“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us…” Acts 15:28
(Yesterday, I was asked the question, “How do we let God write our prayer list?” What a great question. I thought that today I would try to, at least in part, answer that question.)
What a grand convergence it is when what seems good to the Holy Spirit is the same as what seems good to us. Most of the time it seems like it’s all a happy accident. But God doesn’t want harmony with him to be an accident. He wants us to plan to live in harmony with him. The question is, how do we harmonize our lives with God?
The first step is to want to know God. This usually starts in times of need when we realize that what we really need is God and reach out for him. And praise God, he doesn’t hold himself away from us. When it comes to connecting with God scripture assures us, “If you seek Him, He will be found by you.” 1 Chronicles 28:9.
The second step is learning to listen to God. Today, the best relationship we have with God is characterized by the apostle Paul as, “looking through a glass darkly.” 1 Corinthians 13:12. Because of this it takes time as we learn about God and his ways though Bible study, and listening to wise counsel from godly men and women. It takes patiently waiting until God is able to give you both the willingness to set aside your own best plans and the settled confidence that the way you are going is the way he is leading. And, once again, all of this takes time. But until we learn to consistently listen we have God’s assurance “that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.
Thirdly, we must be spiritually vigilant. The most persistent enemy of our ability to harmonize our lives with God is some form of our own discontent. This often comes disguised as worry and Jesus tells us, in Matthew 6:31, to not worry about anything. Other times our resolve and contentment will be tested by persecution or hardship and the apostle James exhorts us to “count it all joy….” James 1:2. As the character traits that strengthen spiritual endurance are developed in our lives we’ll find that we’re better at hearing God and better at uniting our lives with his.
Finally, we must obey God’s leading. If we don’t obey we face the danger of losing the ability to hear God speak to us. The wisest man who ever lived gives us this counsel and assurance, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5, 6.