“Whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the sons of Israel remained camped and did not set out; but when it was lifted, they did set out. At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out; they kept the LORD’S charge, according to the command of the LORD through Moses.”
Reading the above scripture you can’t help but be awestruck by the way Israel was led in their journey e.g., a physical manifestation of God’s presence. We think how easy it would be to know where to go, what to do and when to do it if we experienced something like that. Actually, we’re in a much better position than they were. We are in Jesus and God lives in us. We are actually in the “flow” of the Trinity.
I used to think that real, spiritual Christians probably got up in the morning, and found an index card on their kitchen table mysteriously written by the Holy Spirit, providing instructions for their lives. Maybe the Über-Christians discerned the will of God through signs, specific prophetic utterances, or some other super spiritual means. Well, God can indeed lead in all of those ways (even the index card), but I’ve come to understand that more often than not, living in the will of God is simply a direct result of abiding in Jesus.
Remember the call to Abraham? The Lord said, “Get up and go to the land that I will show you.” Abraham didn’t receive a lot of information, only the command to leave and the promise of guidance. Over and over in the Old Testament we read of God’s promises to lead His people. We read stories about the ways God led certain individuals, and think, “Oh, if God would would only speak to me like that…” But we’ve got it even better! In the New Testament, we find Jesus assuring us that the Holy Spirit would actually indwell us, reveal Jesus to us, give us the “mind of Christ,” and guide us into all truth. Jesus spoke of us actually being in him, abiding in him like branches in a vine. The thing about branches is they don’t spend a whole lot of time trying to figure out what their supposed to be doing. It flows naturally as they are connected to the vine.
Following the will of God is not so much a matter of knowing stuff as it is being in Someone. As we remain in Jesus, drawing our life from him, being continuously filled with his Spirit (like the “sap” flowing through the vine), the will of God will be a natural process. Branches that abide in the vine simply bear fruit for that is the will of the “Husbandman.”
Someone told me something once, and I didn’t understand it at the time. But I get it now. It went something like this: “Come to Jesus, abide in him, and then do what you want.” You want to stay in the will of God? Abide in Jesus, and let it flow.