You Might Have a Next Step If…
Church seems like the best place to find out where God wants you to be or what God wants you to do, but sometimes you can leave more confused than when you came.
Is everything a next step? Is a friend’s advice a sign from God?
God definitely speaks through the people He has placed in our lives; however, I think oftentimes we know our next step and don’t realize it. Not every next step requires us to sign up for a class. A next step can be any action that brings us closer to Jesus and gives Him more and more glory.
5 Ways To Identify Your Next Step
1. You can’t get an idea out of your mind.
So many ideas float in and out of our brains that it is hard to keep track. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit as our guide, but too often we forget about him.
When you can’t shake an idea, you don’t know where it comes from, and it aligns with Jesus’ teaching, that’s a good sign that idea is from the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, the Holy Spirit “does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Ever felt whisper in your heart that said, “Go talk to that person” or “Encourage that overwhelmed mom in the grocery store.” That’s the Holy Spirit and being obedient to that nudge is your next step.
2. You’re ignoring a problem.
It’s easy for me to identify problems in other people and extremely difficult for me to admit them about myself. If I have noticed something about what I pay attention to, or my habits or friends, that doesn’t bring glory to Jesus, then I’m ignoring a fairly obvious next step: make a change.
Spending more time with a girl or guy than I am with Jesus? It’s time to make a change. Is an addiction pulling me away from Jesus? It’s time to make a change.
We have been given power over our circumstances through Jesus’ victory on the cross. Hebrews 2:8 emphasizes this saying: “In putting everything under [His children], God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.”
3. Opportunity arises.
Sometimes, I shy away from making decisions that might change where I am in life because I’m worried I have selfish motives. Can we agree that sometimes we just overthink things?
Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” Casting lots was once a popular way to make difficult decisions. It was basically a game of chance, like an early version of rock, paper, scissors.
With this verse, Jesus is saying, “None of your decisions surprise Me!” The Lord will ultimately be glorified in every decision we make. He will work my good choices and my mistakes together for His glory and my good.
The Lord guides us continually and His plan is inevitable (Isaiah 58:11). If you have an opportunity to talk to someone about Jesus, talk to them! If you have an opportunity to go on a mission trip, go for it!
4. Doors shut.
Disappointment is one of the cruelest emotions. It makes excitement and passion about a possibility less enjoyable. When it seems we have multiple possibilities, sometimes God takes away our options until we are left with just one — which may not have been our favorite option in the beginning.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” God’s plan is often not our plan, but it’s always the best plan.
5. You’re not finished.
1 Corinthians 14:33 says “God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” Maybe you feel stuck in a job you hate or in a degree program that seems never-ending. You’ve tried every way you can to get out of it, but you’re still there.
Sometimes our next step isn’t to leave but to finish well. Living in the meantime can be exhausting, but you’re not alone in your battle.
In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat and the Israelite army were facing insurmountable odds. The Lord used a man named Jahaziel to remind the Israelites: “The battle is not yours but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15).
Like the Israelites, we need to know what our jobs are and what God’s job is. My job is obedience; God’s job is everything else.
God will direct us to our next step, whether it’s battling a problem, seeking an opportunity, or dealing with disappointment and exhaustion. Our job is simply to say yes.
By Courtney Couch
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