Partnering with God
God doesn’t need you to tell your friends about Jesus. He doesn’t need you to help an orphanage in Pakistan. He doesn’t even need your prayers to help persecuted Christians in India, or your aid for the sick and starving people elsewhere. God can do it without your help. He is Almighty God after all. So, take a deep breath . . . God doesn’t need you . . . the pressure is off. It’s not all up to you!
If he chose to, God could just appear to everyone like he did to Paul on the road to Damascus, when Jesus spoke to Paul in the blinding, bright light (Acts chapter 9). However, even in Paul’s story, God chose to use certain people to help Paul. God spoke to Ananias and told him to find Paul; and through Ananias’ ministry, Paul miraculously regained his sight. Barnabas introduced Paul to the apostles, and he used Paul in ministry when no one else would. Paul himself always ministered with the help of co-workers such as Timothy, Silas, Phoebe, Priscilla and Aquila.
God chooses to use people in his work. He chooses us to partner with him in his plans and his purposes. It is highly likely that God actually does want you to tell your friends about Jesus and help a Christian orphanage in Pakistan, but in every work of God, God does MOST of the work. It is a privilege to be a part and a partner of God’s work—to join in with what God is already doing. It is exciting to know that God is leading and empowering us for his work.
Listening to God
To know what God wants us to do and be obedient to it, we need to be attuned to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Learning to listen to the Holy Spirit should be a part of our everyday walk with God. The best way, and possibly the most important way to develop our spiritual “hearing,” is to read the Bible. God still speaks to us mostly through Scripture, and by reading it we can learn to discern his voice when he speaks to us in other ways too.
Another way to become attuned to the Holy Spirit is to develop your prayer life. I never think to myself anymore. I always think to God. By that I mean that most mornings (and at other times during the day) I think about things—all sorts of things to do with family, church, work, my personal growth, ministry strategies, etc—and I run all these thoughts past God. Sometimes during these times, I will get a thought or idea that I know has come from God. At other times, I feel God changing and finetuning my thoughts and ideas to make them compatible with his will.
I believe that another way to become attuned to the leading of the Holy Spirit is to become less busy and de-clutter our minds. When I was a young mum, God would sometimes speak to me as I hung clothes on the line. Hanging clothes on the line doesn’t require a lot of brainpower, so God’s thoughts were able to get through to my thoughts. I have had a few clear and significant instructions from God when I was doing quite mindless things, not even particularly spiritual things, because my mind was clear and uncluttered.
But let me re-emphasise, reading the Bible is still the way God speaks to us the most. And prayer is essential. God uses our prayers to achieve his purposes.
Do you want to be a partner in God’s work? Be ready, be available, become equipped with special skills, be obedient. And open your eyes to needs; some are obvious, but others are not. If you are ready and available, equipped and obedient, God will position you in the right place at the right time and he will do the rest, enabling you to do or say the right thing. Even if you don’t feel ready or equipped, God will still use you if you make yourself available.