On my way home from work yesterday I was listening to one of Dr. Tony Evans’ podcasts, Rules for Ruling Your World, Part 2 which discusses that God has promised us good things… including a life filled with purpose and the power we need to carry it out.  The Scripture is Joshua 1:1-9. I would encourage you to list to both Part 1 and Part 2, which encourages us how to walk in what God has prepared for us, and to live a successful life – defined by our Lord God, not the world. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

One of the ideas that struck me while listening was the fear the people had when they heard of the size of the occupiers of the land. God can and DOES overrule people for His purposes. But He expects us to walk in faith – to KNOW that He will provide. What keeps us from walking in faith? It’s believing more in the lies of the devil. When I got home, I read a devotion in an email from Priscilla Shirer. These two messages resonate with me, so I’m sharing her post below.

“And the Lord God commanded, ‘You are free. . . ‘ ” (Genesis 2:16)

Hearing God is the foundation for vibrant spiritual living. I’ve become more and more aware of this truth the older I’ve gotten. Duty and religion place undo wear and tear on the human soul. They burden and tire instead of providing invigoration and renewal.

But relationship. That is a whole other story.

Knowing that He is indeed alive – not because you read about Him but because you’ve experienced Him – quenches the thirst of any human heart. That is why, above all else, any serious believer must seek to distinguish God’s voice from all others.

And a lesson from the Father’s relationship with the first couple – Adam and Eve – will help. In the garden, God told Adam and Eve what they were free to do. Scroll back up to the top of this post and read the scripture again.

It’s ok. I’ll wait.

Did you see it? His instruction pointed them toward the positive – freedom, opportunity and possibility. But, when the serpent slithered into the conversation, he distorted God’s commands in a very strategic and sinister way that still marks all of his suggestions to this very day:

“Didn’t God say, ‘You can’t . . .’ ” (Genesis 3:1) Well, no. God had not said that. But the enemy wanted Adam and Eve to believe that he had.

Freedom-Lighstock-e1462222414572-1024x402The voice of God points to freedom. He wants you to focus on the abundance of living within His framework and boundaries. He tells you, “You can!” And you will know His leading in your life because even when His answer is “no”, it will somehow still open up to you the possibility of all you have access to in Him. In New Testament times, Jesus Himself would point this out as he described the relationship between the Shepherd and his sheep:

“. . .the sheep hear His voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3)

He leads them out of the rigid, legalistic boundaries of the fold and into the wide-open pastures of grace and freedom. That’s what the Shepherd’s voice did then and it is still what His voice does now.

The voice of the enemy, on the other hand, will always accentuate restriction. He will say, “You can’t.” He will manipulate God’s leading to focus your attention on what you can’t have instead of what you can. He shines a spotlight on restriction because he knows that doing so will heighten the attention you give to it – enticing you to sadness over what you can’t have instead of celebration over what you can.

God’s voice points to freedom. The enemy’s voice accentuates restriction.

So, as you seek to discern God’s leading in your life, ask yourself – which of these options will most allow me to experience the abundance of all that God has given me to do and be in Him. Which one is free of fear, insecurity and a sense of “I can’t”? Which one loosens me instead of suffocates me?

Which one . . . sets me free.