Nudged

GOD LEADS IN HIS GENTLENESS

Talking to God

You serve a loving God. Thank Him for His desire to lead you gently toward Him and His willingness to give you the choice of obedience.

Diving In

Put on a blindfold. Then, have another family member guide you through different rooms by “steering” your shoulders from behind. Then walk through the same rooms, still blindfolded, following the whispered directions of a trusted family member.

Going Deeper

Just as family members can guide you with touch and whispers, God has many ways of gently leading you forward. He directs you through His Word (Psalm 119:105),
with a quiet voice (1 Kings 19:11–13) and through other people (Hebrews 13:7). No matter how He leads you, God can do so without being harsh. If you accidentally head in the wrong direction, He can gently help you back onto His path. Even when you purposely disobey, His desire is to lovingly correct you. In the process of
learning to follow Him, God allows you to make choices and suffer the consequences of your choices; but He also knows how to pull you gently back into His fold.

Talking to Each Other

How was having someone steer you through the rooms different than having directions whispered to you?

Which way is more like how God leads you? Explain.

How can you learn to better recognize God’s gentle leading?

My Heart

We don’t simply commit sinful actions. Those actions spring from a deep root in our hearts. The fruit on a tree doesn’t simply appear. It comes from the kind of tree that bears it. Our hearts are similar, and the metaphor of fruit is a good one to describe what goes on there. Our actions spring from something deep within us. So when we struggle with sin, it is not primarily outward actions that we are really dealing with. Sinful actions are the fruit that comes from a sinful root in our hearts.

Outside of Christ, we have no hope. Our hearts are wicked and, like those that Jesus describes in Matthew 12, will only bear bad fruit. However, those of us who have believed in Jesus have been given a new heart. That new heart can now bear new righteous fruit. The process of Christian sanctification is to continually and increasingly uproot any remaining sin in our hearts that is leading to sinful actions and allow the Lord to plant seeds in the soil of our new hearts in Christ that will grow into a harvest of righteousness.

As you look at an image of a heart tree, think of your actions as the fruit on the tree—the fruit that ultimately springs from deeper roots that lie below the surface. Each day we will progressively walk you through how to use this tree image to see the roots that are producing sinful actions and to allow the Lord to plant righteousness there instead.

Read Psalm 139:23-24. Like David, let’s ask the Lord to look at our hearts.

Overwhelmed?

Overwhelmed?

At the end of a long day and a long ministry week, a Texas pastor’s wife finished dinner with her family and hopped in her truck heading to Walmart. The florescent lights, smiley-faced price-cuts, and kind front door greeters of that Walmart were the last to see her that Friday night. She disappeared. Two days later, she was found in a motel in Fort Worth.

Her husband issued the following statement after the return of his wife: “My wife became overwhelmed from the pressures we carry for so many. This was my failing for paying so much attention to the needs of others and not noticing the signals in my own home.”

And our hearts were broken for her. Broken because we, too, had been overwhelmed by the expectations of many, and criticism had worn us paper thin. Broken because loneliness had gnawed away at us, and because we were weary of every-watchful eyes. Broken because, while we had never hopped in the truck, we had certainly had plenty of moments in our years of ministry that some time of escape had sounded like a great option. Broken.

Being a pastor’s wife or a woman in leadership is a privilege and honor. But let’s be honest for a moment, there are so many challenges that can suck the joy right out of our ministry calling. So many difficulties that, if we don’t learn how to navigate them well, they will make us want to hop in the truck and escape.

Over the next ten days, we are going to look at some of the joy stealers we face when we are in ministry. We will have daily action steps that will move us closer to the joy God holds out for us in this calling and move us further from those trucks that tempt us to jump on in and escape.

Before you get in the truck: Evaluate where you are right now. Are you lacking joy? Are you on the verge of a breakdown? Ask God to breathe new life into your soul as you take this journey with us.

Matthew 11: 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Leading OnPurpose!