When I was a camp counselor one summer, a young camper named Julie approached me with a question. She expressed concern that God had not been speaking to her recently and wondered what might be wrong. With unexpected wisdom, I asked her, “Do you remember the last time God spoke to you?”
After reflecting for a moment, she said, “Yes.”
“What did you do in response to what God said?”
She stood there, looking at me, as she processed that question. Then, a look of realization and conviction crept across her face. I didn’t have to say anything else.
Do You Know How to Find Out God’s Will for Your Life? This is a series of posts to help you learn to discern God's will for your life. There are five foundation for discerning God’s will I would like to share with you. The first is this:
We can discern God’s will by surrendering our lives to him (Romans 12:1–2; John 4:34; 5:30, 39–40; 6:38; 7:16–17; Luke 9:23–25).
If we are ignoring what God has already told us in his Word or convicted us of by his Spirit, then we are not in a good position to receive further leading from the Lord. Jesus explains to whom he reveals himself:
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.
And he who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
Sometimes, when I get into a difficult situation and go to God to get some help and direction, I sense that he is saying to me, “Good! I am glad you are here. There are some things I have been wanting to talk with you about.” When we need direction from the Lord, a great place is to get things right with God. Before we seek the Lord for answers or direction on a particular topic, we want to make sure we take a place of complete surrender before him. Are we walking in obedience to Christ to the best of our ability and knowledge up to this point?
Another important aspect of surrendering our lives to Christ is to have a simple willingness to do whatever he wants us to do. I remember when my best friend in high school was struggling with a call from God. He confessed to me that he would do whatever God wanted him to do…except be a pastor. My friend was not in a position to hear from God, was he? But he got down on his knees and, praying and weeping, he let go of his fears and desires and surrendered unconditionally to God’s call.
I also remember desperately calling out to God to know his will about whether or not I should marry a particular young lady. I struggled to get peace and clarity. In retrospect, I can see that I was struggling with my own desires and agenda. Instead of really wanting to hear God’s will, I wanted him to confirm my own will!
“Lord, I want to do whatever you want me to. Whatever! I deny myself and renounce my own desires and dreams, trusting that your eternal wisdom and love are better. On this particular issue, I only want to know what will please you most.”