Like everyone reading this blog, I too have asked God for signs in my life. I have asked, no, I've begged for a sign that will show which direction I should head in my life. Like many I've pleaded, threatened, promised, cajoled, asked for billboards, fleece, oil readings, and thrown every type of tantrum trying to get the Lord to show me something concrete and unquestionable. It's never happened. God doesn't often work that way.
Today's Gospel is very difficult to grasp. Here are those who have prophesied in the name of Jesus but He doesn't know them. Here are those who have cast out demons in the name of Jesus but He doesn't know them. Here are those who have done mighty deeds in His name, but, he does not know them. He calls them evildoers and tells them to depart. Wow. Why?
These folks were doing their own will, regardless of how impressive or seemingly holy, and not the will of God. Like the disciples in another passage, we cry out, who then can be saved!! The better question is, how do we know the will of God?
St. Francis de Sales in his book Finding God's Will for You gives us three things to consider when seeking God's will or discerning whether the inspirations we are experiencing are from God, ourselves, or Satan. There are points to consider - Persistence, Peace, and Obedience. We'll look at each one individually.
Is the inspiration persistent?
A few years ago we were considering moving to another part of the country. The inspiration was out of the blue, or so it seemed, so we took it to prayer both individually and together. At the end of our 30 days of praying we had discerned that this inspiration was not persistent and born of some frustrations with our community.
On the other hand, when it comes to my writing, the inspiration is persistent. The inspiration can be on my heart for years. I'd liken it to a holy, indestructible, mosquito that will never leave me alone or the hound of heaven at my heels. I have inspirations for writings that have been on my heart for 10 or more years.
Now, of course we can have persistent "inspirations" concerning things that are not from God or at least not in line with God's will for our lives. That is why it is important to consider all three points together - Persistence - Peace - Obedience. One consideration alone is not enough to discern God's will. All three must be in line.
It's a bad analogy but it's sort of like a holy slot machine, if we are discerning whether something is God's will or not, and we pull the lever, and all three Persistence - Peace - Obedience don't line up, it's safe to say it's not God's will. We'll examine Peace tomorrow.
As always, I'd love your thoughts and/or feedback. Put them the comment box or drop me an email at email@example.com