Application in Seeking God’s Will

It is one thing to ask to know God’s will, it is another to seek it. Seeking requires work and effort. Many Christians would rather be told what to believe or what to do than labor in the discernment of God’s will. Sometimes we ask the wrong question. It is not, “what is God’s will for my life?” The more accurate question is, “What is God’s will?”

Discerning the Will of God:

  1. Here is a mental picture, a man lost in the woods.
    1. We do not decide whose fault it is that he is lost.
      1. Whether he is misdirected.
      2. Whether he is the victim of an accident.
    2. He asks, “Where do I go from here?”
      1. He feels there must be a path which is the path of God for him to follow in those circumstances.
      2. How do you know that you wont make a mistake?
      3. How do you know if it is God’s way or just my best guess?
    3. He will not know for certain until he gets to the end that he did not make a mistake.
      1. He will travel by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
      2. He must be willing and able to read the signposts and follow.
      3. Remember that God always deals with us where we are.
  2. The greatest help: deepen our relationship with Him, because those who know Him are the quickest at discerning His will.

The Dangers:

  1. The tyranny of “should.”
    1. The question is asked, Should I do this or that?
    2. It implies that if you should, and don’t, that you are not in God’s will.
    3. This lays a burden of finding THE right answer (the center of God’s will).
    4. It is better to say the wiser choice, rather than saying the right choice.
  2. Confusion concerning the work of the Spirit.
    1. Some people neglect the Spirit’s power, believing they know what’s best and then ask God to bless it.
    2. Others overuse it: Like claiming that the Spirit led them to do something which is not part of the Spirit’s work.
      1. How to dress, eat, and other simple decisions.
      2. Usually this claim is based upon the “right feeling” at the time.
      3. When you claim that the Spirit led you, use criteria other than your feelings (Jeremiah 17:9)
  3. A job description for the Spirit:
    1. The Spirit always relates to Jesus (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-15).
    2. The Spirit enables people to know Christ (1 Corinthians 2:1-13).
    3. The Spirit brings people into the body (1 Corinthians 12:13).
    4. The Spirit gives people the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) .
    5. The Spirit enables people to avoid sin and adopt a new way of life (1 Corinthians 6:11).
    6. The Spirit leads people to know that in Christ they call God “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4: 6) .
  4. The Spirit’s work points to Jesus.
    1. He does not make personal decisions for you.
    2. As you seek to be in union with Him, you will know what He wills and you make the wiser decision.

The Search for God’s Will:

  1. In the Bible, this is our only source for faith and practice, so let’s use it.
    1. Some people believe the Bible tells us what to do in all of life’s situations.
      1. Don’t randomly open the Bible to find an answer, it’s not a Ouija board.
      2. What if you make a serious blunder, like pointing to 1 Samuel 31:4?
    2. The Bible leads us to know Christ.
      1. The Bible provides us with basic principles for living (John 15:12-13, Romans 15: 1-2) .
      2. These principles influence our decisions as we struggle with life’s questions.
      3. Direct answers from the Bible…
        1. Are a way of avoiding the hard decision-making process. Jesus told me right in this verse what to do. Sometimes we are not willing to wrestle with seeking His answer.
        2. Do you want a surgeon to quote Scripture to decide whether or not to operate? NO, use his medical knowledge, judgment, experiences and principles regarding the sanctity of life.
  2. In the clouds.
    1. Many people look for signs above, like in the clouds.
    2. The problem with signs is interpreting what they really mean.
      1. Gideon’s advantage (Judges 6:36-40) he placed a sign and the interpretation with God in advance.
      2. We can interpret a sign to mean exactly what we desired anyway.
      3. On the farm, the clouds formed a “P.C.”
        1. The son said: Preach Christ, and go to seminary.
        2. The father said: plant corn.
    3. We have the ability to think, seek counsel, collect information, to make the best decision we can, and trust He will bless your efforts.
    4. Getting lost in trivia.
      1. If you worry too much about finding God’s will for your life, you will likely lose sight of God’s love.
      2. The key is to find God more than finding His will.
      3. Too many people love trivia (like the Pharisees) and get lost in it.
        1. Details were put on following God’s will to the letter.
        2. They lost sight on true worship and relationship.

Numerous signposts:

  1. Conscience.
    1. Men have done a lot of evil things believing that they were following their conscience.
    2. Slavery was uncondemned by the conscience of men.
    3. A psychopath has no moral compass.
  2. Common sense.
    1. I’ve heard it said, “I prayed, and nothing happened. So I used my common sense.”
    2. Who has given common sense? And why?
    3. Sometime the will of God is opposite to what common sense would dictate. It is sometimes called foolishness by the world (1 Corinthians 1:18; 3:18).
  3. Advice.
    1. “Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory” (Proverbs 11:14) .
    2. Without consultation plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22).
  4. History and biography.
    1. There are few problems that we face that have not been faced by those before us.
    2. Read the Bible, and even secular literature.
  5. The voice of the Church.
    1. Jesus recommended that people consult the church (Matthew 18:17).
    2. Remember that a democracy (majority rules) does not always make it right.
  6. Pray.
    1. Praise Him, give thanks, and then lay things at His feet.
    2. God cares (even about your confusion), and will help you work through your decisions.
  7. Use a sound decision-making process.
    1. Make a list of pros and cons.
    2. Brainstorm options.
    3. Gather information.
  8. Live boldly.
    1. Be confident that your decision will turn out well (forget “What if?),
    2. God will not keep scores of your decisions (He sees the end from the beginning, Isaiah 46:9-11.).
    3. Ask, “What would Jesus do?” then do it.
    4. God will bless you here or there (Job change).
      1. His will is for you to love and serve Him (Matthew 22:36-40).
      2. He does not have this secret plan for which we must hunt.
      3. His secret is this: Christ is in you (Col 1:27).

God’s Will, at the Point we Need Help, can be Discerned:

  1. It is a mistake to try to discern His will years down the road.
    1. John Piper writes about future grace.
    2. How you will deal with something in the future is not God’s plan, He will meet you at the point of your need.
    3. He will give you His sufficient grace at the time you need it, not in preparation for the future.
  2. His Word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105).
  3. You can not be certain that you have not made a mistake until you get to the end. Hind-sight is always 20/20.
  4. We will not miss our “providential way” even if we make mistakes (in good faith): the result will not be our being lost.

Final Challenging Questions:

  1. Do I want to discern God’s will, or do I want Him to bless my own?
  2. Have I got the courage to do God’s will once I discern it?

We need more than discernment: we need strength, courage, faith, determination and perseverance to will God’s will and then to do God’s will.

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