self will make us spiritually blind and ineffective as representatives of God’s heart (Matthew 15:14).

4 - Is a Spirit of Religion Clouding my Vision?

A really helpful filter to evaluate if you are sitting under the ‘yoke’ of religion is that - you will be lead and controlled by guilt, shame, duty and obligation - RATHER than the LIFE giving and affirming spirit of God!

Our God DOES NOT need to abuse us to use us - and neither does He want to! He came to bring LIFE and LIFE ABUNDANT (John 10:10)! THIS is a sign of His spirit at work, people are FILLED with GENUINE JOY and all of the fruit of the spirit.

Jesus teaches us to guard against and to judge religious teachers by their ‘fruit’. This is further clarified that we are not to judge them by their external successes or accomplishments, but ‘by the way they act’ -Matt 7:16.

The Amplified says it this way; “By their fruit you will recognize them [that is, by their contrived doctrine and self-focus].”

A contrived doctrine is one that is invented and often feels too heavy to bear (See Matthew 23:4). It is not a yoke of Jesus, but a crushing weight that feels unrealistic and can even become abusive. It is externally judged by outward performance rather than inward character and love. Remember, Jesus’s yoke is ‘easy and light’.. that does not mean it won’t require a death to self (because it absolutely will), but you can be sure that it won’t require a death to your spirit and your unique personality! God did not knit you together in your mother’s womb as an individual - only to see you become a cookie cutter, plastic or robotic person! Break free of that yoke - that yoke comes to steal and kill the LIFE that Christ has for you!

Ask- Is my inside world as healthy as I want others to believe it is?
Do I consider my external religious performance more highly than having empathy for others?

Do people who are lost and dead in patterns of sin disgust me?
Does brokenness in this world bring me to my knees in prayer, or to my pedestal in judgement?

If church performance and tithing are the primary markers of Christian success, while more foundational requirements of forgiveness, mercy, and caring for the poor seem like a ‘weakness’..  we may have been blinded by the leaven of the Pharisee (Matthew 16:6)- but confession and repentance always restores right vision. We all get dirt in our eye from time to time, deception is dirty. Just because our vision has been wrong, it does not mean our heart is wrong. That is why we must not harden our hearts when we hear God speaking to us (Hebrews 3:8)

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the lawjustice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.” Matthew 23:23

5 - Am I choosing what is GOOD

              before choosing what is GOD?

Distractions, Distractions, Distractions!

When I look at godly faith filled and faithful people who feel like they are not quite in the ‘perfect’ will of God, I often observe that they are doing what is GOOD… but haven’t been fully attentive to what is GOD!

The difference between spending our lives on what is ‘good’ and what is ‘God’, is our willingness to unapologetically OBEY what God has called and required of us, individually!

We can get so caught up in doing doing doing, that we actually have neglected the ‘more important’ place of kneeling at the feet of Jesus to catch His heart and assignment before we get up and ‘go’ (Luke 10:38-42).

If we are not careful, we can fall into the very dangerous trap of doing things FOR God and doing things 'in the Name of God', without even having His authorization to do so!

Satan is a liar, a cheat and a thief! He prowls around LOOKING for someONE to devour. He exists to steal, kill and rob from the children of God! If He can't rob from you in this temporary life, you had better believe he's coming after your Heavenly reward!

The demonic is crafty! The enemy of our soul never shows up on our doorstep as a demon with horns and a pitchfork, he comes as the appearance of something good;

“Such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” - 2 Corinthians 11:13-14

Meditate on this sharp warning:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’ - Matthew 7: 15-20

Only those who do what the Father asks of them will enter into the Kingdom…. Stop and meditate on that!

Doing the will of the Father here is directly connected to knowing Him deeply! The closer that we walk with Jesus, the deeper our friendship is.. the more clarity we will have in walking out what HE has required of US to accomplish!

This is where we need to GUARD with ALL DILIGENCE our secret place! If we are so dizzy 'doing church' and serving the poor and helping all the people all the time, and we are never faithful to retreat to go get our orders from the Father first… we are in disobedience and we are trading in what is actually of our glorious God for only what is good (Luke 5:16, John 5:19).

Jesus ONLY did what He heard His Father asked Him to do! There was a MULTITUDE that He could have done, but that He walked right past, so that He could attend to HIS assignment! Imagine what would have happened had He decided to forgo His assignment… (*Selah*)

Remember Judas’ disgust when Jesus allowed the woman to anoint His feet? Judas declared - “What a waste! That perfume could have been sold and the money could have gone to the poor.” (Matthew 26:9). Judas wasn’t wrong.. and that would have been a ‘good external behaviour of religion’… BUT scripture says Judas didn’t really care for the poor at all - He was so blinded by religion that He had NO vision to attend to the SUPERNATURAL reality that the Son of God was SITTING BEFORE HIM!

Jesus isn’t talking about God’s overarching will in Matthew chapter 7, because undoubtedly we all know that prophesying, casting out demons and performing miracles ARE all part of God’s will!

What He is talking about is being obedient to what He has specifically asked and required of US to specifically accomplish! Do not be deceived - we WILL answer to God IF we choose to submit to another person’s plan for your life before submitting to God!

We don’t live for the approval of people, we don’t give our lives to the obedience of people over God - that is nothing less than idolatry! We MUST NEVER bow to a person, no matter how great they believe their vision to be! This has been a lesson that I have had to learn even as a wife! Biblical submission does not ever require me to ‘obey’ my husband before obeying God's command. 

We must be alive, fully attentive to the heart of the Father, so that we won't waste our whole lives building a kingdom that was built on a faulty foundation. Those who build empires unto themselves will see their empires eventually come to ruin. All of that work will simply be BURNT up on Judgement day.

Remember 1 Corinthians chapter three when Paul is rebuking the church for arguing over which religious teacher was the correct one to follow? Paul stands up and basically says; “QUIT making your faith about a teacher or a person! The ONLY foundation to build your life upon is Jesus.” The passage goes onto say if we don’t build our lives on that foundation, surely - everything that we have spent our lives on will just burn up and any Heavenly reward we believe we are entitled to.. is lost!

What a shame!
Our shame is Satan's glory...
Do we really want to give glory to the devil?

There is ONE King, and ONE Kingdom! 
I declare it again - ONE KING, ONE KINGDOM! 

As a sister in the Lord I call upon all those who have ears to hear - GUARD the good deposit that the Holy Spirit has entrusted to you! DO NOT dedicate  your soul or your life's work to anyone but Christ Jesus!

Ask- when was the last time that I truly retreated to be with the Father?
Have I been FULLY attentive to the work that He has required of me?

Have I bowed to man before God? Have I traded something God required of me for something that I decided was good?

Again, repentance brings deliverance.. so let us all begin there.

 Whatever we are seeking to build, whether it is a godly household, business or a ministry… may God cause us to prosper in everything that we put our hands toward for His Name Sake!
Let our prayer be;
"His Kingdom Come, His WILL Be DONE -
 In us, Through us, and ALL Around us. 
In Jesus Name. - Amen!"