The 6 Stages That Show You Are Following God’s Plan
"How do I know that I am following God’s path for me?"
I think every one of my clients has asked this question in their own way. Maybe every Christian has asked it. It certainly is a common question.
And, let’s be honest, it’s a good question to ask.
We want to make good choices if life. We want to do life well.
God wants that too. Though he may often be mysterious, he genuinely wants to communicate with us.
He wants us to seek his will. And he wants to make his will known!
In most cases, God communicates to us in ways we can understand. He enjoys dialoguing with us, and he wants to us to understand the way he speaks to us.
So, what does it look like to “hear” God speak to us about our lives? How do we know that we are on the right path, making the right choices?
The process goes like this: Inspiration, Affirmation, Confirmation, Formation, Generation, and Opposition.
Let’s look at the process in a little more depth:
1. Inspiration: God inspires you with a thought, idea or feeling. You get an insight or urge to do something. Often, we think these thoughts are our own and don’t realize they come from God. Sometimes we dismiss them outright as being ludicrous or impractical.
Example: One day, out of the blue, you get the thought you should move to Denver.
2. Affirmation: As you think about the possibilities of this Inspiration, someone or something gives you encouragement to keep considering it as possible. As you step into the idea, you get more reasons to hope that you are on the right path.
Example: You run your crazy idea to start a business by your best friend and surprisingly she tells you to go for it!
3. Confirmation: As you step forward, circumstances come together to help make a way. Life opens up possibilities and opportunities. You knock on the door and it opens a little. It’s like when God did the impossible and parted the Red Sea. Or when he parted the Jordan, but only after the Israelites stepped in.
Example: You decide to go back to school even though you can’t afford it. You put in an application, and lo-and-behold, out of nowhere you get a scholarship opportunity that makes it possible to go.
4. Formation: As you continue to walk the path that you are on, it becomes so natural to you you simply don’t question it anymore. This is what you do, birds fly, fish swim, and you do X and no longer question if it is the right thing to do. It is the will of God.
It’s been Inspired, Affirmed and Confirmed so often that it is now ingrained in you. You’ve been formed by obediently following this path. This has become second nature to you. Or more appropriately, this is your renewed nature in action.
Example: You volunteered to help in a ministry at your church. Despite your misgivings, you felt God lead you into it and you did it. Now you have been doing it for so long that it has become a part of your life, and it gives you life. Every time you go, you just know that this is right where you are supposed to be.
5. Generation: Your life with God blesses others. Your journey and the wisdom you got from walking this path now provides Inspiration, Affirmation, Confirmation and Formation for others. You generate new life in others as they seek to journey with God.
Example: You have been following God’s leading in your marriage for years. And now younger couples are coming around you asking for insight on how to do this life. You get to pass on what you have learned to a younger generation.
However, know that if you are following God, you will make an impact in this world and you WILL face Opposition.
There is also a sixth principle to be aware of:
6. Opposition: In this life, you will have trouble. There are forces at work that actively oppose the will of God.
As you step into following God’s leading, you will probably encounter some push back.
This could come at any point along the journey.
You may encounter it as early on as Inspiration. It may come to counteract Affirmation. It may create counterfeit experiences to tell you that the Confirmation you received isn’t legit. It may come to upend your formation and make you doubt your course. Or it may come to condemn your Generation and tell you you don’t really have anything of value to offer others.
Example: When I felt God’s call to go to Bible college, I told my mentor. He was a father-figure, and I trusted his opinion. Sadly, he dismissed it outright and told me I was arrogant to even consider college. He wanted me to abandon the idea of going to a Christian school. In fact, he said that I had too much baggage to go into the ministry or any other God-related vocation.
I valued that man’s opinion. But let me tell you flat out, he was wrong!
Something else was speaking through him—something negative, something that wanted to keep me playing small.
Opposition often comes from up close. Sometimes it comes from those we love.
If we are wise, what our enemy uses to hurt us can confirm that we are in fact on the right path.
The irony is that encountering Opposition is really a confirmation of our calling!
No Christian gets through life without encountering Opposition!
When it comes, try to remember that your battle is not with flesh and blood. The real fight is with dark forces and spiritual strongholds that stand opposed to the will of God.
Now, just because we run into obstacles or opposition, that doesn’t necessarily indicate that we are on the right path. But when it comes in combination with the other parts of this process, it is a good sign that you are headed in the right direction!
Seldom does anything worthwhile come easy.
But Jesus promised that the gates of Hell would not withstand the advance of his people.
It’s also helpful to talk to others, especially those who are walking in Generation, and sharing their experience with others.
If you like some help to sort out where God is leading you, let's schedule a consultation.
As we step forward, boldly pursuing God’s direction, we will bring bits of Heaven to Earth. Trouble will come, but so will blessings. Victories will come as well!
We will see how God can transform our lives. We will take part in his transformation of the world!
So, as you look for God’s leading, use these steps to help you discern if you’re on the right path: Inspiration, Affirmation, Confirmation, Formation, Generation, and Opposition.