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锘? Frank Sinatra made famous the song “I Did It My Way”. It has
become so famous that sometimes one even hears it played at
funerals - even Christian funerals. It is as though people are so
loose in their knowledge about what God wants of us that they
see having “done it” their own way as a real testament to the
quality of their lives.
But the principle on which this song is founded is anathema to
the Christian trying to follow Christ. It is the last thing we should want as a summary of our lives - that we did everything in our own way!
We are called to live as Jesus lived. One crucial aspect of his life was
that it was led by the Holy Spirit. This was at least from the start of
his public ministry when, after his baptism in the Jordan, Luke 4. 1
tells us that he was driven into the desert by the Spirit.
There are other scriptures which one could quote also if space
allowed. But the lesson is that, to live as Jesus lived, we also need
to be led by the Spirit. Easy to say. But how do we do it?
The first essential is to know that this is really what God requires of us.
We all “know” it in an academic way. We know it as a principle. But
what we also need to have is the conviction of it!
If we do not have that already, there is only one way to get it: by
prayer. Preferably by prayer based on the scriptures.
meditate on selected, relevant passages Ronnie Stanley Jersey , especially from the New
Testament, and preferably from the gospels. (This is discussed in
detail by a book on our site: “The keys to Christian Meditation”).
For example, read the gospels carefully explicitly looking for passages
which have especial reference to Jesus being led by the Spirit. You
need to find them. They are not always overt, so look with care
and take your time.
Meditate on these passages allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you. Search
for the realisation that we are to imitate the example set for us by Jesus.
The conviction may come in various ways: all at once, or as a gradual
process of a growing conviction which no one can give you the details
for in advance.
Once we really know that this is really what God wants of us, the
second essential is to integrate it into our lives. Easy to say. But how
do we start?
We start with the determination not to take decisions “off our own bat”,
not to live as we want but as God wants. We want to end up saying
“I did it his way” Ray Lewis Jersey , not “I did it my way”.
You can begin in either of two ways. Start with the really important
decisions and work down to the daily ones; or start with the small
ones and work up to the big ones. This is a matter of personal
choice - but also of opportunity
What the big ones? Changing job, changing house, changing church
and so forth. Maybe we are not facing major decisions like this. So
we then have no alternative but to start with less important ones: joining
a new club, where to go on holiday, take up some new pastime.
In all these matters it is not what we want but what he wants. And
any apparently small matter could turn out to be extremely important
because we never know where a decision will lead. Still less where
it will lead when God makes it for us! That is one of the things that
makes being a (Spirit led) Christian really exciting.
So pray and ask for direction in all these things. The Holy Spirit
lives within every Christian. If we have the conviction of
this, then we ought to have little difficulty in turning to ask the Spirit’s
The greatest problem we have in seeking God’s will is our own will.
It repeatedly gets in the way. It is like trying to push a ball down under
the water. Every time we relax the pressure it shoots back to the
surface. So the third essential is that we must be sure we
are following God’s will and not our own. We do not want to be looking
for confirmations which merely confirm our own preferences.
One excellent method is given by Ignatius of Loyola. He recommends
that, whatever our own preference is in a given decision Jonathan Ogden Jersey , we should
pray for the grace to want the opposite. If you have a desire to move
house, pray for the desire stay in your present house. As the grace
comes from God over a period, we shall eventually arrive at a kind
of equilibrium position where we are indifferent as to whether we stay or
move. Then we are in a position to hear God speaking to us.
Following Is Forsaking
Following God’s will is forsaking our own. That is rarely easy,
especially in the world we live in today. The media, not least TV,
constantly tells us in all manner of ways that we need to fullfil all our
own desires if we are to be happy. One current advert tells us that,
whatever we want Dennis Pitta Ravens Jersey , “You are worth it”.
But can you honestly say that, however much you have responded
to such adverts, you have actually been truly happier as a result of
buying the product? Most likely not, because happiness is
God-shaped and only doing his will, in big and in small things, can
really bring us happiness.