Ever wrestled with the question, “What does God want me to do in this situation?” Maybe you are contemplating a career change or a move to another city or a decision about where to attend school and what course of studies to pursue. Maybe it’s a friendship that is trending toward a relationship and you seriously would like to know God’s will in this matter because it is your desire to be in the center of His will, His perfect will not merely His permissive will; yet the issues can sometimes become complex and confusing, and the answers are not seemingly that easy in coming.
At the outset let me encourage you that every consecrated Christian should never have trouble knowing God’s will, but we may sometimes find it challenging to do God’s will. That’s why the Psalmist pleaded “Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou art my God….” (Ps. 143:10) I will give you in part 2 of this discussion a definite, Biblical formula for knowing that at any moment you are in God’s will, assuring, therefore, that you are doing God’s will. When one is in the center of His will it is like being in the eye of a storm where, though surrounded on the outer edges by clouds, chaos and often confusion, there is a peace and calm. My friend, Ron White, said in one of his messages, “You don’t have to know God’s will for tomorrow, you just have to do God’s will today.”
But often the question is raised, “How do I know that I am doing God’s will today?” A middle-aged farmer who had desired for some time to be an evangelist was busy working in his field one day when he decided to rest under a tree. As he looked up into the sky, he was sure he saw in a cloud formation the letters P.C. He was convinced it was a message from God telling him to Preach Christ, so he sold his farm believing without a doubt it was God’s leading. Because our farmer friend had his heart so set on preaching that he wanted a certain answer from God, he had failed to consider that the P.C. might have meant Plow Corn! We sometimes mistakenly superimpose our will over what is God’s will.
Famed Bible teacher, pastor and author, Donald Barnhouse, was quoted as saying, “I can say from experience that 95% of knowing the will of God consists in being prepared to do it before you know what it is.” When we are fully committed to doing the will of God, a confidence will be ours that characterized the extraordinary missionary man of God, David Livingstone, who said, “I am immortal until the will of God for me has been accomplished.” Therefore, knowing, doing and being in the will of God is of crucial importance in living the Christian life. Martin Luther: “If it were in the will of God, I’d plant an oak tree today even if Christ were coming tomorrow.”
God often speaks in the “still small voice.” In some of life’s settings the background noise is so distracting that we cannot discern that still, small voice. We need, then, to get alone with God with the clamor of the crowds quieted so that we can hear His Word and learn His will. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10) But yet, the question still may be nagging at one’s heart: “How can I be sure that it was His voice and how can I be certain, 100% certain, that what I am doing is God’s perfect, not just permissive, will of God for me at this particular time in my life?
Miriam Booth, granddaughter of the founder of the Salvation Army, began her Christian walk and work with the promise of great success, but was in time sidelined by a life-threatening disease. A well-meaning friend lamented for Miriam that someone with her gifts would be disabled in her service for the Lord. Wisely Miriam replied, “It’s wonderful to do the work of God, but it is greater still to do the will of God.”
A theological (tongue-in-cheek) maxim: “If it’s Monday and you want to know God’s will for Tuesday, just wait until Wednesday.” And another pastor, now in glory: “You’ll never be able to discern the will of God until you lose your own will.”
So, I have opened up our discussion on how to know and do the will of God, with a promise to give you a Biblical formula for knowing what God’s perfect will for you is at any given juncture in your journey through life. We have plucked some of the nectar of the sages of the ages wisdom, now let us hear from the mouth of God Himself, as revealed and recorded in His Word. Join me, Lord willing, this coming Tuesday, for Part 2.
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.” (I Thess. 4:3)