I always assumed the people – most obviously – following God, were the ones overflowing with compassion like Mother Teresa. Who were likely teaching a Sunday school class (or three) and could correctly recite at least ⅓ of the Bible from memory — and in the King James Version, of course.
But following God isn’t always as simple as memorizing Bible verses and letting the cute old man cut you in line at the grocery store. (It hasn’t been for me at least…)
Doing what God wants, and living out the purpose He has us on this Earth to fulfill, is a lot like the newborn stage of having a child.
It’s chaotic. It’s messy. And at times, it’s emotionally and physically taxing.
…But it’s textbook.
Like having a newborn, the very things that make us want to simultaneously pull our hair out and curl up in a ball of tears, is also proof, that everything is going just as it always has for countless generations.
And following Jesus for that matter, is far from roses, rainbows and perfectly answered prayer requests. (Which is a bummer, because I really had my heart set on the ‘perfectly answered prayer request’ part.)
Just ask the apostles, who were among the first to follow Jesus and are proof that often our greatest steps of faith are met with even greater opposition. #ThingsYouWishSomeoneWouldHaveTaughtYouInSundaySchool
That being said, here are some surefire signs you are doing EXACTLY what God wants you to do (and I promise, they aren’t what you think…)
10 (Unlikely) Ways You Can Know You Are Doing Exactly What God Wants
1. People are always trying to shut you up, or have what you are doing shut down. (Acts 4:17-18)
2. The opportunity you have been given has been met with opposition. (Acts 5)
3. People are lying about you. (Acts 6:11)
4. People are jealous of you. (Acts 13:44)
5. Your name has been slandered. (Acts 13:44)
6. There always seems to be someone arguing against everything you say and do. (Acts 13:44)
7. You have been rejected, and what you are doing is being resisted. (Acts 13:51 & Acts 7:51)
8. What you are doing is causing an uproar, unintentionally causing trouble and disturbing the masses. (Acts 16:20 & Acts 17:6)
9. People are gossiping and poisoning others minds about you. (Acts 14:2)
10. People are divided in their opinion of you and what you are doing – some people love you, others… well, not so much. (Acts 14:2)
According to the book of Acts, following what God wants for us doesn’t always make us the most popular person in the room — oftentimes, far from it!
The people who have followed Jesus the closest, are often the most judged, attacked and ridiculed. But they are also arguably, making the greatest impact and leaving the greatest legacy.
So what do we do when find ourselves wanting to continue to obey God and do what He wants (but also really, kind of wanting to rock-back-and-forth in fetal position)?
If we look to the Apostles, we find there are some practical things we can do when we are faced head-on with the major discouragement and emotional setbacks that oftentimes arise while doing what God wants us to do:
•We can pray for courage and boldness, and God will give it to us (Acts 4:29)
•We can adamantly choose to obey God rather than any human being (Acts 5:29)
•We can refuse to be silenced (Acts 5:28)
•We can spend our time with the people we are positively impacting, instead of wasting our time trying to win over the haters (Acts 13:46)
•We can rejoice and sing praises to God amid all the things that are going wrong, and He will rescue us (Acts 5:41,16:25)
…And last but certainly not least, we can continue doing what God asked us to do, no matter the discouragement or criticism we are faced with today.
Acts 5:42 says this of the apostles, “Every day, in the temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah”.
Every day and everywhere the Apostles went, they continued doing exactly what God asked them to do – no matter the opposition – because they believed in what they were doing and in the power of the One that sent them.
And that’s exactly what God asked me to do this last week, while I was reading my Bible early one morning.
Continue doing what I have asked you to do.
You don’t need to defend yourself or what I have called you to do, I will wake up and rise to your defense, and I will take up your case. I will not stay silent.
I will rescue you from their fierce attacks, I will protect your life from these lions. I will not abandon you now.
So keep on, keepin’ on…
I am so dang proud of you,
– God (Acts 5, Psalm 35)
…Yes, God says, ‘dang’ to me…
And yes, like the newborn stage, following Jesus can be messy and make us want to cry (It can also come with a whole lot more crap than we bargained for.)
But if we stay the path it will be worth it, when we are given the opportunity to sit front-row to watch God work through us so that we can fulfill our God-given purpose, just like the Apostles.
So long as every day… and everywhere we go… we courageously continue doing exactly what God has called us to do, no matter the opposition we are faced with today.
So keep on, keepin’ on — Because according to the book of Acts, if we aren’t making a disturbance than we probably aren’t making much a difference either.
And I don’t know about you, but at the rate that I am ‘disrupting,’ I am either 1. Going to have zero friends, OR 2. I am on par to change the world….
(Here’s hoping we err on the side of the latter.)