How can I Know when God is Telling me to do Something?
Many Believers after reading the verse of scripture below want to know: How can I know when God is telling me to do something?
How did Apostle Philip know that God was calling him to do something?
Philip was still in Samaria when the Lord instructed him. His instructions are simple and complete.
“And the angel of the Lord [spoke] unto Philip, saying, [a]rise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert” (Acts 8:26).
Apostle Philip didn’t hesitate. He didn’t delay. And He never asked the Lord any questions. Philip just obeyed. He got up and went.
Observe, from Apostle Philip’s decorum that he wasn’t in doubt about whether the Lord spoke to him or not. He was decisive. He had no doubts who instructed him. He knew it was the Lord.
The Lord Will Never Give a Second Instruction if …
“And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,” (Acts 8:27).
“Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet,” (Acts 8:28).
Observe, also that the Lord didn’t tell Apostle Philip why he should go to the desert. He just instructs him to go.
Many-a-times, when He instructs us He will not provide a rationale. No explanations! He just commands us. Just like He did to Philip.
Before, He gives similar instructions to the Fathers and the Prophets. This is similar to how he instructs Abraham, Moses, and Samuel.
Note, to self and others, the Lord will never give a second instruction if we disobey the first. The sole thing that proves He is our Lord is our obedience to Him. Obedience is worship! So, worship Him!
When did God Give Philip his Second Instruction?
So, we discover that Philip only got his second instruction after he obeyed the first. Then the Lord instructs him again.
Consequently, in the verse below, note the strategic use of “then” to convey this identical sentiment.
Therefore, we read:
“Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot,” (Acts 8:29).
Again he obeys. He didn’t as much as reply! He makes no excuses. But urgently and quietly he obeys the Spirit.
Now think about this situation for a moment. The chariot wasn’t stationary. And up to this point, the Ethiopian Eunuch did not see Philip. He was still behind the chariot sprinting toward him.
Could Usain “Lightening” Bolt Outrun a Chariot with Horses?
The Lord told him to get close to the moving chariot and then to get on it. Can a man contend with horses?
Additionally, this chariot had a head start on Apostle Philip. But none of this discourages, or negatively impacts this man-of-God.
Philip shows us that a man could indeed outrun horses because he did. And he was not out-of-breath because he asked the Ethiopian Eunuch a question while he was still sprinting beside the chariot.
We know that Usain “Lightning” Bolt is lightning fast, but we just learn that Apostle Philip could be faster.
Who is Faster Apostle Philip or Bolt?
Could Usain “Lightening” Bolt run faster than a chariot with horses? This is a challenge too you Bolt because an unknown sprinter did it! Could you?
“And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?” (Acts 8:30).
“And he said, how can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him,” (Acts 8:31).
In the instant that the Ethiopian Eunuch answered Philip, the latter knew with all certainty why the Lord sent him into the desert.
The Ethiopian Eunuch admit his ignorance of the Word of God. Then he extends an instant invitation to Philip for him to “guide” him concerning this Scripture.
It was at this point that Philip realizes the motivation for the Lord’s instructions.
I Will Instruct you and Teach you the Way you Should Go
Only after being obedient and faithful to the Lord will you know your purpose. At the beginning of his journey, Apostle Philip’s was unaware of his reason for going into the desert.
Even after the Lord instructs him the second time he was still ignorant of his reason for being there.
However, that is about to change. He heard the Ethiopian Eunuch reading the Scriptures. This means he was reading from the “Old Testament” (OT).
Even though the Ethiopian Eunuch invited Philip to come up and sit with him and guide him in understanding this Scripture, the former never stop the chariot to accommodate the latter.
If he can run with horses surely he can come aboard without the need for stopping.
The Ethiopian Eunuch’s Unusual Instant Invitation
The only time the Scriptures inform us that the chariot stopped, was later when the Ethiopian Eunuch desired water baptism, Acts 8:38.
“The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:” (Acts 8:32).
What has the Lord God Instructed you to do?
“In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation for his life is taken from the earth[?],” (Acts 8:33).
“And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? [O]f himself, or of some other man?” (Acts 8:34).
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus,” (Acts 8:35).
Are you noting how consistent Apostle Philip is with the subject of his preaching? He preached Jesus Christ to the Samaritans.
Now, he is preaching Jesus again to the Ethiopian Eunuch. Let’s emulate Philip in his preaching. Preach Jesus Christ is the Son of God to the unsaved.
“And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” (Acts 8:36).
“… Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” (Acts 8:37).
The Ethiopian Eunuch “… commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him,” (Acts 8:38).
“And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing,” (Acts 8:39).
“But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea,” (Acts 8:40).
The Lord will never instruct us once. He guides Apostle Philip to someone who needs the Word. Then he takes it from there.
In the instant, he hears the Ethiopian Eunuch reading he knows his purpose. Thus he asks him, do you understand the text that you are reading?
Hearing and knowing the voice of God is a process. He speaks; you obey; then He speaks again; you obey …
How do I Know What God Wants me to do in a Situation?
First, to receive anything from God we must have a relationship with Him.
For a few people, their first experience with Him initiates that relationship. These include Abraham, Samuel, and Moses.
So, it’s only when we know God, can we really perceive when He speaks. Else, He would be speaking and we will not realize it’s Him because we are ignorant of the ways of God.
Such was the case with young Samuel and Moses. The former didn’t realize that God was speaking to him until the priest instructed him.
And the latter, only found out when he became curious of the burning bush and got closer to investigate.
How do know when the Lord is instructing you?
Has the Lord God Instructed You to do Something?
If the Lord instructed us to do some task and we didn’t, He will never issue us a second command unless we repent.
Yes, repentance with obedience reposition us in good standing with God. Then we could execute His first command.
Recall the experience of Jonah. The Lord God instructs him to go to Nineveh and preach repentance to the inhabitants. But he disobeys God, (Jonah 1:1-3).
Long story short, eventually he repents and obeys God. Then and only then did He instruct Jonah the second time.
Then, “… the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee,” (Jonah 3:1-2).
Has the Lord instructed you to do something? If you disobeyed, it’s not hopeless. Repent. Obey Him and He will accept you.
He Desires a Relationship
Finally, the Lord will give you an instruction but not a plan. He tells Jonah what to do but not how. He instructs Philip where to go but not why.
However, as each obeys Him he provides additional information. Therefore, the Lord desires a relationship with us. He doesn’t provide a step-by-step guide.
Instead, he furnishes a picture. Or a stage-by-stage guide. For this reason, our journey is by faith in the Lord God through Jesus Christ. Trust Him!
In closing, Jesus Christ summarizes the essence of our obedience to his instructions.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me,” (John 10:27).
My Sheep Hear my Voice
If you are his sheep you will know when he speaks. However, if you are young in the faith you may not know when He does.
Therefore, seek to know Him. Study His Word. He will never speak to you anything contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The instructions of God to you will always agree with the Words of Jesus and his Church. There is no contradictions with God. Obey Him!
Apostle Philip is not the first man-of-God to outrun horses with a chariot.
Remember, the Prophet Elijah? He is the first person in the Bible to sprint faster than Usain Lighting Bolt and horses.