During a recent conference in Georgia my friend Barbara Wentroble taught an insightful message from the book of Ruth. She pointed out that Ruth, a hopeless young gentile widow, never would have inherited God’s blessings if she had stayed in the forsaken land of Moab. She had to leave her home and travel to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, Naomi. Once Ruth was repositioned, she discovered God’s salvation and favor—and she ended up in the lineage of the Messiah.
The Bible is full of stories of people who had to move from one place to another to align with God’s plans. Abram and Sarai left their relatives in Ur; Moses had to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt; Nehemiah had to travel from Persia to Jerusalem. In the New Testament, Peter had to go to Cornelius’ house in Caesarea; Paul had to sail to Rome; and God had to scatter the disciples (see Acts 8:1) so they would fulfill the Great Commission.
None of these transitions were easy. We prefer the comfort of the familiar and the security of a steady paycheck. But faith is a journey, and it often leads us to places we would never choose on our own.
As I have pondered Barbara’s message, I’ve found myself asking questions about my own alignment. Am I in the right place to receive from God? Is He calling me to shift in any way—either geographically or in my relationships? Many respected prophetic voices have been talking recently about alignment because it is a crucial issue for God’s people. When the Lord is getting ready to do a new thing, He repositions us.
God wants us in the right place at the right time. Are you in proper alignment? Here are a few questions to ponder:
1. Are you part of a faith community? I meet many Christians today who tell me they have stopped attending a local church, either because they were wounded by a pastor or because they feel church is irrelevant to them. I don’t doubt that the wounds are real. But to pull away from the church is to cut yourself off from the fullness of His blessing. As imperfect as the church is, it is still His plan. God’s anointing has never rested on Lone Rangers who are motivated by an independent spirit.
Corrie ten Boom once wrote: “When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles.” Please don’t let bitterness or disillusionment give Satan an advantage in your life.
2. Do you have mentors? Oftentimes the reason we are not where we need to be spiritually is that we are not connected to the people who can help us reach our full potential. Ruth needed Naomi to reach her destiny; Elisha needed Elijah; and Timothy needed Paul. Genuine discipleship is not about a person controlling you—it is about having an older, more experienced Christian in your life to provide loving encouragement and wise counsel. Don’t try to do life alone. God wants to place special people in your path to propel you forward.
3. Are you in any unhealthy relationships? Abraham had to separate from Lot, and David had to leave Saul’s house. Sometimes people can hinder our fruitfulness in ministry, especially if they refuse to submit to God’s agenda. Don’t be unequally yoked. Lot’s wife died because her relationships in Sodom held a vice-grip on her soul, preventing her from relocating into the safety of God’s will. Now is the time to escape from toxic people who are thwarting you.
4. Are you in the center of God’s will? People constantly ask me how they can discern the will of God for their lives. I don’t believe there is a cookie-cutter formula, but it is not difficult to know God’s will if we will (1) read the Bible consistently; (2) pray fervently; (3) develop a submissive will, and (4) expect to hear His voice. The key to hearing God lies in your willingness to obey.
God still speaks today. Just as He told Abram to leave his father’s country and go “to the land which I will show you” (Gen. 12:1, NASB), He can give you clear directions. If you desire to know His plans for you, He will reveal them. He does not dangle carrots in front of us, nor does He play emotional games to keep us in the dark. He beckons us to align with His will, and His greatest blessings await us when we make the faith journey.
J. LEE GRADY is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. To listen to Barbara Wentroble’s message, “Aligning for Success,” given at the Bold Venture Women’s Leadership Gathering on Feb. 24, 2012, click here.
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