Divine Direction: Trust The Process
We make our decisions. Our decisions make us. Who we are today is a result of the decisions that we’ve made in the past. The decisions we make today will determine the story that we’ll tell tomorrow. The challenge is to make good decisions, a challenge heightened by the fact that many people today are not great decision makers. In this week’s sermon in the Divine Direction series, we talk about trusting God’s process using Acts 20:22-24.
Something To Talk About:
We talked about four steps in God’s process. They are:
- Spirit’s Prompting: In the first place, we find that Paul was unmoved from the will of the Holy Spirit. In the opening portion of Acts 20:22, the apostle Paul began, “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem.” Day after day Paul yielded himself under the Spirit’s influence and guidance. Paul can’t fully explain it, but says that it is like he is being wrapped up and pulled to Jerusalem. Moments like this are moments when God plants something in your soul. You feel impressed by God to do something for him. God will often speak in the small things. When God speaks to you and prompts you in these ways, pay attention to Him. Trust those moments.
- Certain uncertainty: Verse 22 continues, “I don’t know what awaits me,” Basically, Paul does not know what will happen to him there. A lot of people stop after the prompting because they don’t know all the details and as a result there are too many unknowns. Uncertainty scares us. It can be discouraging considering that life is so uncertain. We want to feel assured. We want to have it figured out. We want to know what to expect. There is only one thing that is certain and it is God. God is the one who can be certain to us in the midst of uncertainty. God never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
- Predictable resistance: “I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.” (Acts 20:22-23) We have a spiritual enemy who does not want you to do what God wants you to do. There will always be resistance against the things that bring God glory. There will always be opposition. The enemy attacks where you are. Resistance is not necessarily a sign that you’re out of God’s will. Resistance is often a sign that you’re doing exactly what God called you to do. The enemy will try to get you sidetracked or to give up completely. Paul knew that there were hardships in every city. Romans 8:35 says, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?” Don’t let it stop you, let it motivate you.
- Uncommon Confidence: Following the crowd is easy to do. But that will only lead to a common, ordinary life that falls short of the potential God has in mind for you. If you dare to respond to your circumstances with uncommon confidence, uncommon faith, however, you’ll become a godly influence on all those around you. Having confidence in God is something most Christians struggle with. Even though we are aware of His great love for us, we find it hard to apply that knowledge during the trials of life. During those crisis times, doubt starts to creep in. We wonder whether God is listening. We start to panic when things don’t improve immediately. But if we ignore those feelings of uncertainty and go with what we know to be true, we can be more confident in God. We can be sure He is on our side, listening to our prayers. Listen to what Paul says in Acts 20: “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
- How sensitive are you to the Holy Spirit’s promptings? What things in your life can make you numb to such guidance?
- What are your first thoughts when you hear that the Holy Spirit prompts believers? What are some examples of times you have been led by the Holy Spirit as Galatians 5:18 indicates?
- Read Acts 20:22. What was Paul uncertain about? Did this change his decision? What can you learn from Paul?
- Do you expect resistance? How do you handle resistance in your walk with God?
- What does uncommon confidence mean to you? How do you achieve it?
- What can you do differently this week to be more receptive to God’s voice in your life?
Take one Thing Home With You:
Acts 20: 22-24 is a clear indication that Paul loved God more than he did the things of this life such as his well-being, security, reputation, and especially his life itself. He was going to Jerusalem even though he knew “that jail and suffering lie ahead.” How could he follow the Lord in spite of the fact that the Lord ordained a number of trials and hardships during his life on earth? The answer was Paul loved the Lord more than his life. To him, Jesus Christ was all he he needed and all he wanted.
My prayer this week is this: God, let me love and serve Jesus Christ just like Paul loved and served Him.