If you’ve walked with the Lord for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve asked God this question:
God, why do you want me to do that? That doesn’t make sense.
There are times we all have difficult decisions to make and the word of God or the inward witness of the Holy Spirit contradict what seems logical. These situations are very difficult because our natural tendency is to make decisions based on logic, commons sense, or what seems obvious.
I don’t believe it’s wrong to use logic, common sense, and reasoning. God gave us for a brain for a reason and He wants us to use it. He just doesn’t want us to entirely lean on what our brain knows in order to make decisions. Look at Proverbs 3:5-6:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
These verses tell us to not lean on our own understanding. What we lean on has to be able to support us. While God gave us the ability to reason and understand, that ability is not able to entirely support us when we make decisions. It can certainly help, we just can’t lean on it. Why? Because our natural understanding is limited. We only know what we know and sometimes our brains don’t have all the information necessary to make decisions.
This is why Proverbs 3:5 says to trust in the Lord with all our heart. Our heart, our inward man so to speak, is where the Holy Spirit resides – see Proverbs 20:27. Our spirit is joined to the Holy Spirit and has the mind of Christ – see 1 Corinthians 2:16. The Holy Spirit in us has information our natural mind doesn’t have. This is why it is important to listen to our heart.
While some people call listening to their heart a hunch, an intuition, or trusting their gut, it is actually a legitimate way of being led by God. We do need to understand the basic parameter that God will never tell us to do something that violates His word, so if we ever have a hunch or impression that violates scripture we know that isn’t of Him. There are many times, however, that God will give us an intuition about something that doesn’t violate the word of God and when that happens we need to pay attention to that leading.
An example in my own life happened in May of 2018. Our church was a year and a half old and meeting in a middle school in Kernersville, North Carolina which is a suburb that sits 15 minutes from Greensboro. I had enjoyed meeting in the middle school for the first year and a half we did church and planned to continue in the school for the foreseeable future. After a pretty rough first year we were starting to grow and things were beginning to run quite a bit smoother.
Then out of nowhere, I started desiring a building. I had impressions in my heart of having our own building so we could hold services during evenings in the week and not just be limited to the weekend. As I sought the Lord with all of my heart and studied the word, prayed, and worshipped, those impressions got stronger. After a few months of prayer, I believe I had heard God and He wanted us to have a building. On paper we didn’t have the money for it at the time, but I believed that was His will so I knew He’d provide.
Over a 2 month time period during July and August of 2018, three different people contacted me about the same church building that was coming available. It was affordable, in a high trafficked area, and had 2 renters that we would inherit if we purchased the property. Our entire leadership team checked out the building with me and loved it. You would have thought I would have been ecstatic, right?
I was almost ecstatic, but I had a problem. The building was in Greensboro and was about 18 minutes away from the school where we were meeting in Kernersville. I was concerned we would lose a large chunk of our congregation that lived in the Kernersville/Winston-Salem part of North Carolina because their drive time to church would increase pretty significantly.
I thought, “Lord, I could lose 40 percent of our church if we move. How will we pay the bills? Lord, I don’t want to start over and have to retrain volunteers who quit because we move. This whole planting a church thing has been exhausting……Do you really want us to move? God, this doesn’t make sense.”
The more I prayed, however, the more I knew that the move was God. How did I know? I just knew. Faith comes by hearing and when you’ve heard God you have faith and you just know. So I trusted what I knew I had heard in my heart and didn’t lean on my understanding which said it was a really bad idea to move.
In December of 2018 we announced to our church congregation that we were moving. Much to my amazement, the vast majority of people were supportive; even those whose commute would be lengthened 15-20 minutes to go to church. We did lose a few, but only about 10 out of 100 regulars which was a relatively small percentage. Over the next seven months God brought in all of the money we needed for a down payment on the building and the $140,000 cash to remodel it!
After the building was completed and we begin having services in Greensboro it was really exciting. Our church began to grow, but I still had a question….God, why did you move us from a school in Kernersville to a building Greensboro? It doesn’t make sense…..
Then March of 2020 happened. When COVID-19 hit and quarantining went into place, schools shut down and are still shut down. Almost every church in our area that met in a school no longer has a place to meet. We would have no longer had a place to meet if we wouldn’t have moved.
Many portable churches have been negatively impacted nationwide. Some have had to shut down because they don’t have a place to meet and won’t for the foreseeable future. Others are in a world of chaos trying to figure out a new place to meet and/or how to livestream services from a private residence and still look legit in the process.
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct your paths.
In 2018, COVID-19 hadn’t entered into my mind, but it had already entered into God’s. He prepared a building for our church to continue to meet before COVID-19 hit. It’s scary to think what would have happened if we wouldn’t have moved. We wouldn’t have anywhere to meet right now and we probably wouldn’t exist as a church today.
It’s important to listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit when He speaks, even when He doesn’t make sense. God doesn’t always make sense to the natural mind. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He has invited us to come up to His level of doing life, which is why we must leave natural reasoning and be led by spiritual reasoning.
A major key to this is listening to our heart. He put the Holy Spirit inside of our heart and He wants us to commune with Him. As we commune with the Holy Spirit in us, He will lead us into things our natural mind doesn’t understand. That’s ok. It’s part of the process. When we get impressions and inward intuitions to do things that don’t make sense, it’s important to pay attention. It could be God leading us into safety or victory.
The big idea I want to get across in this article is when we know we’ve heard God, we need to trust His voice and don’t lean on our intellect and reasoning. He doesn’t require that we understand, but He does need us to believe in order for Him to lead us. We will be blessed for doing so and when we obey He will establish our paths.
There is so much more, I’d like to say, but I can’t in a short blog so I wanted to make this link available to a series I did called “Hearing God.” It is 18 teachings about how to hear the voice of God that will provide a lot of depth, nuance, and balance so you can discern God’s voice.