I do. It’s not a life-and-death decision, but it does carry some weight. Basically, I’m on the advisory board for an organization that I love that raises awareness about human trafficking. The annual meeting is in Washington, D.C.
- I could list out the pros and cons.
- I could ask a bunch of people what they think.
- I could look at the calendar and the bank account and make a purely logical decision.
But, I learned a long time ago that this isn’t the best way to make decisions.
In 1992, Bill and I were newly married. Bill was teaching high school and I was finishing up my graduate work. We were living in Raleigh, close to family and friends, in a great church … Life was good.
But we began to sense that something was shifting. Bill was finding his heart drawn more and more to relating with his students, talking about the challenges of their lives, applying faith lessons as the conversation would allow.
So, we began to talk about going to seminary. We met with Anne Graham Lotz, a family friend who we thought would have some wisdom for us. We weren’t disappointed.
On that chilly February day, we sat in Anne’s sunlit alcove. She listened as we shared our journey and our heart and where we thought God was leading. And then she taught us about the runway lights.
Imagine this … A jet is coming in for a landing. As the aircraft is descending, the controller tells the pilot to line up the runway lights. When the lights are in a straight line, the pilot can be certain that he or she is landing in the center of the runway.
When we’re trying to make decisions, God gives us runway lights.
1. His Word
There is no direction God would lead us that would go against his word. God’s word can come to you through a song, a sermon, a devotional that you’re reading … but it will come to you most clearly when you are consistently and systematically reading your Bible. (If you need a plan for Bible reading, here are my recommendations: Basic, Simple, Quiet Times, 40 Days of Fixing Your Eyes on Jesus, and a chronological Bible reading plan.)
2. Inner confidence
You gain confidence in God’s will as you pray, and think, and walk by faith. Did you get that last one? Sometimes you have to step into the Jordan to see the waters begin to pile up. One step of faith leads to greater confidence that you are walking in the right direction.
3. Godly counselors
You need some Jesus Girls in your life who can help you to hear God’s voice. These are women (or men) who you have a maturing relationship with Christ, know you well, and will help you to fix your eyes on Jesus. They will ask you hard questions. But they will also encourage you.
The last, and least important runway light is circumstances. Most people look at the practicals as the prime indicator for knowing God’s will. But circumstances will, most of the time, simply affirm what you already know. Sometimes circumstances will even be an outlier, and God will call you to land that plane with only three runway lights in place. That’s walking by faith.