How do I know the will of God for my life?
This is a question that plagues most sincere Christians at one time or another. It isn’t an easy question to answer, for the answers are complex. I will try to outline a few truths, however, that have proven very helpful to me. These are taken from the book and workbook entitled: “Experiencing God” by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King. (Lifeway Press, Nashville, TN) This series is a must for any Christian who sincerely desires to know God’s will for his or her life.
I have often said that it’s too bad God doesn’t still communicate with us like He did in Bible times. After all, I haven’t seen any burning bushes lately. God hasn’t spoken to me in any dreams. I haven’t received any angel messengers. There aren’t any prophets around that I can consult with as the kings of old did, and no high priest with special garments. And, of course, Jesus isn’t still here among us. No, the Biblical methods of communication are no longer widely used. Nevertheless, God still communicates with us in ways that we can understand. We just need to learn how to listen!
How can we learn to listen? Jesus Himself said: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.” (John 5:19-20). Jesus found out where He was to join in God’s plan by “seeing” what His father was doing. And God only revealed His will to His Son because of a love relationship between them. Knowing God’s will doesn’t come from a program or method. It comes from having a working love relationship with a Person, and that person is God.
It is important for us to understand that God is always at work around us. “Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day . . .” (John 5:17). WE must learn to watch for signs of where He is working. Then, through our relationship with God, He reveals His will and invites us to join Him where He is already at work: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13).
But how does God “speak” to us? John 14:26: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Later, Jesus promises that “when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13). God speaks to us now through the Holy Spirit!
But what avenues does the Holy Spirit use to communicate God’s will?
First of all, God speaks to us through the Bible, His Word. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Ps 119:105). A person can’t understand spiritual truth in the Bible, however, unless the Spirit of God reveals it. “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor 2:14-15). When we are sincerely searching for guidance, the Holy Spirit will guide us to the counsels we need.
Secondly, God uses the Holy Spirit to speak to us through prayer. Prayer isn’t a one-way street. We have to pray, and we need to listen. Remember. God doesn’t need our prayers, He knows we need to pray, and this is why the Bible admonishes us to: “pray continually” (1 Thess 5:17). When we pray, we need to anticipate that the Holy Spirit will communicate messages to us from God. He already knows what God has ready for us. He tells us what He hears from the Father. “He [the Holy Spirit] will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:14) The Holy Spirit guides us when we pray. Often, during prayer, the Holy Spirit will impress ideas, words, or scriptures upon your mind. You will see a pattern beginning to develop—a pattern between what you feel the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you from the Bible, and what He is impressing on your mind during prayer. Watch for these patterns!
Finally, God also speaks to us by the Holy Spirit through circumstances. It is important to realize, however, that circumstance is not God’s only method of revealing His will, neither is it His primary method. How often do we feel we are doing God’s will, only to have problems arise? And how often do we say, “Well, I guess it wasn’t God’s will after all!” Instead, we need to recognize that sometimes God allows problems so that we can grow in our faith, and so that we can learn something more about Him. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-5). So, when you feel you are doing God’s will, yet difficulties arise, take it back to God in Bible Study and prayer. If the Holy Spirit continues to convict you that what you are doing is the will of God, take a step out into faith. Trust Him to open new doors of opportunity, adjust your life to the new circumstances, then obey and “experience” God at work not only around you, but through you!
The first step in knowing the will of God in one’s life is to get down on your hands and knees and ask God what his plan for your life is. Then believe in your heart that you are in the will of God and don’t have any doubts. Its that simple with God. Man is the one who complicates things.
1 Chron. 12:32
Ps. 25:4 106:15 139:16
Pr. 3:6 16:3
Jer. 1:5 18:2 29:12-13 43:7
John 4:1 6:39
I ask myself sometimes, how do I know in a situation when I have two options which way God wants me to go? How do I know when to change jobs? Or if I should stay where I’m at now? May ask how do I know what school to put my children in? These are some questions many of us may ask ourselves. As Christians, God has a plan for our life. God definitely has a will for you and for me. If you look up the will of God and Gods will, you will find in the New Testament that the phrases fall into two categories.
One is God’s moral will and the second one is, God’s personal will. 1.} Gods moral will in scripture is the dos and donts. Thou shalt do this and thou shalt not do this. For instance, peter says that it is Gods will that we obey human government. Thess. 4: 3-4, Paul writes that it is the will of God that we be sanctified, that we abstain from moral impurity, also in Bible it says ,This is my will. Gods moral will plays an important role.
In John 14:21, Jesus puts it this way, he who has my commandments and keeps them it is he who loves me and he who loves me will be loved by my father and I will love him and manifest myself to him. When we live in obedience, we are consistently in step with Gods thoughts and Gods ways. Gods moral will is clear commands, this is what you do and this is what you don’t do.
2. } Gods personal will. This is his the things that he has specifically designed for you. Paul says in 1 Corn. 1:1 that he has been called an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God. God didn’t call everybody to be an apostle, that was Gods specific will for Paul. Lets look at how to discover Gods will. First, why do we even have to discover Gods will? If I’m a child and he is my heavenly father, why doesn’t he just make it plain? Why all the pressure, tears, fasting and praying?? The answers lies behind the whole issue of knowing Gods will.
Think about a time when you had to make a big decision. Didn’t you pray and ask God to be in his will? I know when I pray I say, God, let thy will be done. What about wisdom? Ephesians 5:15, see then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise. God has called us to ask of every invitation, every opportunity, every family decision and every important question. How many do you hear say, is it the wise thing to do? I know I do. Thats why when I pray I ask God to let his will be done, not my will. God doesn’t want you to make foolish decisions.
Read Proverbs, its full of wisdom cause he wants us to make wise decisions. The Holy spirit has an role in knowing the will of God. The holy spirit shows us the truth. Remember what Jesus said in the upper room? John 16:13, he said, when he, the spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into ALL truth.
God made us IN his image, not perfect like Him. Therefore, we sometimes make mistakes, even about what we are SO sure we feel He is telling us to do. When we do make these mistakes, our Gracious Father will let us know and take us out of the situation, one way or another. I REALLY feel if we but sit still and just listen, He WILL show us the way we are to go.
I lean on the promise of: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” Proverbs 3:6
First, let’s look at a couple of verses that may give us a clue.
Proverbs 3:6-AV In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
John 13:34-AV A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
John 13:35-AV By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1John 2:27-AV But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
Matthew 25:40-AV And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.
Matthew 25:45-AV Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me.
When a person has surrendered their life to Jesus, they can trust Him to teach them what they should know, and guide them in all their paths. Opportunities will present themselves, and the Christian will know and recognise what they are expected to do. We are not all called to do monumental things. Mother Theresa for the greater part of her life did little things for people but her whole life became monumental. It is our duty to stay close to Christ, and if we do that, He will show us when and what He wants us to do. Then we must be willing to ‘do’ whatever it is. Excuses like – “I can’t afford that” or “I couldn’t have such a person in my house”, won’t do you any good. God will provide. As I understand it if I refused to use my assets to do His work, He would in all probability take them from me as a means of chastening me. He is a Boss who will not take no for an answer – look what He did to Jonah. Nevertheless, the rewards for obedience are worth having.
I have not seen a burning bush or a face in the clouds or anything dramatic like that. Nevertheless, from time to time He drops things on my lap, and at that time I ‘know’ what He expects of me. Like a couple of weeks ago, the doorbell rang, and when I got to the door there were two little faces looking up at me and a man running out the front gate. He later came back and apologized for his haste – he had to go to an urgent appointment.
Seems the mother was a drug abuser and had been staying with him while he was trying to help her. Police took her in for an unpaid fine and sent her off to jail for a short stay. This man was a taxi driver and lived alone so could not look after two little children. He was attempting to deliver them to their uncle – another ‘drug scene’ young man who lives with my delinquent son. He was not home and the kids said he might be at my place, as he often is when hungry, so they finished up here.
Well, to cut a long story short we are now also caring for the mother, a woman of the ripe old age of 22. There is some risk involved since she is not only a alcohol and drug abuser but also a thief who has in the past, stolen from those who take her in. She says she wants to reform and does not want to go back to jail. I have no doubt God has sent her to my wife and I to help her get straightened out. The situation is putting us to considerable inconvenience and some cost, and is not something we would have gone looking for. Still, we have the support of the members of my church who are at present gathering household items etc. to get her started in a Housing Commission rental home. This second? or perhaps, last chance she is getting did not just ‘happen’, it was organised by God, Who gave the job to one of His servants. I suppose I should feel privileged rather than just exhausted. I’m getting too old to enjoy the constant company of little children – would prefer small doses.
That is just a recent (current) example in my life and there have been many others in the past. How many have had opportunities to do God’s will and have refused? Remember, He told us “In as much as ye do it (or do it not) to one of these my brethren, ye do it (or do it not) unto Me”
Leading a Christian life is very much a case of self sacrifice. You have to be prepared to put yourself out, even at risk, to do God’s will. I suppose one could say that a Christian should not be frightened of getting his or her ‘hands dirty’.
There are many who are regular church goers, who lead good lives, who would never be seen in the company of what they would call ‘sinners’. But it is these people who Jesus came to save, and if those He has already saved don’t take the message to those who need it, they will one day have to explain ‘why’ to Jesus. Here is a little poem.
This little poem by Robert Pollock is offered.
“And evermore the thunders, murmuring, spoke From out the darkness, uttering loud these words, Which every guilty conscience echoed back: ‘Ye knew your duty, but ye did it not.’ Dread words! That barred excuse, and threw the weight Of every man’s perdition on himself, Directly home… ‘Ye knew your duty, but ye did it not!’”