When Wanting to Please God Can Paralyze You


You cannot move.

You are afraid of “missing it.”

What if this is not God’s will?

What if you are only 30% or 50% or 80% sure the thought you have floating around in your head is the Holy Spirit speaking rather than your own idea?

What if you step out and find out that after the risk and the loss and the change, it might not have been God?

Hearing God is not complicated. It really isn’t. However, anybody that cares enough about honoring Jesus has had times when major decisions were in front of you and all you had was a thought. Thoughts come from God, Satan, or you.

Now, do not misunderstand me, it is of paramount important that you seek God when it comes to decisions, especially major decisions, in your life. But what I have found after 10+ years of pastoring is that sometimes, people are crippled by something that seems rather holy. You may have such a desire to please God, to get it right, to not step out of His will, that you are too afraid to take a leap of faith. Look at what God once told Abraham: “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1).

Abraham responded, “Ok God.”

Many of us would have responded, “Show me? What do you mean show me? You want me to leave everything I have ever known and all you are telling me is that once I have taken the leap, you will show me bits and pieces along the way? I don’t think so. Look at what I am giving up for you. Surely you can give me more information than that!”

This is the reason you and I are not referred to as the Father of Faith.

Too many Christians are disguising their fear behind a desire to please God. You so want to please God you no longer trust Him enough to take a leap of faith. What do I mean? Well, if you really trust Him and have really spent time seeking His heart, there comes a point when you may have to take a step without 100% certainty. Granted, there are wonderful times when God makes something 100% clear. I love these times. However, there are instances when that kind of clarity is absent. In these situations, will you and I still be willing to move with God? I suggest to you that you may be wanting 100% certainty so that no faith is required. So here is the challenge: quit waiting for God to give you mathematical certainty so that you do not have to feel as though you are taking a risk. I think faith is more about having a hunch concerning what God is asking of you and then taking a leap of faith (though some uncertainty may remain) knowing that if for some reason you do not miss it, God in all of His sovereignty can even then redeem and redirect.

After all, are you not a son? A daughter? Should not the security that His love provides be a trampoline rather than a shelter?

So seek God. Cry out to God. Let God lead you and drop hunches into your spirit and heart. But know that sometimes the true test of your faith will be whether or not you trust God enough to jump in the absence of what can be characterized as mathematical or logical certainty.

Let your desire to please God rule in your heart and life, but do NOT hide behind it. There comes a point when pleasing God is more about faithing Him even if the prayerful hunch turns out not to be Him. Do not forget, He is powerful!

One Qualifier: The bigger the decision, the more time I would spend seeking God and getting wise counsel before I took a life-changing leap. I do believe that God desires to give more and more clarity depending upon the size of the impact the decision will have upon your life and those around you. So, on one extreme is paralysis by fear (“I am so afraid of not pleasing God or taking a step that turns out not to be Him.”) and on the other extreme is a careless approach that does not take God’s guidance seriously enough. 


A Morning Stroll

blogShake things up. Do the same thing differently. This is important. I definitely have a set routine to my early mornings. If you have read my book, “The Word As A Vehicle,” you know what it is. This routine revolves around spending time with Daddy God, the Father of Jesus Christ. However, being a creature of habit, sometimes I feel the need to connect with God in a different way. To get out in nature. Not have my head in a book. Yes, that includes the Bible.

This morning I made my coffee and took off walking in my neighborhood. I always know when I am too much in my head. I will be walking and somewhere along the way, I realize I am hearing the birds sing for the first time. I was careful not to do that this morning. If you are not hearing birds, you are thinking to much.

Toward the end of my walk, a passage came to mind. At this point in my walk with the Lord, I am convinced that He speaks often and simply. A thought that seems to drop out of space? God. Yep. His Spirit whispering to me. If you have a problem with this you are probably among those who possess an ugly, uptight, stingy, poisonous theology. Your God is not generous with His heart and word. Why would you even waste time loving a God like that. Good luck.

Not me. He speaks. He loves to speak. Are there times when He is silent? Ugh, yes. But today was not one of those days.

Toward the end of my walk, the phrase that popped in my mind this morning was, “Is anything to hard for the Lord?” Because I have spent years and years reading the Word, I knew the general address of this phrase (the more of the written Word you have put in your heart, the more you will hear His fresh word). This was something the Lord told Sarah, Abraham’s wife. I went into my room, raised the blinds, sat in my chair, and began thumbing through a few pages in the earlier parts of Genesis in order to locate the story. Here is the dialogue in Genesis 18:

Three men/strangers: “Where is your wife Sarah?”

Abraham: “There, in the tent.”

One of the three men: “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Sarah (in the tent): She laughed.

The Lord said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old.’ Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

This question was rhetorical due to its obvious nature.

Regarding some different things on my wife and I’s heart lately, I sensed that the Lord was wanting me to do a couple of things with this question. First, He wanted me to minister it back to Him as worship. Second, He wanted me to strengthen myself with it. This is what it looked like. I put my Bible down, looked out my window, and for about 10-20 minutes, began to ask and answer this question as I sat in the Presence of the Lord. I would, out loud, ask “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Then, I with my Bible sitting open in my lap, I put my hands in the air and declared personally, from my heart, “Nothing is too hard for you, Lord.” I owned it. I wanted Him to hear it. I wanted to minister this to His beautiful heart. This was my worship this morning, to repeat to Him over and over a declarative answer to the question He whispered to me. I wanted Him, in response to what He had initiated in my spirit, to have someone on the earth today confessing to Him, “Nothing is too hard for you, Lord. Nothing. I believe that. I believe in You. Is anything too hard for you? No! No Lord! Nothing is too hard for you!” As I ministered to Him, strength and peace and courage and faith grew in my heart. Remember, ministering to the Lord is intrinsically tied to the level of strength you walk in as a Christ follower. Make no mistake, if you are not ministering to the Lord, you are probably the one sitting on the throne of your nice little Christian life.

So arise. Dance in the secret place. Let God whisper to you what He wants to hear from you, and then make sure He hears it from you. Be a poet. Be a singer. Be a artist. Be a writer. Be undignified. Paint a canvas for the Lord and watch your heart become strong.

Nothing is too hard for the Lord. I have a feeling that each of us need to be reminded of this today in one way or another.

“Who is like the Lord our God, who dwells on high,who humbles Himself

to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth.”

Psalms 113:5-6 NKJV