Have you ever had times where you do not seem to grow? That your spiritual life seems stagnant? That there is no joy, no peace, no contentment? Maybe it is because you are not discerning God's will.
Could the reason why so many believers make no progress in their spiritual life is either because they do not walk in God’s will or because they do not know how to walk in God’s will?
They have in their mind so many thoughts, each seeming to be God’s will, that they cannot discern God's will. Due to their not walking according to the will of God, their spiritual lives remain stagnant.
For those that do not want to walk in the will of God, I would just like to remind you of this.
You were bought with a price. The price was the precious blood of Jesus falling to the ground on Golgotha's hill.
Remember how much He loved you. How much He walked in God's will for you. That love if understood should set you on the path to start wanting to walk in God's will.
For the rest of us, that struggle to know what God's will really is, consider these things.
There is only 1 will of God.
There has been a lot of confusing teaching out there on there being 3 wills of God based on Romans 12:1-2. The assertion being that The words good, acceptable and perfect show 3 wills of God.
However the rest of Scripture does not teach this and the Bible always interprets the Bible.
The will of God is good.
The will of God is acceptable.
The will of God is perfect.
The direct will of God is that original plan in the heart of God which He wants us to follow.
To try to discern if something is 1 of 3 wills of God only brings confusion and God is not the author of confusion.
We must not take any text of the Scriptures out of context. The will of God has already been clearly shown in the Bible. All who desire to know the will of God need only search the Scriptures and they shall know His mind on a certain matter.
Many believers, however, will simply seize upon one or two verses in the Bible as the will of God for them and act on it. They do not seek to know how the whole Bible resolves this problem.
This is like playing Russian roulette with the Bible. They will open their bible, point at a verse and say this is it. This is God's will for me, without understanding the context or the rest of biblical teaching.
Example, what if a person opened their bible and pointed at the scripture which says tells of Judas hanging himself. Then they turn to another scripture that quotes Jesus as saying "go and do likewise".
Are we supposed to believe it is God's will for us to hang ourselves?
In our seeking to know the will of God, we must not pluck a text out of context, randomly choosing and accepting a single verse or passage of verses, in isolation, as the teaching of the Scriptures on a specific issue facing us.
We always need to search out whatever other Scripture passages might teach on the particular issue or subject confronting us. Let us never make a hasty decision.
We should not do anything if there is no peace in our hearts: Col. 3.15 Is. 26.3.
When we are confronted with a difficult problem and we do not know what to do, ask yourself this.
Do I have peace about it?
Now be careful because sometimes our soulish nature will have peace for the wrong reasons. Like not facing a problem, or because of the relief from stress.
However I have learned that if I have no peace about moving forward, it should weigh heavily, but not totally on my decision if something is the will of God.
Do not assume that just because circumstances work out, or that there is great need, that it is necessarily the will of God.
Many people depend way too much on circumstance confirming the will of God or showing the will of God.
Look at Jonah. He was running from God, and when he got to Tarshish, He found a boat heading the wrong direction. Are we to assume that it was God's will for Jonah to go anywhere else but Nineveh?
So just because he found a boat did not indicate that it was God's will.
Look at Paul when He was planning on heading to Asia Minor to preach the gospel. Was their great need? Had not God been sending them that general direction?
But He was restrained by the Holy Spirit. And it ended up that God sent them to another region.
So circumstances and need are not indicators in and of themselves. Do not make your decision based on these alone.
In fact I have found that a vision or dream rarely means what you first thought it to mean. That is because we were the one experiencing it, our objectivity is limited and it takes others to point out things that might be missed by us because of our subjectivity,
But you say, "Didn't Paul get a dream of a Macedonian man asking him to come preach the gospel?" The answer is yes, but was the decision made solely on that vision?
You will notice in Acts 16:10 that once Paul, had shared the dream, that it stopped becoming a one person thing, and it became a team thing. They sought the Lord, and they concluded that it was God's will.
Do not assume that your way has to be God's way. God's will quite often will be outside our preconceived idea of how God works. He loves to prove that He is God and not limited to your box.
Example, when I came to this church one of the things the former pastor was concerned with is people who wanted to have more traditional worship music.
Now I pastor a Vineyard church, which has as a group of churches, have prided themselves in how contemporary our music is. In fact it is a Vineyard value.
But we are the only church in our town. I asked him if he had considered having 2 services. 1 contemporary and one traditional.
He looked at me like the thought had never crossed his mind.
We can sometimes miss the will of God because of our own prejudices and preconceived ideas about how God works. I remember the days that guitars and drums were called of the devil and couldn't be God's will. Do you?
Do not rush! Let the will of God unfold. You do not know the future but He does.
I spent 8 years waiting for God to place me back into ministry. Many times I was tempted to do it myself by starting a church. But I was determined to let God work it out.
I had the ability. I knew how to do it, because I had done it twice before, but I chose to wait.
Many times we are just like Saul in the Old Testament where he had been told by Samuel to wait until he arrived to give the offering to the Lord. Saul waited a little bit, but then thought He would help God out and gave the offering himself. And just as he was finished, who shows up? You got it! Samuel.
Saul was impatient and did not trust God to make it all work. He had to help God out a little. Do not give into the temptation of helping God out.
Finally don't be such as stubborn donkey as I have been so many times that it takes the rod of correction to set you on the right path.
Don't be so self-centered, self-willed, and self-directed that God has to bring trial and tribulation on your path in order to get your attention.
Do you need Balaam's donkey to speak to you?
Or are you as the servants at the wedding of Cana, who did what Mary told them to do, which was, "Whatever He tells you to do, do it."
Have a tender heart, willing and waiting to hear the voice of Jesus speak softly to you. Go and fill the pots with water.
Did you realize that no one at the wedding knew where the wine came from other than Jesus and the servants? I want to be one of those servants that knows where the wine comes from!
Understanding and knowing the will of God is much more about relationship with Jesus than it is about methodology.
What I have given to you here is some tips that I have learned.
Please do not use this as some sort of checklist.
Incorporate it into your own personal relationship with Jesus.
Ponder each one and let God start showing you His only will for your life!
Pastor Duke Taber is the Senior Pastor at The Vineyard Church in San Carlos Ca. He is an alumnus from Life Pacific College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He is a husband, father, and grandfather.
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