Do You Know How to Find Out God's Will for Your Life?

A friend of mine recently told me that God led him to move to another country…again. This wasn’t the first time. In fact, several other times, he told me he was moving to another country. The problem was that he has never moved anywhere.

I have met many others who told me that God led them to take this job or marry that person. But after things didn’t quite work out like they expected, they decided to take a new direction. After experiences like these, many believers find themselves confused and disillusioned when trying to understand and follow God’s will. Did they not really hear from God? Or did they simply not follow through on what God had said when the going got tough?

Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord…Therefore do not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.Ephesians 5-10, 17.jpg

If you ask a Christian whether he or she would like to know God’s will for his or her life, the person will likely say, “Yes, I would love to know God’s will for my life!”

If you ask the person, “Do you know how to find out God’s will for your life?” he or she will likely pause and think. “Hmm…I’m not sure.”

I have met many believers who do not have confidence that they can discern God’s leading in their lives. I have also met believers who have plenty of confidence but probably shouldn’t. In other words, they are operating on questionable understandings of how to discern God’s will. In some ways, God’s will and purposes will be accomplished, no matter what we do. God “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). The creation of the universe and God’s provision for salvation in Jesus Christ were parts of God’s unalterable plans (Revelation 4:11; Galatians 1:4). Also, no matter what we do, Jesus Christ is going to return, judge the world, and raise those who trust in him to eternal life (John 6:39–40; Ephesians 1:7–10).

In other ways, the will of God is either carried out or not carried out in people’s lives. Sin is the rejection of God and his will. That is why doing God’s will is a characteristic of believers (Matthew 7:21; 12:50; 25:31–46). We are exhorted in Scripture to make an effort to discern, understand, and live out God’s will (Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 4:2; Hebrews 10:36).

Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord…
Therefore do not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:10, 17

Paul says it is foolish not to know and do God’s will! This is because we know that God is wise, trustworthy, and loving (Numbers 23:19; Isaiah 40:13–14). We know that God’s will is good for us (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 12:2) and that we need his help because we are not wise on our own (James 1:5–8; Proverbs 3:5–8).

In the following posts, I will exploring nine important principles for understanding God’s will for our lives. These are separated into five foundations for discerning God’s will and four avenues for discerning God’s will.

God Says "Seek My Face"!

“Will you marry me?” The young man on his knee looked up into her bright eyes.

She beamed and squealed, “Yes!”

“Sweetheart, I am so excited to be your husband! But I need you to understand that I enjoy long distance relationships. I would really prefer not to live with you. While I do want to marry you, I don’t really want to have to talk with you all that much. And I am not much interested in sharing my stuff, my space, or my time with you.”

I do not know of a woman who desires this kind of marriage. We can learn how to love God by observing our hopes and expectations for marriage. An obvious part of any significant relationship is spending time together. This is also true of our relationship with God.

God asks us to seek him. This means that we spend the time and energy necessary to know him. When the Lord says, seek my face, he is talking about intimate fellowship. Our faces are one of the most intimate parts of our bodies. There we find the eyes, which are the window to the soul. It is amazing to think that God desires this kind of closeness with us!

We know that an intimate relationship requires time together. We can see this in Jesus’ close relationship with the Father. The Bible says that Jesus “would withdraw to desolate places and pray” (Luke 5:16).

“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark,
he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”

Mark 1:35

Jesus taught his disciples to do the same.

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door
and pray to your Father who is in secret.

And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Matthew 6:6

As we see in these passages, when we spend time alone with God we are communicating with him. Communication is one of the most important parts of developing an intimate relationship with someone. We speak to God through prayer and we listen to God through the Scripture and the Holy Spirit.

Your prayer time should be ‘an absolute commitment.’ . . . This emphasizes that your prayer time is a major priority that you carefully schedule and guard. . . . Whatever it takes to insure and guard your time with God, you must do it.
— Dr. Gregory Frizzell

Do you believe that your relationship with God is the most important thing in your life? Are you convinced that spending time with him in intimate fellowship is critical for that relationship? If so, let’s resolve to spend time with him every day!

Pre-Marriage Counseling is Like Cramming for an Exam

Last week I sat down with a young couple for some pre-marriage counseling. They both were homeschooled and grew up in solid homes. I told them that in some ways pre-marriage counseling is like cramming for an exam. It is possible to get some new information that way, but not the best way to really learn something. I explained that all that they know about marriage, whether good or bad, they have already learned from their parents. They have been receiving pre-marriage counseling for most of their lives!

During our meeting the young man told me about a homeschoooled friend of his whose marriage only lasted a couple of years! Growing up in a “Christian homeschool” home is no guarantee for a lasting marriage.

Dads and Moms, please don’t forget that you are not only teaching your children about work, math, character, writing, and money managment. Whether you realize it or not, every day you are teaching your children about marriage! Step back and ask yourself what you are teaching them. Do you want your children to have a marriage like yours?

Regular investment and growth in your marriage is a wonderful way to minister to your children. That is why we are putting on a Marriage Conference called Finding Peace and Purpose in your Marriage [Boone, NC on March 16-18, 2017]. Check out this link for more information.

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Fruitless Joys I Fear to Lose

How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure.”
— St. Augustine

What joys do you fear to lose?

Have you traded in all other joys for the joy of Christ?

Materialism is Stupid

Temporal sacrifices will pay off in eternity and temporal indulgences will cost us in eternity. . . . Materialism is not only wrong but stupid. Conversely, trusting God, giving and caring and sharing are not only right but smart. Someday this upside-down world will be turned right side up. Nothing in all eternity will turn it back again. If we are wise, we will spend our brief lives on earth position ourselves for the turn.
— Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions, and Eternity

Have You Misunderstood the Conditions of Following Jesus?

After Abraham had passed the test with his son Isaac, God said an amazing thing to him.

"Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,
I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring . . ."

Genesis 22:16-17

Did you catch that? God said he would fulfill his covenant promises to Abraham because he had obeyed. So, if Abraham had not obeyed, God would not have fulfilled his promises? Is that how our relationship with God works? What did Jesus say about it?

"Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:33

As we continue to study the life of Abraham and observe his obedience without limits, we will understand more deeply what it means to follow Jesus in the New Covenant. Listen to Part 2 of a teaching series on Obedience Without Limits from Genesis 22.

Obedience Without Limits

God tested Abraham. He asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, whom he loved! God knew what was most important to Abraham, what he would be tempted to withhold from the Lord.

When the rich young man asked what else he needed to do to receive eternal life, Jesus asked him to sell all he had give it to the poor (Matthew 19:16-22). God knew what was most important to this young man, what he would be tempted to withhold from the Lord.

God wants to know what the limits of our obedience are. You can be sure he knows what to ask for, what we would be tempted to withhold from him. We can also be sure that he plans to give us 100x back whatever we give him, plus eternal life!

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.
— Matthew 19:29

Listen to this sermon from Genesis 22 about Obedience Without Limits!