Prayer: God Guides You to Be More Like Christ
“The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17 NIV)
If you want to recognize God’s voice and figure out whether you have an impression from him or not, first you need to ask if the idea agrees with the Bible.
Then, you need to ask, “If I follow through on this impression, will it make me more like Christ?”
Philippians 2:5 says, “In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus” (NCV). God’s goal is to make us more like Christ, so he would not give us an impression that would lead us in a direction opposite that goal.
James 3:17 is a great checklist for helping you to see if something is an impression from God when it comes to the character qualities of Jesus Christ: “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (NIV).
If your idea or impression is impure, then it’s obviously not from God. This may sound pretty simple, but you wouldn’t believe how many people I meet who are trying to convince themselves that an impure impression is somehow from God.
Is the impression peace loving? God’s going to give impressions that promote harmony and not conflict.
Is it considerate? When God gives you an impression, he is concerned about the impact that impression is going to have on somebody else. He’s not going to give you impressions that mess up other people’s lives.
Is this impression submissive? That’s not a word that we use very much, but it simply means humble, teachable, and not arrogant. If you’ve really heard from God, then you’re not going to be afraid to test that idea by sharing it with others and getting their input.
Is it full of mercy? I’ve met a lot of people who think they have heard from God and yet they’re the most judgmental, condemning, and negative people. Those people haven’t heard from God. They’ve heard from their own prejudices and anger. If you really hear from God, it makes you full of mercy.
Is it impartial and sincere? An idea from God won’t make you manipulate and control others.
Checking an impression against these seven character qualities of Jesus Christ will help you know if your idea is from God and if it will make you more like Jesus.
Talk It Over
How do you show God that you want to be more like Jesus?
What is an idea or impression that you believe God has recently given you? Does it hold up to these seven qualities of Jesus?
How does your opinion of an idea change when you think about how it affects other people?
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