“How do you tell,” I asked Stan one morning, “whether God is the power behind something or whether it is just you trying to do something on your own?”
“Whether it lasts or not,” Stan replied.
“Lasts or not?” I responded. “What’s supposed to last?”
“What is being done,” Stan said. “If I am seeking to do something and I’m not sure whether it’s God’s will or not, all I have to do is ask. If I am truly seeking God’s answer, He will make it clear to me if what I am trying to do is from Him or from myself. Efforts based on me, not on Him, are futile. Those self-focused efforts will fade away.”
“However,” he continued, “if what I am doing is from God and I am listening to and obeying His voice, what God is doing not only does not fade away, the likelihood of its coming to fruition increases to a certainty.”
“Kind of like not fighting against something that God is in,” I responded. “Is that what you are saying?”
“Exactly!” Stan exclaimed. “And that is the same thing I saw earlier about the account of a very wise fellow named Gamaliel in the Book of Acts.”
“Who was he and what did he do?” I asked.
“Peter and some of the other apostles in the early church,” Stan replied, “had been arrested and told by the Jewish leaders to quit talking about Jesus. However, Peter and the others told the Jewish leaders that they had no intention of doing that. In addition, the apostles went on to say some things that made the Jewish leaders so mad they wanted to kill them.”
“Wow!” I responded, “that’s being seriously mad.”
“You’re right about that,” Stan replied, “and that’s when Gamaliel stepped forward. He, too, was a Pharisee. He was well-respected as a teacher and the other Jewish leaders listened to him.”
“What did he have to say that was so great?” I asked.
“He told the the Jewish leaders,” Stan said, “to leave the apostles alone. He went on to tell the leaders that if what the apostles did was from themselves, it would fade away. But if what they were doing was from God, nothing the Jewish leaders could do would stop it.”
“So,” Stan added, “I use this as a test to see if what I am doing is from God or from myself. As I am surrendered to God’s leading through the indwelling Holy Spirit, the answer will become clear. If it’s from me alone, I am to let it fade away. However, if it is from God, I am to go all in.”
“God’s will,” Stan concluded, “is going to be done. Period. It’s best if I am on the side of His will, not on any side that seeks to go against His will.”
And so in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action should be of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.” Acts of the Apostles 5:38, 39.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that your will is going to be done. And thank you that you allow me to be a part of what you are doing by showing me and by allowing me to be able to join you. I confess that too often what I seek to do, whether for me or for you, is based on what I think best, rather than seeking and following your will. Please forgive me of that foolishness. And please, Father, help me in following your lead in knowing and following your will, never fighting against what it is you want to do in and through me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.