How do you know the will of God?
Do you actually have to “find” the will of God?
The easiest way for me to understand the will of God is to divide it into three categories.
- Providential will–that which God has determined He will do, when He has determined to do it, independent of the desires of man, but often accomplished through people
Example: Birth of Christ (Galatians 4:4); Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15)
- Moral will–that which God has instructed all people to do and not to do
There are the things that are true all the time for all people.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; (ESV)
1 Peter 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. (ESV)
Within the moral will of God we don’t need to pray for guidance–only courage.
We don’t need to pray for God’s will, when we want to go contrary to it. We don’t need to wonder if we should pay our taxes, lie or remain pure.
- Personal will–the guidance of God always based on His Providential and Moral will
Passage: Proverbs 3:3-7
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. (ESV)
For God to make our paths straight–to make it clear/right–requires: all my trust, all my submission.
One interesting thing about the “personal will” of God is that He often reveals it to us through people.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. (ESV)
Proverbs 13:10 By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom. (ESV)
So how do we respond to these three areas of the will of God?
Yield control (faith, surrender) to the God’s providential will.
Obey God’s moral will.
As for God’s personal will–the more we know and apply the moral will of God and yield to God’s providential will (letting Him be God in our lives) the easier it is to discern the personal will of God.
As I hear Andy Stanley state recently (my paraphrase):
The problem is not God’s direction or willingness to share His will, the problem is usually our willingness to do it–God reveals His will, not for consideration but for obedience–participation, actions. And God usually waits until we are at the point that our answer to Him is “Yes” even before we know the “what.” “My answer is yes, not matter what you want Lord.” God is more interested in us knowing Him than in what we do.
May we have the wisdom to surrender to God and allow Him to be our priority and focus.
May we have the courage to obey God regardless of the consequences.
May we have the humility to say “yes” to God for whatever He wants us to do.
Dedication leads to discernment and discernment to delight in God’s will. (Everett F. Harrison)