Has God ever asked you to do something? Has He ever spoken to you at all? I mean, have you ever heard His voice, or received direction from Him in another way? If so, how did you answer? Have you ever told God "No"? In other words, how do you know what God wants from you and how would you answer?
We recently studied Luke 5 : 1-11 in our Young Adults group. Jesus is teaching near a big lake when crowds of people force him to board a small fishing boat and put out a little from shore. Once safely distanced from the crowd, He sits down in the vessel and teaches the people from the boat. I suspect His voice carried well along the surface of the water to the ears of the audience.
After He finished, He does something unexpected. He asked Simon to take the boat out into deeper water. He says, "... let down the nets for a catch". There it is... Jesus is asking Simon to do something. Now... if I were Simon, I would have said something like, " Dude... I am the fishing pro! You are a wandering preacher. I believe I can do this fishing-thing much better than you." Not smart you say? Well, here's what Simon actually said: "... We've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything." Sounds like a definitive "No" to me! It's a valid and logical argument, right? But, Simon continues... "But, because you say so, I will let down the nets". Simon doesn't sound real optimistic here, but because Jesus asked him to do so, he will.
God has never spoken to me audibly, but He has in a variety of others ways. The most common way is through His written word.... the Bible. I read it often, almost everyday - certainly weekly. The Bible is chocked full of examples worth following. I can find leadership examples, relationship examples, marriage examples, forgiveness examples, financial examples, plus a myriad of others. Through these examples, God shows me the right way... in His own way, He's speaking to me. He also speaks through circumstances around me, and though other spiritually mature people with whom I interact. But, His word is clearly the mechanism that directs me the most. This is how I know what to do.
So how do I respond? Usually, like Simon, I think my way is better. I think I know how to do it better than God does. Yep, it's true. I think I can play God better that He can.... I can use my own skills, strengths, logic, relationships, connections, problem solving, etc. Basically, when God asks me to do something, I often say "No". That's initially what Simon said. But almost in the same breath, Simon realizes that Jesus is special and that, maybe, just maybe, he should do what He asks.
Simon follows Jesus' request and ends up catching so many fish that their nets began to break. They actually had to get folks from the other boats to help haul in the nets. The boats became so heavy that they began to sink. Needless to say, the fishermen were astonished! By following a simple request from Jesus, they realized that nothing is impossible with God, and that there is benefit in following God's way of doing things.... in other words, God's plans.
So, you want to know how to make God laugh? Tell Him "your" plans....