Ephesians 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
Invariably, if one of the workshops in a Christian conference is “knowing the Will of God”, half the people sign up for it, even if there are ten other choices.
People want to know God’s will … and they’re confused about it. It was probably to this confusion that Paul was speaking when he said, “do not be unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
When God says “understand” it’s a command. So let’s spend (invest) some time in understanding the subject, with specific reference to our lives.
There are three concepts that are basic to understanding God’s specific will for our lives.
First, we need to be committed to ding God’s will.
Second, we have to realize that God is already working within you to will and do of His good pleasure..
Third, we must launch out.
COMMIT YOURSELF TO DOING THE WILL OF GOD
God doesn’t reveal His will to curiosity seekers. You can’t come to Him saying, “Tell me what you want for me, and then I’ll decide whether I want to do it.”
God wants a commitment from you to do what He says before He reveals what that is.
That’s what Jesus was referring to in John 7:17.
John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
If you’re willing to do, then you will know.
Once you’ve committed to doing God’s will, the knowing comes easy.
Does that scare you?
If that’s what you feel, then you’re listening to exactly the same line the devil has used since the temptation of Eve.
Satan has a two pronged attack: What says is not true. God’s decisions are not for your best.
God says the opposite:
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
You expect the best? God will give you your expectation.
Romans 12:2 informs us that God’s will is “good, and acceptable, and perfect.”
God’s choices for you are the very best ones that could be made, because He knows you and He can look over all the possible options, to select from the thousand of options just that one which fits you best. That’s something you can’t do for yourself.
The option you choose on your own might be the closest-to-perfect one you could find right now, but how do you know that in some other place there isn’t another option that would suit you even better?
When God promises that His choices for you will be perfect, it’s because He knows all the options, and because the goodness of His choices is based on the kindness of His character and on the reliability of His Word.
Don’t be afraid to give God a free hand in leading you. If you must be afraid, fear only choosing to listen to Satan’s lies aboaut God.
HOW TO KNOW WHETHER YOU ARE COMMITTED TO GOD’S WILL
By looking at your daily behavior.
God is not as concerned about where you live or what you do for a living as He is about what you are. Paul wrote:
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
If you are doing everything you do for the glory of God, to the best of your ability, God will lead you into activities, careers and locations that He has planned for you.
God will not necessarily send you into “the ministry”. In the “faith gallery” of Hebrews 11, there was only one “minister”, Samuel. The rest are farmers, kings, shepherds and even a prostitute. But only one “minister”, and he was asleep when God called him.
God checks the character of people, and when they are obeying day-by-day His obvious commands for them, then He is free to trust them with His leading.
So when you are wondering whether you’ll be willing to do God’s will in your key decision, ask first: “Am I now doing what I know God wants for me?”
What does God want of you? To be honest, to be kind to family and colleagues and the grouchy neighbor, And as you do these things on a daily basis, it will become easier and easier to know and do God’s will in the crossroads of your life.
BELIEVE THAT GOD IS WORKING WITHIN YOU
Philippians 2:13 tells us that God is working in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure.
If you are committed to doing th Will of God, you can know that God is already working in you.
One of the most obvious ways in which God is at work in you is through His Word. Many issues are clearly dealt with in the Word. You can go right ahead and do them without being unsure whether He wants you to or not.
Another way the Lord can prompt you is by you hearing a need. That’s how World Vision International was born, when Bob Pierce took a trip to the Far East after World War II and sw the tremendous needs there.
A third way that God is at work within you, is through your brain! Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, used to say, “The Lord gave you a lot of leading when He gave you a brain”
So, faced with a decision, make a list of the alternatives, and think through the consequences of each choice. Jesus said “Seek and you will find” Luke 11:9. Among other things, this tells you to seek information when you must make a decision.
Proverbs 24:6 tells us that in the multitude of counselors there is safety. That’s because a multitude of counselors provides a multitude of sources of information and perspectives on the matter in question. Seek a balance of information. Get both sides of each story.
Seek information from people who have what you need to know, people who are doing what you want to do.
God also uses your desires Don’t write them off t once as ridiculous or impractical. Start doing whatever seems feasible right now, and see how God leads, perhaps by opening up other opportunities.
Your desires may be God at work in you.
You’ve done all the finding you need for now. You won’t know more about God’s will until you move into action.
The formula is in Matthew 7:7-8.
Ask – Seek – Knock (which incidentally reduces to the acronym ASK)
So Ask: Tell God you want to do His will, not yours, and ask Him to guide you.
Then Seek to find God’s will by checking your peace level. Colossians 3:15. Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,…
That means God’s peace in your heart is to be the umpire. The umpire decides if the play is right or wrong.
Let God’s peace say yes or no. If you don’t have peace, back off. But if you do, take the next step.
Once you’ve asked and have peace, go ahead and knock on the door of opportunity, press on.
Philippians 3:13 Brethren … this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
When you do get into action, one of two things will happen. the door may open up, and the resources you need to do the job will be supplied to you.
Or the door will close and you can say, “Thanks, God. I guess it was not your will after all.”
When God closes a door, that’s His leading, not a lack of leading. So if we’ve told people what our plan is and then God closes the door, we should just smile and say, “It was not the will of God”. The only thing that will be hurt is our pride, and pride is not something to cultivate anyway.
So don’t be afraid to act. God will not desert you. He’ll be there to pick up the pieces with you and help you move again in a new direction if you need to.
Launching out could be pretty scary if we didn’t know for sure that God is always watching out for us. So just say to God, “Lord no matter what I may think or do at any given moment, no matter what trials or troubles come my way, there’s one thing I want. I want to be in Your Will.”
When you’ve communicated that to God, go ahead with confidence that He will protect you.