I’ve been reading a lot of blogs, articles, books, the latest and greatest you-should-do-this or buy-this resources, and listening to a lot of podcasts, in fact I regularly throw my own stuff in the mix… yep, I own it, I am a blogger, I am a podcaster, I am a writer, I have a lot of things in my heart and my head and I have joined the ranks.
I love to read what other people are thinking, but more than that, I love to read insights from people who have an obvious relationship with God and have a few scars to prove they’ve remained faithful through some tough stuff.
This past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about who I will and should listen to, who I will read, and who I will take advice from. Hey, I’ve learned incredible things from the most unlikely sources, many of them secular. It irks me just a little that sometimes it seems more wisdom flows from “secular” authors than from Christ-following writers and leaders. After all, God is the source of the most excellent wisdom.
I will continue to glean information, insight, knowledge, and bits of wisdom from a variety of places; but, I’ve decided this week to focus on one source as my primary source that trumps all other sources.
I am a prophetic being. It’s just how I’m wired. I hear the heartbeat of God and I act upon what I hear. Sometimes, if I’m not careful I start listening to a ton of other voices. I am renewing my commitment and my focus to listen to the heartbeat of the Father first. To seek wisdom from Him above all others. To seek direction and guidance from God.
I’ve found God’s ways to be most excellent. I’ve found his ways to always be the right ways. I’ve found his ways to always take me to the places I truly need to be. I’ve decided to trust the voice of God, to trust his voice in me.
I’ve decided to renew my commitment to listen to God’s directives for my life and to take all other input in the framework of whether or not it resonates with my spirit and with what I’m hearing in the heartbeat of God.
So, here’s what my filter would look like if I were to put it on paper (which, I suppose, I am, actually doing just that). I don’t actually go through a list when I’m making decisions, but I’ve attempted to break down my thought processes to clarify my thinking framework to make me more decisive, and to help other like-minded friends to think about their criteria for consuming content.
#1 What has God revealed to me in this area of my life?
I must first listen to what God is saying to me. Sometimes that’s difficult to do with certainty, but God is a revealer of himself to humanity. I do not want to become a law unto myself by superimposing a God-label upon my own thoughts, but I want to follow God’s revelation to me, first and foremost, even if it flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Yep, that’s right, that is how I see it.
#2 Does this align with scripture?
God reveals himself through scripture. I will discount information contrary to the principles revealed in scripture.
#3 Will this bring transformation to my life, or to others if I apply it?
If God is about transformation, and I believe he is, then I’m all about transformation. With this article, and with everything I create that is the question I always put to myself, “Will this in some way be transformational.” I will never write or create anything solely designed to produce revenue, if it does that is fine, but my filter is, “Will this be transformational?”
#4 What is the motivation of the person generating this information?
Some have simply found a new way to peddle cheap and worthless information to gullible people. There is absolutely nothing wrong with compensation for creating something of value, in fact that is how every single one of us puts food on the table and a roof over our heads, but when self-enrichment is the motivation, I’m not interested in what they have to say. It is suspect at best and maniacal at worst.
#5 What is the worldview of the person generating this information?
Information coming from a godless individual is immediately suspect to me. Oh, hey, listen, I have learned incredible things from people of other faiths or even no faith. Wisdom flows through a lot of conduits, but I believe true wisdom ultimately originates with God. Okay, with that acknowledged, I will continue… I must start from a place of scrutiny when the source’s framework is suspect to me. That is not a bias, that is simple wisdom. I love the pearls that come from the heart of my Father, and I simply and greatly prefer those pearls over anyone else’s, thank you very much!
#6 Does this information help me further what I know to be God’s direction for my life?
Once God has revealed a direction for my life, I am open to course adjustments, and often God uses the strangest things to adjust my direction, but need to anchor in revelation. Once I know, or have a certainty of the God-direction for my life, I need to discard resources or philosophies that take me in a counter direction. I’m not talking about honing our intellect with opposing viewpoints, I feel that is important, but I am talking about placing my focus upon tools that will help me strengthen and resource myself for where I am going.
#7 How must I refocus or change this information before making life application?
As I’ve said earlier, and many times, I get information, knowledge, and understanding from many, many sources. Often there are gems sprinkled here and there in a book or an article. I take those gems, I brush them off, I repurpose them, and I use them to accomplish the purposes of my heart.
#8 How does this align with the plan God has for my life and will this bring glory to God?
In my evaluation and use of this information, am I fixing my eyes on the “unseen” (2 Corinthians [4:18])? I must anchor in the eternal perspective. One of my main purposes in life is to glorify God through my life. I have a deep love relationship with the Father and it my pleasure and my privilege to bring honor and glory to Him. This is related to the above point of my actions needing to be transformational. I am not going to walk down a path, no matter how glamorous, unless it fulfill the singular purpose of honoring and bringing glory to God.
A few days ago I heard in the heartbeat of the Father a directive cautioning me to depend more upon revelation from the Holy Spirit in crafting my future than from any other source. Things that glisten and glimmer draw our attention, but substance for a Christ-following spiritual leader is always anchored in the revelation of God. The latest and greatest is worth scrutinizing for value, but the stability of the heart of the Father as is revealed by His Spirit is my hands-down preference.