Discerning God's Will
by Candace Joy
from Virtuous Daughters, February 2009~Volume 8, Number 11
When I saw that this issue addressed the topic “Discerning the Will of God,” I immediately thought of a message that my pastor preached on “The Will of God.” I used the notes taken from his sermon as a springboard for this article.
What does God want me to do with my life? How can I know God’s will? Many Christian young people ponder these questions very seriously. It is commendable to desire to accomplish the good works that God has planned for us. Doing God’s will is one of the ways that we can follow in the footsteps of Jesus (Mark 14:36; John 5:30, 6:38; Galatians 1:4). How will we answer the previous questions?
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7)
It is clear that we should not go by our feelings, whims, or desires. Rather, we should look to the One whom we desire to please and glorify in all things. He has not left us without instruction in this area. God’s Word tells us what the will of God is for us. Below are some passages of Scripture that you can look up that specifically mention things that are the will of God for us.
Follow God’s general will, as revealed by His Word, as you seek His specific will for your life. If you are not faithful to obey in what you already know, how can you expect God to show you more of His will for you? (If you are interested in further study on what God has already revealed through the Bible as His will for you, take special note of God’s commands. You can be sure that obeying God’s commandments is God’s will for you.)
God’s will is always good, acceptable, and perfect (Romans 12:1-2). By knowing God’s Word, we can know what true goodness, acceptability, and perfection are. By knowing God, we will have a better idea of the things that please Him. God’s will for your life will never contradict His Word because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Pray and seek the Lord about His specific will for you. He wants you to know and fulfill His will, and not to continue to wonder about what it is. Have faith that He will reveal His will to you as you walk in obedience to Him and desire to please Him.
Also, do not fall into the trap of seeing God’s will only as a task with a time and place attached to it. For example, maybe you think that it is God’s will for you to be a missionary. It may very well be true that it is part of God’s will for your life to bring the Gospel to other countries. You can be doing God’s will right now, however, whether you are preparing for the mission field or fulfilling the duties that He has placed in your life while you wait for Him to open the doors to a foreign country.
I think that the most important thing in discerning God’s will for you to is to keep as your attitude, “Not my will, but Thine, be done.” You may think of some things that you would like to do—things that sound interesting or enjoyable. Do not set your heart on those things, though. I can think of one instance particularly when I decided what I wanted God’s will for me to be, and set my heart on that. Since I had decided what I thought was God’s will, my heart was not heedful to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. God, in His mercy, caused that which I was hoping was His will to come to naught. His will never changed; my attitude just needed to. I can now see some blessings that have come because He loved me enough to say, “No.” I had decided that I wanted God’s will only if it was what I wanted. My will had become an idol to me. It was a “good” thing, but it was not what He had for me. I had to submit my heart and say, “Lord, this is what I would have liked, but I want whatever it is that You have for me more.” Please learn from my mistake: Desire God’s will, whatever it may be. You know, the true test of submission is whether you can obey God when He tells you to do something that your flesh resists with the same cheerful attitude as when He tells you to do that which you think of as pleasurable.
God’s will is always best. May each of you delight in fulfilling His will for your life!
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