Being Led by God
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8,9).
How do you know what thoughts are your thoughts versus God's thoughts? One of the great paradoxes of walking with God is discerning the difference between a "natural idea" versus a "God-idea." One of my mentors challenged me one day to make sure that my ideas and the actions I take are directed by God and not from my own reasoning. But being in a marketing profession, there is a constant rub between the "natural" and the "spiritual."
There are three places from which a thought or idea originate: 1) Our natural man, 2) Satan, and 3) The Holy Spirit. There are a few ways to discern from which place a thought is coming. If a thought comes into your mind that you know you would never have thought of, and it might be something you would not normally consider doing. This is likely God speaking.
I once participated in a conference when an offering was being taken to make up for a poorly organized event that left the organizers very short on funds. It was clearly a case of poor management. Nevertheless, I prayed. I assumed I would give a token gift. However, the figure that suddenly came into my mind was $1,000. I argued with God and struggled with my attitude. I thought He must have two zeros out of place! But I obeyed - as I knew that was not my idea.
In order to be obedient, we must not make advance decisions about a particular matter. Each of our decisions must be submitted to the Lord for His counsel to us, not just based on our reasoning.