How can I know God's will?
1. Is there a will for:
a. the world at large? (2 Pet. 3:9)
b. Christians collectively? (Jn. 10:10, 17:17-19, Jude 1:24)
c. the individual believer? (Acts 18:21, Rom. 15:32, 1 Cor. 4:19, James 4:15)
2. Valid methods of the past.
a. Direct voice of God. (Ex. 19:9, 33:9, asked in 4:1)
b. Angelic voice. (Judges 6:20)
c. Prophet’s word. (2 Sam. 24:12)
d. Recorded word. (Mark 10:17-21, Acts 8:28)
e. Fleece. (Judges 6:37)
f. Casting lots. (Prov. 16:33, Acts 1:26)
3. Unsound methods for today.
a. Ouija board.
b. Feelings. Jesus did not feel like going to the cross in Lk. 22:42. Paul did not feel like leaving the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20:19-23, 37-38.
c. Bargaining. I promise to ________ if (or when) You (God) will ______ for me.
d. Consensus. Finding other immature believers who agree with your idea of God’s will, then praying for it believing that when two are agreed, it will be granted.
e. Casting lots. The use of objects such as Acasting lots was undertaken at the direction of God for specified issues. The use of this method ceased after the Holy Spirit was received (Acts 1:26 - 2:3).
f. Fleece. The use of a fleece is recorded only once and even then it was used to verify that the message was from the "Angel of the Lord” (Judges 6:36). Gideon had no previous dealings with God and, considering how scary the task being given him was, wanted to be certain it was a message from God, not an imposter. He appears to have had feelings of guilt or embarrassment about his behavior in vs. 39.
g. Bible roulette. That is prayer followed by random Bible reading. An example is asking God how you are to treat the unkind people with whom you work, then randomly opening the Bible to Judges 8:20!
h. Closed door. The belief that if a desired route seems blocked, it cannot be God’s will to go there. A closed door does not necessarily mean stay out, it might mean knock, (Matt. 7:7, Lk. 11:9). But first be sure it is not a door leading to a questionable or unholy pursuit. Temporarily closed doors develop persistence and patience. Some doors will never be opened (Lk. 13:25) to some people, and might be closed to others for a certain time (Acts 16:6).
i. Global and vague prayer. If our requests do not lend themselves to have a clear and recognizable answer, we leave ourselves open to human and satanic confusion. Before you pray, ask yourself how will you and others discern His answer?
4. Workable methods.
a. God's will is like two sides of the same coin.
i. Holiness. Gen. 17:1, Mat. 5:48, Lk. 1:74-75.
ii. Proclamation. Mat. 28:19, Lk. 8:39, 12:3, Acts 5:20, 10:37, 16:17, 17:18-23, 20:20, 22:15, 1 Peter 2:9.
b. Our options to obeying God. 1 Cor. 6:19-20.
c. A believer’s Biblically endorsed need + your ability to meet that need = God’s will. James 2:14-16.
d. Sound mind method. 2 Tim. 1:7, 2 Cor. 5:13.
i. Common sense. Mans wisdom used for understanding.
ii. Sound mind. Above + moment to moment guidance from Holy Spirit.
iii. Promise of help. James 1:5-7, on the condition of Jn. 15:7
1. Position of surrender. Rom. 12:1-2.
2. No unconfessed sin. 1 Jn. 1:9
3. Spirit filled. Eph. 5:18
4. Abiding. Jn. 15:7 (In 100 questions about God, p129, J. Edwin Orr says: Until one obeys the light that he possesses, further light is very seldom given.
1. Ask yourself the following: Why did Jesus Come? Lk. 19:10 What is my greatest personal experience? What is greatest thing God could do through me? Lk. 19:10, Rom. 12:4-5, 10, 16, 13:8, Gal. 5:13, Eph. 4:11-13, 1 Pet. 4:10.
2. Make a list of every possible use of your life (or of every possible choice when decision making) along with the pros and cons for each. Mat. 20:1, Acts 15:6, Heb. 13:7, 2 Th. 2:9, 3:7-8.
3. Listen to and consider prayerfully to the counsel of mature friends remembering Prov. 3:5, 11:14.
4. Check final choice with scripture for conformity. Phil. 2:13
5. Remember that God can overrule in dramatic ways as with Phillip and the Eunuch. Acts 8:25-26
WARNING – Why do Christians typically fail at discerning God’s will?
When times are relatively good, they tend to put studying God=s written word on the back burner, so to speak, while they devote their attention, energy, and affection to lesser things. Then, in a crisis or disturbance, they scramble to find a short cut method of determining His will.
It is the nature of foolish believers to act as though they have things figured out, under control, and therefore not prepare for a future that is contrary to their thinking (Matt. 25:1-13).
It is also their nature to not practice, on a daily basis, obeying the express written will of God in the areas they already know, believing that if and when times get rough, they can make up for that lost time and experience overnight and rise to meet the occasion. This is why athletes need not practice between seasons – right?
Clients wishing further information and instruction on this topic are invited to go to the Resource section in the Private Library where CD and DVD messages on this topic are provided online.