23 Aug Learning God’s Will
We all go through a process of learning from childhood, and keep learning until the end of our lives. There are Music Schools to train us, Driving Schools to teach how to drive safe and Art Schools to improve the hidden talents within us. As a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, He puts us in His School of learning to teach various aspects of Christian life. His desire is that we may become mature disciples in order to serve Him the way He wants. Learning to pray, to study God’s Word and to serve Him are basic to Christian discipleship. Learning God’s will is a life-long process which requires total submission to God and a willingness to obey Him in all things.
The will of God is not a formula, it is a relationship. The Lord Jesus said, I am the Good Shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me. My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me. (John 10: 14, 27). In this article let us look at a few details about God’s blueprint for His children and the spiritual discipline of learning God’s will and doing it.
Here are three great truths about God’s will First, God has a blueprint for each of His children. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Secondly, Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21). Whatever you may plan, finally it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good pleasure (Philippians 2 :13). So as a child of God it is a blessing to be in the centre of His will.
Thirdly, God wants us to be careful about how we live, making most of every opportunity. We are instructed “not to be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is”. Ephesians 5:17. This is possible when we give total control of our lives to God and be willing to be led by His Spirit.
Jesus Christ is the pattern and Role Model
Learning the will of God is possible by living in an intimate relationship with Him as Jesus did.
In John 4:34, Jesus said to His disciples when He was on His mission in Samaria, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.” There must be a willingness to die to one’s own self. Many times, we make up our mind about a matter and then go to God for His sanction. This is contrary to the discipline of learning God’s will. Lord Jesus Christ before going to the cross prayed in the garden of Gethsemane saying “O my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me ; nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt (Matthew 26:39). This is the lesson we learn from the Lord Jesus Christ.
In John 17 :4, Jesus prayed the High Priestly prayer, “Father I have glorified Thee on the earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” In order to finish the work given to us we must follow Christ’s example.
Steps in learning the will of God
- Willingness to learn. Psalm 143:10 David says “Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou art my God: Thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. We must be willing to learn and do His will. God will not force us and push us. .So we must say with faith “Lord teach me Thy will and help me to obey”.
- In my life, I started learning God’s will when I finished my UG course in Agriculture at Bangalore in 1964. I wanted to join PG course in Coimbatore. When I was at these crossroads, I had the privilege of attending the UESI Leadership Conference in Kotagiri. In this Conference I made a total surrender of my life to the Lord Jesus Christ and returned from the conference with renewed joy. I committed my future and asked the Lord to teach me His way and fulfil His purpose in my life. I was praying as in Psalm 25:4 “Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths” The Lord opened a way to do my PG course in Coimbatore and then in UK.
- This following song, which I learnt in that Leadership Camp became my prayer and experience from that time and had continued while choosing my career and life partner. This spiritual habit by God’s grace continues even now while taking decisions.
Teach me thy way, O Lord; teach me thy way!
Thy guiding grace afford; teach me thy way!
Help me to walk aright, more by faith, less by sight;
lead me with heav’nly light; teach me thy way! [B .Mansell Ramsey]
- We must take delight in His will. God’s plan is the best for us and we should accept it wholeheartedly. I desire to do your will O my God; your law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:8).
- Not to have confidence only in our own understanding
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. We must go to the Lord for any small or great things and seek His guidance. We have to acknowledge Him in all our ways. (Proverbs 3:5,6)
- We must Pray for wisdom. God has promised to give us wisdom in any matter (James 1.5). This includes wisdom concerning His will for our life and concerning specific matters.
- Be willing to have a renewed mind. If we want to learn God’s will we must have a renewed mind as our natural mind is stubborn and self-willed. In Romans 12:1, 2 Paul exhorts us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, which involves our heart, mind and will. By the transformation of our mind we will be able to know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Instead of learning the will of God, if we insist on having a thing in our own way, we may achieve it, but we will be losers in the end.
Five major steps in learning God’s will
- Word of God
When we are reading and meditating on the Word of God, we will learn and discern the will of God. From our daily scripture portion God will give a verse or a thought to confirm His will. The Bible verse can light our way and help us to take the next step. (Psalm 119 :105)
Spend focused time in prayer asking God, what He wants you to do. Ask the Lord to instruct you and direct you in the way you should go. (Psalm 32 :8). He is always ready to give you bountiful supply of wisdom when you ask Him in prayer (James 1:5,6). Do not be anxious but by prayer ask the Lord to teach and lead you. (Philippians 4: 6)
- Counsel of God’s people and Elders
Seek the counsel of mature Christians and Mentors. In Proverbs 15 :22 we see that “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed”. Prayers with fellow believers will bring more confirmation to the already revealed will of God. Proverbs 11 :14 says “In the multitude of counsellors there is safety”
- Ask for God’s confirming Peace
Our God is the God of Peace. When we are waiting for God to confirm His will, first there should be an inward peace in our hearts which will multiply. When we experience this growing peace we can be sure of His will. (Colossians 3:15)
- Consider the Circumstances.
When learning and doing the Will of God, after you have followed the above steps, you should see the circumstances around you. When we are willing to obey the Lord to the revealed will he will order the circumstances to be favourable from His perspective.
Learning God’s will and being obedient to Him is the blessed experience of a child of God. It is a life–long process of taking delight in doing God’s will to bring glory and honour to Him, through our life and witness in this world.
As the Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe said, “The Christian who waits for God’s leading and waits on God’s working will not be disappointed or ashamed. True faith is not in a hurry until God opens the way”
Dr. R. Earnest Dhanaraj, firstname.lastname@example.org