Am I Waiting On God Or Is He Waiting On Me?

Almost all of us have heard someone who is believing for a breakthrough say “I’m just waiting on the Lord.” Almost all of us have also heard someone tell that same person, “God can’t direct a parked car.  You need to do something and God will bless it.”  

These apparently contradictory statements can often leave us in confusion when we are trying to determine God’s will for our life.  How do we know which principle to apply?  They key is understanding the balance of grace and faith.  Look at Ephesians 2:

 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

We are saved by grace through faith and not our good works.  The whole kingdom of God operates on this principle.  Colossians 2:6 verifies this as it says:

6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

We receive Jesus by grace through faith and we do the rest of the Christian life by grace through faith.  What are grace and faith you may ask?

Grace is God’s unmerited favor and provision for our every need.  Faith is simply our positive response or yes and amen toward grace.  

We are not saved by grace alone and we are not saved by faith alone. We are saved by mixing faith with God’s grace.  The same way this is true about salvation, this is true for the rest of the Christian life.  We simply need to hear what God is doing or wants to do in our lives  (that’s grace) and then we should respond by believing and taking the corresponding action (that’s faith.)   Sometimes that action is to do something and other times it is to wait.

Let’s make this practical.  Imagine you are believing to earn more money so you can get out of debt.  You could choose to remain in your current job and wait on God to promote you or you could begin to look for a higher paying job.  Both are viable options for breakthrough and each have worked for others in the past.  Which should you choose?  

6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

The key to answering this question is to find out what God is doing by grace in your life.  This isn’t a formula and comes through relationship where we hear what God is saying.  Usually when you don’t know what to do, it’s a sign you haven’t heard the voice of God about your situation.  According to Romans 10:17 when we hear God faith comes.  If you had faith about your situation, you would know what to do because God would have made His grace provision apparent.  

When this happens in my life, I don’t do anything except seek the Lord.  In some ways these are the worst of times because I don’t know what to do, but in other ways they are the best of times because God reveals new aspects of His word, character, and nature to me.  Below are a list of practical things I do when I don’t know whether to step out in faith or wait on God:

  1. Spend more time studying the word. As I spend time in the scripture,  I’m tuning my ear to His voice.  Often, the reason I can’t hear is my heart has hardened to His voice so an intense study of scripture will soften my heart.  Also, sometimes as I study, a verse of scripture will pop out at me and I’ll know what to do in my situation.
  2. Fast from eating food or anything else that is preoccupying my focus on God.  When I fast, I deny my flesh, which means I have to ask for the Holy Spirit’s help to sustain me.  This gets me much more sensitive to the Spirit of God.
  3. Pray in Spirit.  Romans 8:26-27 says 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  We all go through times we don’t know what to do, which is why God gave us the Holy Spirit.  One of His main jobs is to lead us and guide us into all truth.  When we pray in the spirit, we let Him pray through us and when He does He brings His will to pass in our lives.  When I pray in the spirit for an extended period of time, God makes the right choice become obvious.
  4. Seek godly counsel.  Proverbs 15:22 says Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established.  I list this point last because I think we need to seek God before we seek the advice of others.  With that said, God places wise people in our lives who are able to give us insight.  When I get godly counsel, I’m not just listening for the recommendation or strategy, I’m listening for God’s voice through the person who is advising me.  When God speaks, there is a presence on what the person is saying.  When they are speaking out of their own mind, the ideas might be good, but the person’s voice will lack presence so I know I’m just hearing the opinions of man. 

I hope this article helps you when you find yourself in difficult situations and you aren’t sure what to do. I know it’s possible some of you wished I offered a formula for how to know whether to wait on God or step out by faith. In some ways I wish I could offer a formula, however, I am glad I cannot because if I offered you a formula I would rob you of the opportunity to get to know God in a greater way. He has called us to His presence and not just a formula. He wants to reveal Himself so keep pursuing. If you would like to learn more, check out this message I taught at Grace Life Church.

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