And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]. Colossians 3:15, AMP
Ever wondered how you could discern God's will for your life? What do you do when facing a crossroads in life? What if all of the options look good? Whether it's a dating relationship, a job opportunity or any other kind change in your life––how can you know God's will?
You might wonder, what difference does it make? A big one! When we follow God's will for our lives, while there will be challenges and tribulations to endure and overcome; more often we will experience His blessings of favor, goodness, joy, love, satisfaction, abundance and so much more. Pursuing a road that is not God's will won't have God's blessing on it; and that usually means difficulty, dissatisfaction, confusion and hard work that doesn't seem to pay off.
God wants you to follow His will and purpose for your life because He has so many great things planned for you! There are three signs to look for when discerning God's will:
What does God's Word say about your choices? Would you have to violate God's Word to follow a certain path? If so, it's not God's will for you.
What do your circumstances look like? Are things lining up for you? Are doors opening and are things moving in the right direction or is everything difficult? That doesn't mean that every open door is God's will or that there won't be a few obstacles or that you'll have to knock a few doors by faith, but it does mean you should sense God's favor on the circumstances?
What does peace in your heart say? This is a big one. God's will always has His peace on it. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit regulates the peace-meter within us. Let's drill down on the importance of following peace in all of our decision making.
The longer you walk with the Lord, the more accustomed you will be to flowing in His peace as the normal atmosphere of your Christian life. And...sometimes, we are able to identify what the peace of God feels like by recognizing when we are not in peace.
This became clear to me many years ago as a senior at Boston University. I knew the Lord had called me to the ministry, but I didn’t know what that was supposed to look like. I also knew that during the last half of my senior year of college, I had a headache almost every day. I was popping Excedrin headache pills like they were candy just to get rid of the pain.
After graduation, I planned to join the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ (called Cru, these days) with whom I had been involved for several years. As I pursued the application process to go on staff, I noticed the headaches seemed to increase. I never made any connection between the headaches and the pursuit of going on staff; I just took my Excedrin and carried on. My only other career option was to move back to my hometown and try to figure out what to do with my life.
One day, I went to visit my pastor to ask him how I could know for sure what God’s will was for my life? He shared Colossians 3:15 with me and explained that the Holy Spirit would guide me as I followed peace. He suggested that I let the peace of God be the umpire, “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]…”
So, I got quiet and pictured the “peace umpire” calling the shots when I considered my two options. When I thought about going on staff with Crusade, although this made the most sense and it’s what I wanted to do, I didn’t feel the "peace umpire” was giving me a green light. When I thought about moving back to my hometown, which I didn’t want to do because it seemed like three giant steps backward, the "peace umpire” seemed to be flashing the green light on this option.
Even though it didn’t make “rational” sense, I let the peace umpire rule and I moved back home. Interestingly, although I didn’t know what my future would look like, I was filled with peace and joy and the headaches stopped immediately! I didn’t take another Excedrin! So, what’s the moral of the story when it comes to making decisions and discerning God's will? Follow the peace umpire!
In looking back, I believe that my heart was unsettled all along––I just had not discerned it––and that’s why I began to have daily headaches. It took a while for me to figure out that the headaches were a manifestation of a lack of peace.
That doesn’t mean that every headache or physical ailment is the result of a lack of peace, but that experience certainly caused me to look a little more carefully at the peace-meter when I have unexplained physical symptoms to see if there is any connection to decisions I have made or am pondering.
Also, note that at times we may have peace in our heart, but uncertainty or doubt in our head. That's normal because sometimes it takes our head a while to catch up to our heart. Again, that’s why it’s always good to follow the peace in our heart.
On the flip side, there can be situations where someone has total peace and is walking out God’s clearly laid-out plan, yet they find themselves hit with unexplained pain, challenges and roadblocks. This may not be a lack of peace; it may simply be the enemy coming against a person to halt them in following God’s plan. That’s why it’s best to let the “peace umpire” call the shots. God’s peace is a safe guide.
Listen to the “peace umpire” and the Lord will bring you through.
Say It: "Father, thank You for helping me to follow the peace umpire."
This month in The Basics With Beth, I am sharing excerpts from my new book, The Spirit Empowered Life. This devo on the Peace Umpire is from Chapter 4. If you'd like to order your pre-release copy, just click here: The Spirit Empowered Life.