Editor's note: This article originally appeared on Christian Personal Finance. Used with permission.
The morning of March 8, 2004 I received an email from a close friend who told me he had a “word from God” for me. Knowing the kind of life my friend lives, I gladly received it as from God. He said, “God is going to use you in ways that are very different than you have envisioned. Be aware, attentive, and ready.”
Immediately, my mind started racing, trying to figure it all out. It seems as though answers to life’s questions never come as quickly as we would like. However, since 2004 God has given me several opportunities to do things in my job, career, and various ministries that I never pictured myself doing. It was necessary that I walk through these open doors in order to stay in God’s will.
For me, one of these opportunities is helping others financially through writings such as this one. The word my friend gave me has motivated and guided me over the last 5 years, and I’m going to show you how this same word will guide you and keep you in God’s will. If you have goals and dreams as I do, it’s very important that you know how to first recognize them as God’s will for your life and then how to make them become reality.
“Be Aware, Attentive, and Ready”
The word “be” in this context implies that you are doing something. What comes after the “be” is my part, not God’s part. To get a higher paying job or to launch a new business will require action. It won’t just happen by itself. Proverbs 21:5 – “The plans of the diligent lead to profit…” So, what do you need to “be” doing?
Be aware of purpose and opportunity in every situation, particularly opportunities to meet the needs of others. While waiting for your answer, be an answer for someone else. Working that low paying job may seem pointless, but God has a plan and purpose for having you there at this time. You may be the only person that can reach that co-worker for Jesus. Dealing with that “jerk” supervisor or employee is growing your character and is valuable experience for when you become your own boss and have employees of your own. The opportunity you’ve been praying for may be right under your nose, but you have to get your mind off of yourself in order to recognize it. Be open to the impossible. Don’t limit yourself or Him. You have abilities to do things, meet needs, and earn money you never thought possible. Dreams don’t have to stay dreams. Be aware.
Be attentive to God’s voice. It’s one thing to recognize an open door, but it’s an entirely different thing to actually walk through it. God may be speaking to you right now about a dream or opportunity. You might think it’s impossible because the door just isn’t open. Many times, it’s not that the door isn’t open; it’s that the devil has hung a curtain of “fear” over the opening. However, the same God who gave you the dream and the awareness of the door to begin with will also give you wisdom, knowledge, and courage to walk through it. But, you must be attentive to his voice. You have to do things in His timing and in His way. Ecclesiastes 3:1 – “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Very rarely does God birth something in you and it be manifested immediately (Just ask ladies who have gone through pregnancy.) It takes time. If you get ahead of God, you’ll find that you went through the wrong door. If you don’t have 100% peace that taking that new job is God’s will, don’t do it, no matter how bad you want to get out of where you are at or how big the paycheck will be.
Opportunities are for an appointed time. You’ll know when the time is right if you wait to hear from God. This can only be accomplished by spending significant and quality time in the Bible and in prayer. After doing so, an open door will invariably be in front of you. The level of peace in your spirit will tell you whether or not the door was opened by God. Maybe your time and season is now. Be attentive.
Be ready – make necessary preparations for receiving your answer. If you’re not willing to set goals and work toward them, then your dream will remain just a dream. That better paying job, unity in your relationships, or sense of purpose in your life will not come. Even if you have recognized an open door and have clearly heard from God that it’s His will for you life, you still have to do your part.
We blame way too many things on bad luck. The philosopher, Seneca, once said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Many opportunities are lost because we aren’t prepared for them when they arise. In other words, we can make our own luck, good or bad. The Bible says to make the most of every opportunity (see Ephesians 5:16 Colossians 4:5 . Can you name 5 things you have done in the last 3 months to make the most of your finances, your marriage, or your relationship with God? Work like no one is going to give you anything. Don’t expect problems to solve themselves. God is going to bless you and help you, but he will usually do so by giving you the tools with which to construct your own blessing.
Financially speaking, examples of things you can do to prepare to step through an open door of increase are:
2. Prepare a financial budget, in faith, based on how much money you want to make (in addition to your current budget). This shows God that you are prepared to manage more money before he actually gives it to you.
3. Read books on how to prepare resumes and prepare for interviews. There is a reason that you’re having difficulty getting hired or even getting an interview. Read up, and find out what you can do to improve your chances. Everyone has something they can learn.
4. Read books in your area of interest. Many people make money doing what they love and enjoy. Why shouldn’t you? Remember, don’t limit yourself or God. You serve a God who specializes in the impossible. An opportunity may be right in front of you. Mark 9:23 – “…all things are possible to him who believes.”
5. No negative words or thoughts! Be positive at all times. Constantly remind yourself and others that your life is in God’s hands and He will open the door in His timing. No quitting (see Philippians 1:6, Philippians 4:8).
My goals and dreams are still in the process of being met. But, this word from God has helped me to stay focused, see the impossible, and not give up. I must stay aware of opportunities, remain attentive to God’s voice, and be willing to prepare for those opportunities. It takes all three: Be aware, attentive, and ready, and you will find yourself in God’s will and your dreams coming true.
Christian Personal Finance is a resource dedicated to building God's Kingdom and helping others through money.
Publication date: October 18, 2012