Let’s face it, God does the bulk of the positive and spiritually significant work in the world; our parts are miniscule. Yet He involves us. How is that?
Perhaps we can liken it to a dance for couples, a dance comprised of set steps that can be arranged in different sequences as the lead dancer chooses. We are like the dance partner, following God’s lead. For a couple to dance well, the follower needs to know the dance steps, not to lead but to gracefully follow the lead dancer, including their spontaneous moves. Dancing with God is about learning the steps so we’re ready to follow His subtle cues.
Jesus spoke of God’s dance when He said, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19) Jesus never indicated that He sought feelings of God’s presence; however He evidently watched for signs of God in action, and He knew how to respond. Being like Jesus means learning to dance with God the way Jesus did.
So, what are the dance steps and cues of God in the Gospels and Acts? There are fourteen that serve as steps, cues or both, so this will be a longer piece. I suggest you take extra time, perhaps several days, to work through them and make them central to your dance with God.
1. Things happen that only God can do, often with significant timing: The Spirit conceiving and anointing Jesus and coming at Pentecost. Angels opening prison doors. (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:13, 35; John 1:32; Acts 2:1-4; 9:3-9; 10:17; 10:44; 16:14).
2. God explains events or announces them by angels, visions, dreams etc. (Matt. 1:20-21; 2:12, 13, 19-20, 22-23; Luke 1:11-17, 26-38; 2:8-14, 26-35; John 1:6-8, 32-34; Acts 5:19-20; 8:26-30; 9:10-16, 17-18; 10:3-6, 11-16, 19-20; 13:2; 16:6-10; 18:9-10; 21:11-14; 22:18-21; 23:11; 27:23-26.) Stephen’s summary of Israel’s history shows how much God used these things to direct significant events (Acts 7:1-38).
3. Prophecy comes true. (Matt. 1:22-23; 2:4-6, 23; 3:2-3; 4:13-16; 8:17; 11:3-5, 10; 26:54-56; Mark 1:2-4; Luke 4:16-21; 18:31-33; Acts 4:28.)
4. Signs pointing to things that God is doing. (Matt. 2:2; 3:16-17; Mark 1:9-10; Luke 3:21-22; 7:19-23; Acts 2:5-12, 37, 42; 8:5-7.)
5. Faith in a person is a cue that God can work or will work. (Matt. 8:10-13; 9:18, 22, 28-29; 15:28; 21:21-22; Mark 5:30-34, 40; Luke 7:2-10; Acts 3:16; 14:9-10.)
6. Needs (such as sickness caused by sin or demonic involvement) and other opportunities to demonstrate miraculous power and God’s glory are also cues (John 9:1-3; 11:4). The news about Jesus spread because of this. Jesus never did signs to prove Himself to the cynical. Signs were always pointed to the greatness and goodness of God. (Matt. 8:14-15, 16, 23-27; 14:14-21; Luke 5:12-15; Acts 3:1-3; 28:8-9.) Needs also led to the mobilizing of the disciples to meet those needs Matt. 9:36-10:5ff.
Faith and needs are combined with compassion in Matt. 20:29-34
7. Dislocation. Rejection by religion can be used by God; rejection forces a person to find a new community centered on following Jesus. Perhaps this happened to the blind man who was kicked out of the synagogue (John 9:34-38). This could be part of the reason why sinners, tax collectors, and Gentiles enter the kingdom more easily than the religious (Matt. 21:31-32; Luke 5:30-32). Similarly, God puts new wine in new skins (Matt. 9:16-17).
8. Revelation. It comes to babes, not to the wise and intelligent (Matt. 11:25-26; Luke 24:31-32, 35). It’s the drawing of the Father of those who learn from Him (John 6:44-45).
9. People who are ready to understand and to change. Perhaps they are humble, repentant, or interested like the Ethiopian eunuch and Cornelius (Matt. 13:1-23; Luke 7:44-50; 19:1-10; John 5:6; Acts 2:37; 8:34-36; 10:2-4).
10. The revealed will and ways of God. Jesus responded to things that He saw often because of specific Scriptures about God’s will and ways. (Matt. 21:12-16, 33-46; 26:54, 56; Mark 14:49; Luke 24:25-27, 44-47.)
11. The Spirit impels (Mark 1:12; Acts 16:6).
12. Demons manifest, perhaps in an attempt to intimidate and stop God working (Matt. 8:28-34; Mark 1:21-26, 34; Luke 4:33-36, 41; Acts 13:6-12; 16:16-18).
13. A sense of His presence (Luke 24:32).
14. Seeds that have already been sown and perhaps watered (John 4:35-38).