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I spent years doing life my own way, not really following God. At the time I thought it would make me happy to do everything I wanted to do. But the fact is I was miserable.
You see, if we’re not following God’s plan for our life, we’re never going to feel peace or joy on the inside. You may have some fun, but I’ve learned that having fun and having joy are two different things―and I would much rather have joy on the inside of me.
Fun is based on what you’re doing in the moment. You can go to the mall with your credit card and spend a bunch of money, and you might even enjoy doing it, but then when you get back home, the fun is over and you’ve lost your joy.
See, the enemy will tempt us to have a little fun, but after we do the very thing he tempted us to do, he’ll accuse us of doing the wrong thing.
Fun is expensive; joy is free. Joy is based on your relationship with Jesus Christ. When we do what His Word tells us to do, then we have the peace and joy that comes from being close to Him.
Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.”
If we want to have and enjoy the freedom that Jesus died to give us, then we need to learn how to follow the Spirit of God.
One of the ways you can tell if you’re following the flesh instead of the Spirit is that you have no peace and you’re struggling. If you’re thinking about doing something and you have no peace about it, just don’t do it.
For example, you may have a deep desire to get married. But if you’ve gotten yourself into a relationship based on the flesh and you’re convincing yourself you’ve got to get married because this could be your only chance, all you’re doing is setting yourself up for a lifetime of misery.
Here’s the thing: If your mind is troubled and you have that uneasy feeling that says, I don’t know about this, don’t do it!
Very often we try to reason ourselves into something we don’t have any peace about in the first place. In the example above, the reasoning would go something like this: “Well, I can’t think of anything wrong with him. He’s a believer. He’s got a good job. He’s handsome. He’s nice to me.”But no matter how nice he is, if you don’t have peace about getting married, you’re better off being by yourself.
This same principle is true whatever your situation may be, whether it’s about accepting a job offer, choosing a church, deciding where to live, establishing healthy boundaries in relationships…and the list could go on. Always make it your goal to follow the wisdom and peace of God.
Life can be so fast-paced, and it’s easy to make mistakes when you’re in a hurry. Sometimes we need to slow ourselves down so we can discern between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit.
What should you do when you realize that you’ve made a mistake?
First of all, you don’t ever have to be ashamed to back out of doing something you thought was God once you realize it’s not. You can simply say, “I’ve made a mistake,” and move on. We all miss God at certain times of our lives. Actually, that’s one of the ways we learn how to hear from God correctly. Sometimes you will need to step out and try something to find out whether or not it’s really God.
Remember, when you follow His leading, you’re going to have peace and joy, not guilt and condemnation. In Christ, we are free from sin and can have abundant life, full of joy and peace. We just have to follow His lead.