‘Jesus only did what he saw his Father doing’ (John 5: 16-30). But how do we make his habits our own?

We’ve got the sense that God is saying something to us – we’ve heard the words, and hopefully you’re getting in the habit of writing them down so they don’t get lost (or thinking of the parable of the sower; snatched away, unrooted, or choked).

Getting that sense of God speaking is often as far as it goes for people, myself included. However it’s not usually as far as God’s purpose for underlining whatever it is he’s saying, is intended to go. If we want to see what the Father is doing, we need to look. Looking for where God’s intention for this particular ‘seed’ of his word needs to be planted is the next step around the discipleship cycle. If we want to see; we need to look.

Generally speaking we discover where God’s purposes are going with whatever God is speaking to us by looking in one of two places:

  • My life. God may be speaking for me to look at something which needs to be cultivated in my life, such as one facet of the fruit of the spirit. Something may need to be addressed: I need to name my sin, my lack of forgiveness, my hardness of heart towards someone or my avoidance of something he’s previously highlighted.
  • The lives of others I have opportunity to engage with. On first hearing from God, it’s not always clear what exactly it is that he is saying or what God intends for me with this particular seed of his word. When this happens, I need to simply take the words with me into the day or further ahead. If I keep my ‘eyes of faith’ open, if I keep God’s words as a reference point in conversations with friends and colleagues, as well as encounters with strangers, I do actually ‘see’ where the particular seed God has shown me can be planted, as well as the wider general significance and truth of which it speaks.

Looking is the step at which we begin to identify where God’s word is going. In reality this will look like God cultivating one aspect of the great commandment or the great commission (He is looking to reproduce his DNA in us and others). I always write down in no more than one sentence whatever it is I see following on from what I’ve noted under ‘listening’.

Before you move on make sure you can answer the following three questions. God is speaking to us all regularly, not merely to increase our knowledge of how He engaged with people 2000 years ago, or even how he walked and talked in our world in the person of Jesus Christ, but to continue the outworking of his purposes through people like us:

  • Am I committed to looking for where that which has grabbed my attention needs to be sown?
  • Am I practising looking with my eyes of faith in my everyday experiences?
  • Do I have a plan which includes time each week for me to reflect on where I’ve seen the need for these words to be planted and write it down?

If you’d like a discipleship coaster to help you round the discipleship cycle, get in touch with Alex Drew.

For a simple format to help you write down what you’re hearing and seeing click here.


Nigel Coles

Nigel is Regional Team Leader of the West of England Baptist Network. He facilitates the life of the webnet team and oversees the missional strategy for the region. He also works to develop missional strategy over a wider geographical area with our partner Associations and Baptists Together. Nigel believes that when Jesus sent out seventy-two others, he meant everyone who was there, and this passion to help everyone find their way in the mission of God is what inspired the development of Seventy-two.