3 Ways to Know if You Should Stay or Go

Evan Doyle

How should you respond when you feel like it might be time to move on?

Have you ever felt like a change of scenery would be nice? 

What should you do when it seems like Jesus has left you behind in the mundane, ordinary predictable patterns of life?

It’s a challenging place to be. 

If you’re like me, when you gave your life to God you told Him you’d go anywhere and do anything.

After all, Jesus did say:

Matthew 16:24 NIV

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

And, no doubt, there’s been opportunity to experience amazing travels and do great things while following God’s lead.

But what about when we feel unsettled or frustrated?

How can we know which step to take or which direction to go? 

Should I stay or move on?

You may not like the answer: Sometimes following God means staying put.

Yep, sometimes the most daring, obedient step you can take is staying right where you are.

Let me explain why using the following text:

Luke 8:38-39 NIV

38The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

Imagine the excitement of this new believer, he was ready for anything!

Following the Messiah throughout the region quickly rose to the top of his to do list, yet Jesus sent him home.


Does that word sound boring to you? Have you ever wanted out of “home”?

Why did Jesus send the guy home?

Maybe it was because Jesus was no longer accepting applications for potential disciples?

Or, was it because the new believer wasn’t ready for that type of ministry?

Maybe Jesus ran out of exciting plans when this guy was born?

Maybe all Jesus had for him was to stick around his hometown with the same people, same views, same job, and dare I say… the same church.

I don’t think any of the above thoughts are true and we should guard our hearts from wondering the same about our own lives too.

There may come a time when God will ask you to move from familiar settings. Before you decide to leave, first consider that a change in you rather than a change of “home” could be all that is needed to completely turn things around.

The following three guidelines will help you to determine if following God means that you should stay put:

1. Be Wise.

Notice in the above passage that the man “begged” Jesus to go with Him but obeyed when Jesus had other plans for him.

God has established authority within our lives and it will always serve us best to submit our aspirations and plans to the key influencers in our life. This could be a parent, a pastor, an employer or mentor.

How often do we head out without adhering to counsel from those who care about us the most?

I’ve heard these types of leaders in our life referred to as “grey heads”, people who have already been where we want to go. They’re those who are older, wiser and more experienced. Those who we can seek godly advice from. 

If you do not have a couple “grey heads” in your life begin to identify them.

2.  Be Faithful.

When things become difficult it’s easier to lean away from the trouble.

Sometimes we mask self-promotion, impatience and immaturity with words and phrases like, I’m called.  It’s a step of faith. Or, mission. When really, it’s just an attempt to leave a place of discomfort or challenge.

Faithfulness is a sign of maturity because it is not always the easiest or most appealing choice to make.

Be faithful where God has put you and wait for Him to send you in your calling. Just because you feel called to be or do something does not mean that you should go today.

Robert Morris explains it this way:  A calling is confirmation that you need to be prepared. The sending is confirmation that God has empowered you to do go. 

The sending will take place after you have been faithful and trustworthy with what God has entrusted to you now.

How can you interpret the difference between the calling and the sending? 

How can you know if you’re being immature or impatient?

How can you determine if you should stay or go?

Ask the following questions to help you:

1.  What do the “grey heads” in my life think?

2.  Have I been faithful with what has already been entrusted to me?

3.  Is there the slightest hint of guilt, boredom, or impatience within me? If so, you may need to check your heart again as to why you really want to go.

Concerning the man in the above passage, he did just what Jesus told him to do and it proved to be very productive. Which leads us to the next point

3. Be Fruitful.

Are you already producing fruit where you are?

The man in Luke 8 went home and simply told how much God had done for him. In Mark 5:20 the same story is detailed and it says that the people of his hometown were amazed!

In other words, he was effective and fruitful right where he was. It was unnecessary for him to go somewhere else other than where he was already planted.

I challenge you to look at home in a new and fresh way.

God may move you from what is now home. But, without the right attitude “home” will always be unsatisfying and predictable.

For now, maybe following God means staying put. Like the man in Luke 8, let God send you home with a new perspective and things will change, even if you’re all that needed to.

Evan Doyle is a campus pastor in Southeast Indiana.  He also blogs at dailychristianhelp.com to help other leaders strengthen their ministry, avoid frustration and grow their church.

very informative and helpful in my decision to move on;
do I stay or do I believe God is calling me to move on. By joymcc150@gmail.com

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