I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart (Jeremiah 24:7, ESV).
The word “heart” in the Bible means your mind, will, and emotions.
I want a heart to follow God, I believe we all do. But how do we follow God, and how do we know that we are following God?
Below are three practices that help me know God’s will.
First: Ask for a heart to follow God.
Jeremiah writes in chapter 24 that God would give His people a heart to follow Him. We must admit our innate selfishness that pushes God aside to be replaced by our desires.
Our tendency to serve self is so great that none of us would be able to follow God if He didn’t give us a heart to follow Him.
Second: Discern peace.
A key result of doing God’s will is peace. Many do not have peace because they are not following God. If you can discern peace in your decisions, you know God’s will.
There is a huge difference between discouragement and disenchantment. Often our discouragement is caused by actions not in keeping with God’s will. There is never peace when we’re not following God.
On the other hand, part of the process of discovering God is disenchantment . . . a feeling of dis-ease in our spirit which nags us to humility and prayer. When we discover what’s causing disenchantment, we know the path back to God’s Presence.
Third: Take a new step of faith.
God does new things. They all require faith!
Biblical faith isn’t a blind and passionate leap into an abyss of good intentions. Faith is a deliberate process of discerning God’s will, seeking confirmation, asking for wisdom –and then the leap!
There is a difference between caution and discernment. Caution can be fear masquerading as wisdom. Discernment is a committed process.
When we challenge a potential faith decision, our question should be, “Why am I hesitant?” Knee-jerk negativity occurs from fear, but irresistible determination comes from hearing God’s voice.
I have been a proponent of journaling for 50 years. Some of our greatest faith ventures come through decades of listening, obeying, studying, and training. Often, we don’t know God’s story for us because we live a day-to-day and segmented existence, not understanding the thread of God’s will woven through our lives.
God’s will should hold our lives together. It must be discovered by willful faith ventures that give us peace and bring peace to others.
God, give us a heart to know You.