As a child growing up in a Christian home, I was always directed to follow the will of God.
To some, "the will of God" seems to be so far away, so untouchable, so unattainable.
"How do I know?"... "What if I make the wrong decision?"... are questions we face.
As teenagers looking toward the future, we seek God's will for "where should I go to college?" or "who should I marry?"
As young adults, you may still be searching for "God's will in your life", "what should I do with my life", "was my spouse really God's perfect will for me?"...
As older adults, although a bit more settled, you may still ask "what is God's will for me now that I am older?" "do You really have a purpose for me in my older life?"
Yes, all through our life we seek to know the will of the Lord. In my 20 years of service in ministry, I have found myself asking the same questions on numerous occasions. Each time, God has revealed His will to me in the same ways, but yet in different ways too. What does that mean?
Let me explain the 3 main things that help us to know the will of God.
1. Through the Word of God
2. In communication with Him in prayer
3. By the counsel of godly leadership
How can you know the heart of God, unless you know more about Him? We learn of our Lord through the pages of His Word. If you are not in His Word, how can you hear His voice? I was recently reminded of a lesson I taught at a Mother/Daughter Banquet about 5 years ago. I had been studying the life of Mary, Jesus' mother.
Mary was a humble woman. She wanted to be so in-tune with God that He could call her His "handmaiden". A handmaiden is someone who can anticipate their Master's needs just by the wave of the hand, pointing of the fingers, with a look of the eyes...
The best handmaidens are the ones who are so close to their Master that they can know what is the Master's will by watching the Master's eyes. Whew! That is the type of servant of the Lord I want to be!
We cannot be that in tune with the Lord if we are not hearing what He has to say to us. Is the Word of God alive in your heart? Is God doing life changing things in you? Maybe its time to "burn off the dross" and allow God to purify and sanctify you as a vessel for His use. Let's get in God's Word, ask Him to work in our lives, and then obey and heed to what He says!
As God speaks to us, we need to be in communication with Him through prayer. I have realized that as I write down and pray over things in my life, I can hear God's will more clearly. When I voice my prayers to my Heavenly Father, He sometimes reveals to me that my requests are not of His choosing and then He works in my heart to accept His will. As we take time to praise, pray, petition & plead with Him, He provides peace and direction in our lives.
A quality prayer life is something that noone can give you or take away from you. Yesterday, I was thinking about the people who have made a great impact on the world for Christ. I thought of Hudson Taylor's hours spent in prayer, George Mueller's prayers of faith, and how David Livingston died on his knees while talking to the Lord. The Gospel went forth in a powerful way and the lives of these men speak to us today, because of their persistant prayers to God. How is your communication with God? You may be missing out on knowing the Lord's will in your life, if you are not in constant communication with Him.
I am amazed with how many people say they are faithful in devotions & prayer, but then turn around and do something that they say is "the will of God", but is totally contrary to the Word of God.
Why is this? I believe it is because of our fleshly nature. We know what God wants, but our own desires many times over rule what He says. There are even good people who have others vouch for thier decision as the "will of God". No matter where we are in this sinful world, we will always be able to find someone to agree with our decisions that are made in the flesh.
Beware of faulty counsel! The Bible teaches us that "in the multitude of counselors there is safety". Who are your counselors? Do you go to people who you know will go along with what you want to do or do you find people who are - in the Word of God faithfully, have a personal prayer life, are faithful to church, have a godly testimony, are clearly of the Lord and not of this world?
It is important for us to have godly counselors for a number of reasons -
1. they help to guide us away from our own will, to the will of the Father;
2. they have a clearer understanding of our strengths and weakness,
3. they can see how God is working in our lives as we share what He is speaking to us about and how He is leading.
I have 3 main counselors that I go to - my pastor & his wife, my parents, and another very godly leader. These three counselors know me well, share in my burdens, and pray for me faithfully. I am so thankful to have such spiritual people in my life.
With that said, I have a warning I need to throw in here. Beware of "godly" counselors who may have thier own agenda. Your walk with the Lord needs to be strong as you seek Him personally. You should not rely on the Lord to tell your counselors what you should do. God WILL speak to you! He uses your counselors to guide you, but He does not use them as your "lord & masters". He is a personal God and it is His leading you should seek, not the will of man.
I say all of that, because as I was seeking the Lord about first going to Africa, some of my "godly" counselors did not want to see me leave. They had their own reasons for not wanting me to go at first - my dad did not want me to go so far away for so long because I am still his 'little girl', another wanted me to stay because they did not want to find a replacement for my ministry in the USA,...
Those were of course only initial feelings. As these "godly" counselors saw God at work in my heart & live and His drawing me to the foreign field they saw God's hand in it and counseled me to go. We all prayed and fasted for 6 months before that decision was made. God made Himself clearly known to us during that time. I would not have gone, if God had not worked in that way.
This is where a strong personal walk with the Lord comes in. You must spend time alone with God! I had to get away from what man and human reasoning said and listen for that "still small voice".
So, I ask you today - what is God speaking to you about? Are you listening to Him? If not, what will you do about it?