23 Aug Learning God’s Will in our Life
“Uncle, there is no such thing as finding God’s will in marriage. I only need to know the precepts of the bible. God has given us a watch (Bible), so every time I need to know the time, why should I ask God for it? Shouldn’t I be checking the time from the watch (Bible)? So, I am reading The Bible to understand its principles in a detailed way and all my decisions in life will be based on those principles.”
I had this conversation recently with a young graduate. Many others are holding this very view. On the surface, these words seem to be a result of immature faith and a polite refusal of the doctrine of God’s will. Deep down, however, there is a dangerous doctrine hidden in them. As per this view, we need not to do our Quiet Time regularly to listen to God’s voice, but we have to do Personal Bible Study to know about God and His principles. This boils down to the view that God no longer speaks to us and we need not listen to His voice to make any decision. This shakes the very foundation of the Christian belief system that UESI depends upon.
We must learn the principles laid in the Bible and apply them. But, if we learn all the principles and precepts, but do not learn to know the will of God, how are we different from the Pharisees of Jesus’ time? According to Christ, our righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
This generation gathers a lot of information from the internet. By reading and listening to various teachings, they are trapped under many false doctrines. One of the important teachings among them is “God’s will in our life”. It is natural for any human being to accept an easy teaching, which does not require any effort. Listening to God’s voice and obeying His words needs effort anchored in faith.
Finding God’s will becomes a major topic during the time of marriage. It is true that God’s will is the most important factor in your marriage, but it is also applicable in every area of life from the tiniest matter to the biggest one. God’s will denied is also the denial of God’s plan and purpose for your life. Our God is an active God and He involves in every matter of our life. He speaks, listens and does not waste a single incident in our life, but moulds us and brings us closer to Him, through those. He is also not a God of random things, but is a God of purpose and plans. (Jeremiah 29:11) We make a number of decisions each day, most of them unconscious. It would be impossible to seek God’s counsel in each of those. But there are still a number of significant decisions that capture our attention each day. A deliberate acknowledgment of the presence of God during these times will carry us far in making God’s will a way of life, rather than a crisis experience. The fabric of our lives is woven out of the threads of such minor choices. Therefore, the habit of taking God seriously in small decisions will make major decisions less traumatic.
Christians, in certain situations find it difficult to determine God’s will for their lives. When you don’t find a clear direction, it can be very confusing and frustrating. God gave Moses the burning bush; He showed His will to Gideon with a fleece; and He spoke to Saul with thunder and lightning. If He does so with us too, it will be easy to understand God’s guidance. But He seldom does it this way. To truly find God’s will for our life, therefore, we must often step out in faith. This can be scary, but we should realize that God is beside us and He will not allow us to stray as long as we trust in Him.
Proverbs 3:6 promises, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Psalm 37:23 tells, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” and Isaiah 30:21 informs, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” God’s word is clearly saying that God will help us to find His direction. But how does it happen?
1. Saturate yourself with the word of God. The Primary way of knowing God’s will is through God’s Word! God’s Word will never contradict God’s will. Be totally obedient to the precepts and principles in the Bible. If you don’t know God’s Word, dig into it and you will find His will! Refer to Joshua 1.8 or 2 Timothy 3.16, 17 or Psalms 119.9-11, or John 14.21.
God speaks to us through his written Word as we study and meditate upon His holy Scripture. Sometimes, while we’re struggling for God’s guidance, a scripture that we are reading may pop out at us confirming which way God wants us to go. Psalm 119:105 tells us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Allow God’s Word to illumine your pathway. John 15:7 records that if we abide in Him and His word abides in us, then whatever we ask it will be granted. That means, our will merges with the will of God. This experience is achieved when we are soaked with the Word of God in obedience. At this stage whatever we ask it would be in the will of God.
2. Pray continually and seek God’s wisdom & guidance in everything you do.
In order for God to speak to us, we need to be in his presence listening to his voice. As we spend time in prayer, we may sense God’s leading in our lives. We need to seek God in prayer. Luke 11:9-10 promises, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” If we truly seek God’s will, we will find it.
3. Weigh the Circumstances with discernment: Many times, God will cause doors to open, or others to close. If we are walking in obedience to him, we have to understand that events in our life are ordered by God. They don’t just happen by chance. Events will sometimes indicate God’s direction for us. Paul wrote about such a circumstance in his life in 2 Corinthians 2:12, “Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord.” As you are seeking God’s direction, events may establish what you have already felt God telling you to do.
4. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in your heart. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will minister to our spirit and reveal God’s plan for us. We will have an assurance deep in our heart. We will feel God’s voice guiding us. God will sometimes speak to our heart. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would help guide us in John 16:13, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” Just like Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-12, we need to be listening for God’s still small voice speaking to our soul.
5. Listen to the voice of others. God can use other believers to reveal His direction. We may be singing a song at church or reading a Christian book or hear the Pastor’s message or one of our friends could say something, that will direct us towards God’s will.
God can reveal his direction to us in any of these five ways. In the Bible, God spoke through a donkey, a crow or anybody or anything in His creation. But none of these things will contradict God’s Word.
Even when God directs, it is sometimes difficult to discern if what we feel is truly God’s plan for our lives. Jesus said in Matthew 18:16, “…by the word of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” Jesus is here quoting Deuteronomy 19:15. I believe this is a good principle to follow in trying to figure out God’s plan for you. Initially, you get the direction from one of the five ways mentioned above, but now God will confirm his plan to you through the mouth of two or three witnesses. In other words: one or two more things will confirm God’s direction for you. When you see this confirmation, then you will know it’s time to step out in faith. There have been times in my life when I simply had to take that first step of faith, and when I did; God confirmed His plan for me in choosing the job and in my marriage.
Pray and read God’s Word every morning, interpret God’s Word, apply “dynamic equivalence”, recognize God’s voice, pray and obey as He reveals His will. Crosscheck with your mentor whether you are applying God’s will correctly. Colossians 3:16 instructs us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” God will confirm his will in our lives without any conflict with the principles of the word of God and giving undisturbed peace within.
God’s will in our life is not a passive doctrine but an active one resulting in living our life anchored in faith. God’s will is not ‘one’ way of life; it is the Way of Life. He does not unfold His plan before us like a blueprint and expect us to do nothing until we see it. His will for us is a dependent walk, in which we invite Him to participate in all of our activities. To be a person of His choice, you must learn to listen to His voice, recognize it, and obey wholeheartedly. Let us submit ourselves to the will of God to guide us. Quite often our problem is not that we do not know the will of God; because God always speaks in our context; but the difficulty is in obeying. Let us submit to Him to reveal His will the way He wants and accept His ways in our life even though they seem to be different from our expectations.
JSA Julius is retired from Customs Department. Since his student-days, he has been involving in UESI ministry and served as President of UESI-AP, UESI-Karnataka & National UESI. He lives in Bengaluru with his wife Renuka and they are still actively involving in UESI. All their 3 children families also involve in UESI ministry.