Monday, January 12, 2009

How does a person making decisions know what is the will of God?

John MacArthur preached a sermon about knowing the will of God for one's life entitled, "If God's Will is So Important, Why Can't I Find It?" The following is a short summary of the answers given to discern God's will:

The will of God is not meant to be a secret we must uncover. God wants us to understand His will far more than we want to understand it. He always makes His will clear to those who seek it with an obedient heart.

Most of the real problem areas in the question of God's will are settled for us in Scripture. The Bible reveals that it is God's will for all of us to be:

(1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9)

(Ephesians 5:17-18)

(1 Thessalonians 4:3-7)

(1 Peter 2:13-15)

(Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 3:12)

If all those things are true in your life, you may do whatever you want. Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart." That means that if you are conforming to God's will in all the five ways listed above, He will place in your heart desires that reflect His will. So do what you want to do!

Now, I must admit that my life has recently been more difficult than usual and I also have been looking to know with more certainty God's will for me. For quite a while, I thought that I wasn't anyone special so I should just resolve to live myself suffering where I was and not making waves, just obey God and read my Bible.

Then I thought that God does have a will for me but I should just sit around and wait till someone knocks on my door and says, "I have been sent by God to tell you what you are supposed to do with your life. The answer is __________." So I basically just waited around and decided to humbly wait on God's timing and in the mean-time try out a few things because I was also hearing this talk by John Piper about God revealing his will for your life through community. Basically, whatever you are best at in ministry can give you a good clue as to the will of God for you. The only problem with this for me is that the things that I seem to be good at are all things that require me to have more training to be able to to them well.

So, I listen to this sermon by John MacArthur and he lists these 6 things. I think, "Cool! I am doing all those things so basically, whatever I want to do I can do!" Another thing that went on was that I was praying one night and kind of realized that I was letting God have control of everything except for who I was going to marry. I basically had resolved myself to not marry anyone or either to marry ________. In my opinion, I was telling God, "either you give me so and so or I will just stay single." I decided to just give up and let God have the say-so in even this area. As a result, it became more clear that if this option were totally out of the picture then I would be free to do ANYTHING that I wanted to do!

So now I am at the point of, "OK, I am going to endeavor to do this thing and if God shuts the door, great, I will just go some other way and pick something that I want to do. I know that by "testing, I will be able to discern the good and perfect will of God" and that "no one can take me out of the Father's hand or out of Jesus' hand." So, I know that I am in Christ and if I just sit on my can and don't do anything I may be living in disobedience to the will of God and that is certainly something I don't want to do!

As a little disclaimer, if you are violating anyone of those points listed above and think you can just do what I am doing, you won't be doing God's will. If you do try it, maybe God will lead you into a relationship with him through suffering (as he did me when I tried to rebel against Him). But you really really don't want to go there. Just submit now and surrender your self-will to him and if you are living in sexual immorality or greed or some other sin, deal with that first before you try to find out God's will for you.

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