It is wonderful that God has a plan for each of our lives, and desires to guide us in the big decisions we take. It is just as remarkable that He has given the Holy Spirit to live in each Christian to constantly guide in even ‘minor matters’. Every Christian should be able to say, ‘I being in the way, the Lord led me’, Gen. 24. 27.
God’s will - what is it?
- Knowing and doing God’s will in the decisions and actions I take;
- Includes accurately discerning when not to do something – Acts 16. 6;
- Being willing, if necessary, to do something initially illogical – Acts 8. 26-29.
God’s will - why seek for it?
- ‘The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord’, Ps. 37. 23;
- We are following the example of the Lord Jesus who was ‘led by the Spirit’, Luke 4. 1, and always pleased His Father, John 8. 29;
- We are not our own as servants but ‘the servants of Christ, doing the will of God’, Eph. 6. 6.
God’s will – How to know it – the principles?
l I have never met a Christian who said he found this easy! This is intentional on God’s part; it is not to ‘keep us in the dark’, but to keep us dependent on Him. ‘We walk by faith’. I think that the following guidelines will be helpful.
- Be sincere; Am I really interested in God’s will or in manipulating Him to approve my plans? ‘In ALL thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths’, Prov. 3. 6; ‘Not my will’, Luke 22. 42; ‘If the Lord permit’, 1 Cor. 16. 7;
- Confess my sin; I can’t be truly seeking God’s will if I have not repented of going my own way, Jonah 2. 9; 3. 1;
- Pray; how often do we just not ask for directions! Even when it seems obvious what to do we should pray, Josh. 9. 14. Keep on praying until the answer comes;
- Read and learn the direct commands of the scriptures. For example, ‘This is the will of God that ye flee fornication’; ‘In everything give thanks for this is the will of God’, 1 Thess. 4. 3; 5. 18;
- Think about the principles of scripture: ‘Do all to the glory of God’, 1 Cor. 10. 31; be a good example, 1 Tim. 4. 12; be wise and remember the Lord is coming soon, Eph. 5. 16-17; consider that we will have to answer for how we have used our time and money, 1 Cor. 4. 2; behave like the Lord Jesus, 1 Pet. 2. 21;
- Be sensitive to the indwelling Spirit of God. ‘For as many as are led by the Spirit they are the sons of God’, Rom. 8. 14. His leading will never be contrary to a direct command of scripture. When this direction is accurately followed there will often be a sense of being at peace about the issue.
God’s Will - How to know it – the practice.
Be careful with circumstances; they can often be interpreted more than one way, and are best reflected on some time later rather than in the situation, e.g., Jonah went against God’s guidance and, at the time, found a boat going the way he wanted, Jonah 1. 3; conversely, Paul was going the right way and was initially shipwrecked, Acts 27;
- Discerning God’s will correctly in one part of my life does not guarantee I have it right in all parts of my life;
- If you are ‘putting out a fleece’ make sure, like Gideon, you ask for something truly miraculous;
- Be patient. God will guide, but it will be in His time;
- Remember, we will not know the ‘whole picture’ in advance. The Israelites in the wilderness were guided each day and night for many years. See the various stages of guidance, Gen. 22. 2-4. Obey the guidance you have, and the next step will be revealed.