Do you act or retract from God’s impressions in your life?

Most of the time, people following Christ are not crazy when they say, “God told me to (fill in the blank).

College universities, hospitals, and thousands of worldwide charities began when someone responded to God’s impression in their life. 

No, He doesn’t speak audibly in a way that can be heard, but in an unmistakable call to action for people whose life is governed by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

What stops you from acting on God’s impressions? For me it is usually doubt and fear. I doubt the message is from God until it is affirmed through prayer, reading God’s Word, and reinforced by a trusted person in my life, which is often my wife. And I fear taking action since it typically involves stepping out of my comfort zone.

Be mindful that when we engage in activity that is in conflict with God’s Word, we will not receive directions to act because we are not yielding to the Holy Spirit. It is only when God governs our life that He will provide impressions that will glorify His kingdom.

Since doubt and fear typically cause me to stall out when God provides specific directions, I think most believers have a similar reaction. As a result, let’s do a quick study to see how God’s plans often look “scary.”

  • Noah was told to build an Ark when it had never rained and the term “boat” had no purpose.
  • A small statured shepherd boy named David was instructed to take on Goliath.
  • Elijah took on the prophets of Baal in a fire-making contest long before the challenge had been used on the TV show, “Survivor.”
  • The disciples of Jesus left their vocations to follow a guy who was crucified. Note: They abandoned the call until Christ rose from the grave. Consequently, they boldly became martyrs for the kingdom of God afterward.
  • Stephen preached the gospel until stoned to death by a group spurred on by a man named Saul.
  • Christian-killer-Saul surrendered his life to Christ when God gave him an unmistakable impression on the road to Damascus.
  • James, the half-brother of Jesus, thought he (Jesus) needed to be institutionalized prior to his death, burial, and resurrection. Yet afterward, James was one of many who sacrificed his life in pursuit of the gospel.

Now don’t check out on me. God isn’t going to call most of us to die for our faith. Nevertheless, he is asking us to do something perhaps more fearful; live for Him. He wants to take our God given talents and abilities and use them in furtherance of His kingdom. Do you want to be a kingdom builder or a spectator?

Rest assured, God will not ask you to do something that he has not equipped you to do. But His standard of success is not measured in human terms, but with an eternal barometer. 

So when you’re reading God’s Word and meditating on His truth in prayer, listen for the “still small voice” providing directions. He may simply ask you to “offer a cup o water” in Jesus’ name or dig a well in a third world country.

Will you act or retract?

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  • Pat

    Great article, Jim. One exception – God can and does audibly speak to certain folks. He did in Scripture and He still does so now. Feel free to ask my wife and get her story.

  • Jim McNeff

    Thanks Pat … I certainly agree that God spoke audibly to prophets in Scripture, but he did many things to authenticate his power and authority as a matter of course that differ from the way he governs humanity today. While I believe God is capable to perform such miracles, and I’m not questioning anyone’s experience, I’m speaking generally. BTW, I’d love to hear your wife’s story.

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