Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Knowing the Will of God

Dear Friends,

My favorite person is having a birthday this month, and if you know me, you know who it is. I can tell you about her birthday, but under penalty of a punishment worse than death, I’m not permitted to reveal her age. I can only tell you that there are two numbers involved and the second number is a “zero.” I just don’t understand why she’s so overwrought about this whole age thing. How old we are is really no big deal. I certainly don’t mind telling people that I’m in my early fifties, so I don’t know why she’s so hung-up about her age!

Birthdays are times of celebration! In fact, having a lot of birthdays seems to be the only way of having a long life. And, every time we celebrate the day of our birth, we are celebrating another year of life that God has so graciously given us. We are thankful to Him! From the first moment God gave us breath, all that we have received is from Him. And, our birthdays, especially those with a zero, can be a time for thoughtful reflection. We may feel various degrees of satisfaction when we look back and evaluate how well we've used God’s gift of life. Are we tracking with God? Are we living our life according to His will? And if our answer makes us squirm a little, we need to remember that our God is a God of second chances, and every birthday is an opportunity to start over again.

But how do we know when we are living life according to His plans and purposes for us? First of all, there is no method or technique that’s 100% guaranteed. But, there are some general principles that may be helpful for you.

To know the will of God for your life, you must be a believer. Our sin keeps us separated from God, and you are unable to know His will for your life until you confess your sins and put your faith in Jesus. It is His will that you believe in Jesus first and foremost, and when you do, you’ll receive His forgiveness and your relationship with God will be restored. Then, read your Bible! It has been said that: “The will of God for the people of God is in the Word of God.”  

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT)

But while God’s Word gives very detailed teaching, for example, on our attitude at work and the type of Christian person we should marry, it doesn't tell us which job to take or who we should marry. At times we need specific directions, and when we do, God wants to reveal His will directly to us. Here’s how to receive it:

Pray. Pray again. Pray some more. Contemplative prayer brings you into the presence of God. Intense, focused and continuous prayer often results in a stage of discernment and clarity of vision. If I am faced with two or more options, I ask God to give me a holy discontent – a strong feeling of discomfort – about those options and pathways I am not supposed to follow. At the same time, I pray that God will give me an increasingly strong sense of His peace about the option that He does want me to choose. After a few days of prayer, the contrasts between the options often increase until God’s will for me becomes very clear, and I have a strong sense of peace about the direction in which to go.

The Holy Spirit won’t give us all the details, and He doesn't show us more than we need to know. I’d love to have a complete report of what my tomorrow will look like. Actually, I’d be content if He would just mark down all future key events in my Google calendar, but instead I’m told: Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

When we believe in Him, submit to Him, pray to Him, ask His direction, then He will show us where to step out in faith. And, while we don’t always know where we are being led, we walk with confidence into the mysteries of tomorrow because we love, trust and know the One Who is leading. Amen?

1 comment:

  1. Happy B-day Rhianna; be blessed and many more :-) Indeed, celebrate another year of life that God has so graciously given.