How to Discern My Next Step


Jesus was constantly up against opposition, yet He stood His ground in His Father’s plans. He did not reduce Himself to human standards, nor did He entrust Himself to man. For He knew the heart of man; it is deceitful and wicked beyond measure. He also knew that man is limited by his sight. Jesus’ resources came (and come) from His Father in Heaven.

Jesus was not careless or frivolous with His Father’s plans. His time on earth was intentional, efficient and successful. His mission was not just redemption for humanity; His goal was to expose darkness, shed His light, give hope, share God’s love, make devoted followers of Him, and equip others to do the same. His mission was a three-year seminary and He did not have time to waste. He did not delay based on man’s timing; He waited on God’s timing. But when God’s hour came, Jesus moved regardless of whether man would approve or disapprove.

Jesus knew the next step of His mission because He spent regular time with His Father in prayer receiving directions. He said of himself, “…what I have heard from my Father is what I tell the world” (John 8:26). His next move was found in the ongoing relationship He had with the Father. What did He find during this time? Not only answers, but He found the resolve to stand in the midst of assault and challenge.

If we are not spending regular time in prayer with the Father, then how is it that we can possibly know the next step to take in our own life? I urge you (and myself) to cut off the radio during the long commute to work and pray. (Part of praying is listening, too.) Go to bed ten minutes early, and pray. In the middle of the night when the insomnia intruder wakes you, pray. (Sometimes our greatest revelations from the Father are in the middle of the night.) Close your eyes from time to time throughout the day and take a moment of silence, and pray. In these quiet places where the world stops spinning, you will discover great riches that you do not even know about. You will discover our Savior and the plan for your life. Like Jesus, you will know your next steps.

Jesus taught, “If you hold to My teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). You are probably saying, “Hey, wait a minute! How can you say that I need to be set free? I am no one’s slave!” Really?

Then why do you feel overwhelmed? How much of man’s ideas control your actions? To whom do you give most of your resources? What worldly truths are you singing in your heart? I challenge you to think again. If you are not at peace – who chained you? If you are feverishly climbing the corporate ladder – who’s driving you? If you have nothing to give to others – who robbed you? If you are singing lyrics that uphold man – who is teaching you?

The Jews had the same reply to Jesus when He said they needed to be free. What was Jesus’ response? “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies….Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (John 8:44-47). Now those are harsh words, but nonetheless truth right from our Savior’s mouth! Truth is often times hard to swallow; however, if swallowed and given the chance to digest, the rotten is discarded and the good is shaped.

Jesus’ mission was to radically redeem and change the heart of humanity. There was no time to waste in his three years of ministry. He often used a sledgehammer to communicate His truth pointedly. Yes, there are those times of soothing quiet rebukes, but we usually receive them that way because our heart is already poised to listen, not because the hammer was any gentler.

Don’t plan your life by human standards or limit it through man’s sight – be free, go beyond, seek what lasts not what rusts. Jesus taught us the practice of Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”