PRINCIPLES FOR KNOWING GODíS WILLPrinciple 1: Finding and acting upon the will of God is always a faith issue. Abraham demonstrated this when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went (Heb. 11:8). We are also told in the same passage that without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Heb. 11:6). In this verse we also note the direction of our faith -- God-ward or God-centered, not manward. This is because God is the enabler and author of faith, therefore making His word imperative to having faith. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17).
By Caswell A. Reeves
Principle 2: Donít doubt God. The Lord Jesus certainly shared this great truth with His disciples when He said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God (Lk. 18:27). A good illustration of this truth is Peter, who as he walked upon the water, began with eyes steadfast upon Jesus and then looked upon the waves. Realizing the impossible was happening, Peter began to sink. Note the scripture: American Heritage QUOTE: ďCan the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God?Ē Thomas Jefferson, 1743 Ė 1826 3rd President of the United States of America for the discerning ďThy testimonies have I taken as an heritage forever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.Ē Psalm 119:111 for the discerning, And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Mt.14:26-31) Gideon is another example of one who found it difficult to simply take God at His word. Gideon had to have proof. Even after God gave him proof, Gideon continued to doubt, compensating with a great host of men that, in human thinking, at least had a chance against the Midianites. Yet God brought down Gideonís army to only three hundred men and gave Gideon a great victory for Godís glory (Josh. 6-7).
Principle 3: Keep trusting the Lord. Listen to what Solomon a man of great wisdom said, Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Prov. 3:5-6). This is exactly what God wants us to do. This is the way we received Christ as our Savior. It is the way God intends for us to live as His child. Remember, He wants to give us the desire of our hearts. The Psalmist declared, Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart (Ps. 37:4). Again, the Scripture is replete with accounts of Godís children trusting in the Lord and receiving the desires of their heart. Hannah desired a child and received Samuel. Joshua and Calab desired the Promised Land and became partakers of it. These all found the perfect will of God in their lives by trusting in Him.
Principle 4: Make plans and stay humble. Solomon reveals the formula when he shares, A manís heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps (Prov. 16:9). It is so simple: 1) Plan what you would like to do. God has given us a mind and heart to think with and consider with as we plan the desires of our hearts. Certainly the greatest consideration is does it glorify the Lord by following the truths or rules of scripture: And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully (2 Tim. 2:5). Remember, what you plan should not conflict with the Bible. 2) Always remain humble in order to allow the Lordís guidance. Remember, The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way (Ps. 37:23). Thus, we need to be careful not to become proud and haughty in what we plan or do and to stay humble enough to allow the Lord to direct our steps.
Principle 5: Press forward; trust in Godís guidance. The Apostle Paulís guidance is extremely helpful in determining and following Godís will. Paul wrote, Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing (Phil. 3:13-16). In these verses, did you recognize the humility of Paul? Paul said, I count not myself to have apprehended: Again, it is important in finding and knowing the will of God that we stay humble and open to the Lordís leading in our lives. Paul also mentions that he forgot things that were in the past, but continued to press toward the prize or reward of the calling of God in his life. This same mindset is key when looking for and following the will of God. Let us reach or press for what God has laid before us, and let us do it by believing and not doubting God (Mat. 14:31).
Principle 6: Claim the Lordís guarantee. The key is to seek the prize or reward or the good pleasure of the Lord (well done thou good and faithful servant). However, we are human and sometimes when we have done our best to discern Godís will, we may inadvertently choose the wrong direction. For example: a man may have the choice of two churches of equal biblical credentials, so which one does he choose? This is where one needs to claim Godís promise of help. You use your best biblical judgment and make your choice, and trust the Lord that if the choice is wrong, He will reveal what is right: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you (Phil. 3:15). This ought to be a wonderful comfort to all of us as we seek to find Godís will in our various endeavors throughout our life.
Principle 7: Keep doing what you are doing until God changes it. It is true that God wants to give us the desires of our heart, but many times our desires cause us to jump ahead of Godís timing. Let the Lord bring about the change of direction in your life in His time. Paul clearly states this truth: Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing (Phil. 3:16). Too many times we wallow in our discontent. Yet the Lord wants us to be content: Ögodliness with contentment is great gain (1 Tim. 6:6). God doesnít say contentment is easy; rather, it is a learned state that even the Apostle Paul had to learn. Paul said, I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Phil. 4:11). As we learn contentment in what we are presently doing, it reveals our spiritual maturity, and many times allows us to be in the position to bring about the change the Lord knows is best for us.
Principle 8: Tools needed to find Godís will. The first tool is the Word of God. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psa. 119:105). The Bible is what gives us light, direction, and faith in our journey with God. The second tool is prayer. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full (Jn. 16:24). Prayer is the avenue of our desired requests. The third tool is patience. But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it (Rom. 8:25). Patience is the endurance in what you are doing while waiting for Godís perfect will and time. The fourth tool is preparation. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (Jam. 1:2-4). Preparation takes a lot of patience and that takes time to achieve, and numerous trials to bring us to a point of maturity to best be used by the Lord to work out His purposes. The fifth tool is presentation. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Rom. 12:1). Presentation is your acknowledged willingness to serve. The sixth tool is surrender. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Rom. 12:2). Surrender is being completely given over in mind and heart to God, proving His good, acceptable and perfect will. The last and seventh tool is trust. Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done (Lk. 22:42). Trusting helps us believe in and accomplish Godís will even in the light of its difficulties.