This is an adapted excerpt from Walking Together: Simple Steps for Discipleship by Ted Doering.
What is God saying? This is a question about knowledge. What is God calling me to do? This question applies that knowledge in your life. What is my next step? Here, we take that knowledge and application and put it into practice. Now, this is specifically phrased. The question is not about some long-term plan, your destiny, or a mountaintop experience. It’s literally about your next step. On a long journey, sometimes the only thing that can be done is to focus on one more step.
One Small Step
As a disciple, sometimes all you can focus on is one small step. Make a plan, and then take that step. Simple is the best way to go. Why? Because simple is hard to mess up. When we try to make a plan to seek God, we often get in our own way. What started as hearing God speak into our life might quickly turn into a burden that we have taken entirely on our own shoulders instead of seeking and trusting Him. Keeping a plan simple allows you to see what the Holy Spirit will do. Watch as a simple plan becomes a blessing, not because of your works but because of what God has done for you in the midst of it. When you hear God through His Word, apply it to your life, and then take the next step, you will see that He fulfills His promises. It might not always look like you expect—in fact, you’d be surprised how often it doesn’t—but God will work. This is not some kind of prosperity move either. There is no formula where if you seek God in a certain way, He will then bless you in the exact way you want. No, this about trusting that when you seek God, He will keep His promises.
What is God Calling Me to Do?
Let’s give this question a shot. How might we answer it when looking at the story of the prodigal son? In that passage, God is speaking of the love for His children. In this situation, it is a calling to remember that you are loved, that God has blessed you with His gifts. A simple next step might go like this: three times in the coming week, take five minutes to write down things you are grateful for in your life, taking time to pray and say thank You for them. It is simple and takes fifteen minutes throughout the span of a week. Maybe at the end of the week, take a moment to write down how this has changed your outlook.
Just Do It
Seeking after God can happen only if you do it. It is easy to talk about the complex study habits, devotionals, and resources you might use. Instead of building all kinds of complex systems, seeking and hearing God is simple: you have to just do it. Sit down with a Bible, resources, prayers, and the like, and dive into it. We will be tempted to try to find the exact right way to do it. Instead, just start. Every Christian has unique ways in which to connect while seeking God. Instead of trying to decide what works best for you first, just start and see what sticks. Ask others what works for them. Take and mold those things to your own practice. Another important aspect is to have resources that help you dig deeper—books, websites, or people—because, guaranteed, there will be a point when you come across something in Scripture you don’t understand. Let it be a speed bump and not a ditch. Have in place systems that can help you find an answer. Get in touch with a pastor or Bible study leader. That person will be more than willing to give you an answer or find one with you. Ask good questions and struggle through hard concepts and ideas. Do not let your faith remain in the liquid food stage; chew some steak. But start seeking God.
We often make walking with God more complex than it needs to be. Find simple ways to enhance your walk with Christ.