Sometimes the voice of the Lord is as soft as a breath. Will you be able to hear it? (Max Pixel/Public Domain)

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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths" (Prov. 3:5-6).

Perhaps you've had a quiet time—when you get alone with God and read the Bible—where a verse that you've read a hundred times suddenly jumps out at you, and you think, "I've never seen that before!" Or suddenly you see a new way to apply it, and at the end of the day, you find out it was exactly what you needed for that day. That's a rhema. God's Spirit took a general word to everybody and applied it to you in a personal and practical way.

Do you want to know the will of God or what to do in a particular situation? There are two important steps to take as you seek a word from God.

1. Confess any known sin in your life.

You say, "God, I don't want anything to block our relationship. Forgive me for my sin (be specific). Is there any bad attitude I've got? Is there anything I'm doing that you want me to stop doing? Is there something you've been telling me to start doing that I haven't?" Confess it, and make sure the channel is open to God. The Bible says in 1 John 1:9a, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins."

2. Commit the decision to Christ.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." In other words, don't try to figure it out by yourself! Look to God for your understanding of what is going on, or what He wants you to do.

Stop and put yourself in neutral gear—that may take some time—and say, "God, about this problem or decision I'm facing—whatever You want is what I want." That attitude is the attitude that Jesus had before he went to the cross, as He was in the Garden of Gethsemane and said, "Not My will be done, but Thy will be done." Confess your sin, commit your decision to Jesus and then keep praying until you can follow Christ's attitude about the situation.

And you can trust that God will make your paths straight.

Talk It Over

  • Why is it important to apply God's Word in a personal way, as opposed to just generally?
  • Why is it important to be specific when you confess your sin?
  • In what decision do you need to say, "Not my will but Yours be done, God"? Pray, and ask God to help you have a Christlike attitude as you commit your ways to Him.

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global internet community for pastors.

This article originally appeared at pastorrick.com.

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