(Continued from yesterday)
So far we’ve talked about God’s will in general, for all people. What about His will for you and me in particular? How can we find out? I can think of 8-10 ways, but will limit myself to the most important five.
The first one is prayer. If I don’t know what you want, the best way to find out is to ask you. Similarly, if I don’t know God’s will in a particular issue, the best is to ask God directly in prayer.
• Jas 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Obviously, if our relationship is not good, you would not tell me. Similarly, if you want to know God’s will, you need to be in a good relationship with God.
• Php 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
• 1 Thes 5:17 pray without ceasing
Do you pray about everything, or only those big things you can’t handle yourself? How often do you pray? Without ceasing?
Secondly, through Scripture. How would God answer your prayer? Often through His word – the Bible.
• Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
God would bring up verses you’ve read or studied before to guide you what route to take. But how can God bring verses up to memory if you’ve never studied the Bible? Often believers don’t know God’s will because they don’t know the Bible. Some Christians read 3 chapters a day and read through the entire Bible in about a year. That’s not bad but you don’t retain too much that way. A better approach is to read 7 chapters a day, but repeat it for the week. This way you remember not only what each chapter said, but also the flow. The Holy Spirit would remind you from what you put into your mind and heart which is the right way. Saturate yourself with God’s word, and you’ll never go wrong.
Thirdly, through godly counsel:
• Prov 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
• Prov 15:22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.
God leads us through the counsel of wise, trustworthy people. Usually they are older, more mature, and have nothing to gain or lose from our decision. Often they are not in our immediate family or our best friends. This way they are not motivated by selfish reasons, or emotionally attached. Often they want to think and pray about it before offering any advice.
Fourthly, God accomplishes His will through circumstances.
• Php 1:12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel
Paul did not ask for his imprisonment, but through it all the guards heard about Christ, and encouraged others to testify without fear. So both favorable and unfavorable circumstances can be used to achieve God’s will.
A fifth principle is that God leads us into His will by giving us an inner assurance of peace.
• Phil 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When deciding between two or more alternatives that you have been praying about, sometimes one of the options will give you a greater peace. Often that option is God’s will.
• Isa 32:17 And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.
God made known some of His will for us. He desires for us to be saved, sanctified, sorrowful when we fail, willing to suffer for Christ’s sake, and thankful in everything. We can find out His will through prayer, studying the Bible, listening to godly counsel, discerning our circumstances, and following the peace that God gives.
Let me close by giving you this challenge:
• Start small – you may think what can I do? Our small effort doesn’t matter. But it does! Start by finding out how God can use you to help others.
• Start here – wherever you are, whether in Canada, or China, start right there. God will lead you step by step. It is easy to steer a moving car.
• Start now – don’t wait till you’re established in your career, or after you start your family. Don’t procrastinate. Start now.
Ask God to help you. He will.