Everything that I have read or heard about ‘opportunity’ has been focused towards ‘taking it’, ‘seizing it’, ‘and making the most of it’. Even scripture says “Make the most of every opportunity… ” (Ephesians 5:16). No pressure. But what if I told you that not every opportunity that presents itself should be taken?
Now don’t get me wrong, the decision to take an opportunity can be a great thing, actually it’s how I started out in ministry. But how do you know if you should take an opportunity? Our decisions are influenced by our personal will, which is influenced by our emotions and thoughts, which can lead us astray.
For me, this season of my life and ministry is one of waiting and trusting God with my future. Honestly, it’s easier said than done and probably the most frustrating emotional experience I’ve been through to date. I am filled with vision and a sense of purpose, but I find myself waiting. And I don’t understand the season or its length, or what ‘it’ is that I am waiting for exactly. I have a dream in my heart and over time I have been offered many roles and responsibilities in organisations, churches and ministries. To the shock of a few I have taken none of them, not because they weren’t great opportunities or with great people, but purely because I sensed that this wasn’t ‘it’.
But what is ‘it’? How do you know what decision to make when you don’t know what ‘it’ is? Not knowing what ‘it’ looks like. Waiting for the unknown can be a frustrating experience for the soul. Yet I am filled with certainty in my spirit that when ‘it’ comes, I will know what ‘it’ is. But for now, I can tell you I know what ‘it’ is not, and I come to that conclusion with no regrets, which allows me to live out the mission I find myself in now.
This is an individual journey and discovery of obedience and decision-making, however there are filters you can use to decide if the opportunity in front of you is to be seized, or not. Here are the filters I use to make decisions when considering an opportunity.
1. Pray. The Spirit of God in me is often the clearest indication. I get a check in my spirit I can either shake or heed. Ps 32:8 “The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Just like you, I have made mistakes when I have gone against the check in my spirit and I have paid a great price. We often learn from past mistakes and recognise this over time. The comforting thought is, “His eyes are on us,” despite our mistakes or when we end up off track.
2. Does it lines up with the will of God for your life? God reveals His will through His Spirit and His Word. Ps 119:105 “His word is a lamp unto my feet.” It may not be a floodlight revealing all that is ahead but enough for you to see the now or next step. Let His word guide you.
3. Wise counsel around my life. I have mentors and leaders that help with perspective, wisdom and advice. Prov 11:14 Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers. Make sure you have these people in your life, as many mistakes can be avoided by asking people who have walked the journey ahead of you.
With all that in mind I decided not to take the role that was offered. After working through these three steps, I concluded it didn’t align with where I sense I am assigned.
The decisions we make determine our destiny and any short-term decisions have to be weighed against long term goals. Not every opportunity is an opportunity to be taken. Your alignment becomes your assignment. Pray and chose wisely and if you make a mistake remember God is God of your past, present and future. In Acts 7-9 it tells the story of Saul who thought he was doing the right thing. God found him and brought Ananias into his life to point him in the new and right direction. Trust that God has your life in his hands.
I have come to realise the faith journey is one of decision-making with wisdom, obedience and patience. Hebrews 6:15 “Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.” So I wait for ‘it’ in expectation, of the fulfillment of the promise.
As scripture says, “Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do” (Ephesians 5:17). Walk in alignment with the Spirit and His Word, and with wise counsel you will walk into your assignment