Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Seeking The Will Of God

Dear Friends,

I’ve had my birthday for the year and you either have also had yours or, if God continues to keep you on this side of the dirt, you’ll have a birthday before the year’s end too. Birthdays are times of celebration! 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 created us in the womb Psalm 139:13-15 NLT and then gave us breath, all that we have received is from Him. And, our birthdays can be a time for thoughtful reflection. We may feel various degrees of satisfaction when we look back to see how well we’ve used God’s gift of life. But how are we doing now?

How are we doing today? Are we tracking with God? Are we truly following Jesus and trying as hard as we can to do what He would do if He were us? Are we on His path or on ours? And that brings us to the big question today. Do we really know the will of God for our lives? Because that right there is where we can get befuddled or “puddingheaded” as my grandmother Betty would say. So.. How do we discern the will of God for our lives?

As Rhianna and I continue on our journey in life together, we’ve been looking at our future and seeking God’s will in order to keep our feet firmly planted on the path that He has ordained for us. When making crucially important decisions, it was so much easier when we were young – heads it was a “yes” and tails were a “no.” Now that we’re slightly more mature Christians today than when we were ten, flipping a coin is no longer the easy answer and the process of discernment to determine God's will means a whole lot of time spent on our knees.

When we are faced with any decision and seeking the will of God, there is no method or technique that’s 100% guaranteed. But, there are some time-tested, Biblically-based general principles that may be helpful to know...

To know the will of God for your life, you must be a believer and by that, I mean a Christian – a “Christ-follower” as we talked about in last week’s AMEN Corner. 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 belief and faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. 

And.. even after becoming a believer, any unrepentant, continued and intentional sin may cause our Lord God to put His hand over His ears when we pray. The prophet says, “Listen! The LORD’S arm is not too weak to save you, nor is His ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, He has turned away and will not listen anymore.” Isaiah 59:1-2 NLT If it feels like God has turned a deaf ear to our request to discern His will, we need to do a sin check and confess even the most minor sins that may be coming between us and God. As King David said, “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Psalm 66:18 NLT

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 (literally: breathed out) by God 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV and is infallible – meaning that His Word is never failing and always effective in teaching us what is true and showing us what is wrong in our lives. It corrects and convicts us when we are on the wrong path and teaches us to do what is right. The Word of God prepares and equips us with all we need for life, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and His will for us will always line up with His Word.

But while God’s Word gives very detailed teaching, for example, on our attitude at work, it doesn’t tell us which job to take. And while our Bible tells us the type of person we should marry (Spoiler Alert: “a Christian of the opposite sex”), it doesn’t tell us who to marry. That’s when 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 the direction or decision He doesn’t want me to go in or make. 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 or weeks 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.

Often we might receive a general sense of His will without knowing all the details we’d prefer to have. The Holy Spirit 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 Goggle 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

Believe in Him, submit to Him, pray to Him, ask His direction and wait in patient anticipation for His answer. Then once we have that sense of His desire for us, He will show us when and 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?

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