You'll recall from my previous post that asking God to reveal His will, then following His leading is the way to make sure of His blessing, just as the Israelites above were assured of manna and water for as long as they continued to follow the pillar of cloud. Still, absent a fiery pillar in the desert, understanding what He is saying can seem overwhelming. The "Discover" part requires us to examine the circumstances He has carefully arranged for us. Consider the Apostle Paul's circumstances:
"Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them." (Acts 16:6-10)
Paul and his companions were gifted evangelists who were commissioned and sent on a mission. When they reached the border of Mysia, they found they could not travel where they assumed they were to go, but instead followed God in another direction, where He greatly blessed their work.
Likewise, God provides us with gifts and talents with which to meet the needs and opportunities He’s placed before us. He makes resources available to us but also places constraints on our service to guide us to where and how He wants us to minister. Think of it like this:
Paying attention to where the circles intersect helps us understand how He is arranging the terms of our service. The dashed lines around the circles remind us that our understanding of our abilities and circumstances may be selling God short--like Moses or Gideon we need to exercise faith in what God can do beyond our apparent limits.
As a starting place toward better understanding the context of God’s direction for your ministry, conduct your own, personal inventory:
- What gifts & talents do you believe God has equipped you personally, or in the form of your ministry partners, if you have them? (Hint: These are generally areas in which God has given you a special passion and ability. If you're not sure, consider those listed in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 as a starting place. We'll talk more about gifts and talents in a later post.)
- What particular resources has God has supplied you with? (Consider time, money, relationships, material goods, home or access to facilities, health, mobility, family situation, etc.)
- What constraints has God placed on your capabilities and resources?
- What special needs and opportunities is God drawing your attention to?