"Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground."
- Psalm 143:10 NIV
Last year, my husband and I joined a small Bible study group affiliated with our church. We were hesitant at first because our schedules were already crowded, but we felt led by the Lord to commit ourselves to this group, and we trusted God to make a way for us to attend. Even with all the challenges involved, the entire experience turned out to be a wonderful blessing to us. When the next group session began, my husband and I were even more hesitant than the first time to commit ourselves. The second session would coincide with tax season, which meant that Joe would be working a full-time job and running a small tax-preparation business besides. Even though we suspected we were making a mistake, we caved in to the pressure from the rest of the group, and we committed ourselves once again. This time, I actually dreaded attending those meetings. My heart just wasn't in it like the first time. Not only was there no “life” in the meetings for me, but it aggravated me to see my husband wearing himself out trying to keep our commitment. After earnestly praying and seeking God, I called our group leader and tactfully, but firmly, told him that we would not be finishing out the second session of meetings. He was disappointed and tried to convince me to change my mind, but I held firm, and he finally relented. Though I felt a little guilty afterwards, I also felt a great sense of relief, and I knew I had done the right thing.
This experience confirmed to me once again that when I get involved with something that God never meant me to, it's usually a waste of time and energy. Maybe you've heard the saying, “Not every ‘good’ thing is a ‘God’ thing.” In other words, there's no guarantee that everything “good” that we get involved with is God's will for us. In fact, one of Satan's most effective ploys is to try to get us sidetracked doing “good” things, so that we won't be able to fulfill our God-given purpose. That's why it's so important for us to seek the Lord each day through prayer and Scripture reading, maintaining an attitude that says: “Lord, what is YOUR will for me, as far as this is concerned?” If we don't, we'll keep getting involved with things that God never meant us to, simply because someone talked us into them, or because we think we “should.” What usually happens then is that we end up hating our involvement, and we get little value or satisfaction out of it. Besides that, our efforts will most likely drain us, instead of lifting us up and edifying us. And because we don't have a “right heart” about the whole thing, we can't expect God to reward us for it, even though it may be benefiting others.
I made a big mistake in assuming that just because my group experience was so right for me the first time, it would be the same for me again. God doesn't want us being led by our past experiences, but by His Spirit. He also doesn't want us being led by other people. Just because God might have led the others in my group to join a second session, I shouldn't have assumed that this was His will for me too. Even if everyone else in my group experienced an abundance of blessings as a result of their involvement, that's no guarantee that the same would be true in my case. It's only when we are where God wants us to be that we experience the fullness of His blessings.
David prayed: “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” (Psalm 143:10 NIV) While we should always have an attitude that seeks to do good, our main focus should not be on doing good things, but on following God's will for us. Maintaining an attitude like this will take a lot of pressure off of us, and will enable us to walk in the freedom that God wants us to enjoy. The next time you're faced with an opportunity to do something good, don't just assume that it's God's will for you. Instead, pause long enough to ask for His wisdom and guidance in the matter, making certain that it's not just good--but God!
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to avoid getting involved with things that are not Your best for me. Show me how to seek You continually, and to be led by Your Spirit. Thank You, Lord, that as I follow You daily, my life will be fulfilling and fruitful!
- J. M. Farro