Knowing God’s will seems to be that illusive, vague concept that people want to know, wish they could know, or make any excuse to avoid knowing.
But is it really that vague and illusive? Is God’s will something we can and should know?
I’ve heard a lot of Christians say that they look for an open door and figure that so long as it stays open they can proceed, and it must be God’s will. This could be a way God is leading, but there are cautions concerning this.
There are a lot of “open doors” that are not intended for us to walk through.
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
God does not intend for us to guess our way through life and hope we choose the correct open door.
God is Sovereign, and He has a purpose and plan for each and everyone of us and for each and every part of our day.
As much as we may want to know God’s will, God wants us to know it even more. This means that He will be revealing His will to us through various avenues.
There are a few principles to know when seeking God’s will:
- God’s will is never in opposition to His Word.
- God’s will requires trust and faith in God.
- God’s will is always in accordance with His character and purposes.
- God’s will is accompanied by the peace of His Holy Spirit.
- God’s will is revealed in the perfection of His timing.
- God’s will is revealed as we obey Him in each step of His direction.
- God’s will is often revealed within His activity in the circumstances of our lives.
- God’s will is revealed as we surrender our own aspirations to Him.
- God’s will is revealed through the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
- God’s will is often outside of our comfort zone and requires us to tap into divine resources in order to fulfill it. (See Discerning the Voice Of God by Priscilla Shirer.)
God’s will serves several purposes:
- God’s will glorifies Himself.
- God’s will helps us to become more fully the person God created us to be.
- God’s will serves a “greater good” by affecting a bigger community than ourselves.
God’s will is revealed to us through some of the following means:
- His Word
- His character and purposes
- Godly counsel of fellow believers
- His Holy Spirit’s prompting and leading
In her book, Discerning the Voice Of God, Priscilla Shirer says that God invites us into His will. She said to wait for the invitation of His movement and then join in His work.
Sometimes, God’s will is exciting and “earth-shattering”. Other times, His will comes “in a still small voice.”
His will can come with quiet conviction or simple peace.
Sometimes, His will is to persevere in what you are already doing.
Sometimes, it’s just cleaning a potty or preparing a meal for your family.
Other times, it’s sell all that you have, pack up your bags, and head to Africa to set up a medical clinic for the needy, as my dear friends are doing in Zambia (See the http://www.theottsinzambia.com.)
Don’t look for the dramatic experiences; though, God can work and does sometimes choose to work that way.
Recently, God called me to step out in faith and to do something that was the opposite of what I, in my flesh, would choose. I had to face some old wounds and some huge “mountains” of fears. I knew though that God was calling me to do this thing. I kept resting in the truth that where God guides, He provides.
I know that obeying God’s leading does not guarantee that my life and His will is going to be easy. In fact, it will probably be the opposite because His will requires His strength and grace to fulfill it. In other words, His will is something outside what I, in my flesh, can do well and with grace.
Yeah, that does mean I have some fears that resurrect themselves at times. When those fears stare me in the face, I have to look right back at them with assurance that God’s resources always follow God’s will.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
I read this quote somewhere and loved it: “Sometimes answers sound like whispers of redemption instead of shouts of rescue.”
Sometimes, God’s will looks contrary to what we think it should look like. It is when circumstances appear to be hopeless and God appears to be absent that we need to bank our hearts and minds on this verse:
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God has a higher purpose to fulfill than our own personal gratification and goals.
Ultimately, His will is for our true good.
We have to submit our wills to a God who can only be faithful to His own character. His character is good and true and just and loving and merciful. Bank on it!
It’s tough times that will produce a tough faith when we rely on God’s character rather than our own understanding.