Prov 3:6 – “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
In this short 12 word verse, we find one of the most precious promises of the Bible… the promise for the Lord’s leadership and guidance in our lives. But in this same verse, we find one of the most difficult aspects of the Christians life… following the path the Lord desires for our life.
One of the most frequently asked questions posed to me during my ministry has been “How can I find God’s will for my life?” In the next 6 blog entries we will be seeing what God’s word teaches us about this important subject…
- What is God’s will?
- Not my will, but thine be done.
- Thus saith the Lord
- Oh what a feeling
- Open and shut doors
- Summary of the study
In part number 1 of our study lets answer the question… What is God’s will?
God’s Sovereign Will:
Prov 16:9 – A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
Prov 16:33 -The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof [is] of the LORD.
Dan 4:35 -And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
Acts 2:23-24 -Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Acts 4:27-28 – For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
Rom 9:17-24 – For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?[What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
Eph 1:11-12 -In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
And many, many more….
God’s Revealed Will:
Ps 119:1-12 – ALEPH. Blessed [are] the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.Blessed [are] they that keep his testimonies, [and that] seek him with the whole heart.They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded [us] to keep thy precepts diligently.O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed [art] thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.
Matt 28:20 -Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.
John 14:21 -He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Eph 5:15-17 -See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].
Eph 6:5-7 – Servants, be obedient to them that are [your] masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
Heb 8:10 – For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
1John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
And many, many more….
God’s Individual Will:
Prov 3:6 – In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Eccl 9:10 – Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Jer 10:23 - O LORD, I know that the way of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
Acts 11:12 - And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:
Acts 16:6-8 – Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
Gal 6:10 – As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Phil 4:10 – But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
And many, many more….
- God’s Sovereign Will – This is the “secret’ will of God that has been determined before the foundation of the world. This will includes EVERY event that actually takes place throughout history. (Deut 29:29)
- Prov 16:9 – Here we find that mankind makes many plans concerning his future, but the Lord is the One that controls all the future events in one’s life.
- Prov 16:33 – Here, we find that although the casting of lots from man’s standpoint is a random occurance… it is actually predetermined and under God’s total control.
- Dan 4:35 – It is clearly declared that His sovereign will is done both in heaven and on earth. No one can hinder it
- Acts 2:23-24, 4:27-28 – Even the crucifixtion of Christ was a part of His “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God”
- Rom 9:17-24 – Pharoah, his rebellion and his defeat, was all a part of God’s plan, which ultimately resulted in glorification of God. We cannot question His will, He knows the end from the beginning, but we do not.
- Eph 1:11-12 – Even our salvation and our inheritance are a part of His eternal plan. All of this is why we are to thank and glorify Him for all things. He is the One in ultimate control of all.
- God’s Revealed Will – This is God’s desires for our lives as revealed in His will. Commands like “be ye holy” and “thou shalt not lie”, as well as “think on these things” etc. are all a part of God’s will for all His people. These are all revealed to us in the Bible.
- Ps 119:1-12 – In the entire Psalm 119:, we find the importance of God’s Word for our lives stressed. The Word of God in Psa 119: is given the titles “Law”, “Ways” , “Precepts”, “Statutes”, “Commandments”, “Judgments”, “Word”… the list goes on and on. And yet, the basic principle is that we are responsible to be in submission to His Word for our own good.
- Matt 28:20 – The Lord’s churches are to teach new believers to observe all of His commands (which are found in His Word)
- John 14:21, 1 John 5:3 – Keeping His Word is a sign of our love for Him.
- Eph 5:15-17 – By understanding the principles of His Word, and applying them to our lives, we can wisely walk in this world, using our time on earth to the greatest spiritual benefit.
- Eph 6:5-7 – We are to sincerely obey His Word with the right motives in our hearts. This is an act of service to the Lord.
- Heb 8:10 – The Word is placed in our hearts, minds and consciences. As we study and learn more of His Word we carry it with us and, hopefully, live according to it. (Psa 119:11)
- God’s Individual Will – This is God’s desires for each one of us as individuals. Throughout the Scriptures, we find followers of Christ being directed in their lives. This direction normally takes the form of open and closed doors of opportunity.
- Prov 3:6 – Here we find that if we recognize His Lordship and submit to it in our lives then He will supply the direction we need to choose the correct life paths.
- Eccl 9:10 – “whatever thy hand findeth to do” – this can be describing the opportunities we have open to us. Our responsibility is to take advantage of the opportunities we have in God honoring ways. He is the One that controls what opportunities open to us.
- Jer 10:23 – We do not have the ability in and of ourselves to control the future events and opportunities of our lives. This is all in the Lord’s hands.
- Acts 11:12, Acts 16:6-8 – Here is one example where the Lord used His Spirit to lead Peter to accompany men to a house where Peter received the call to Joppa. Also the Lord led Paul in his ministry to forego preaching the Word in Asia and Bithynia. In both of these cases the Lord used His Spirit to lead His servants to areas of ministry. This Spirit leading could have been received as a combination of open/closed doors, the Word in conjunction with the human conscience, or even supernatural revelation (prior to the completion of His Word). Neither Peter, nor Paul, explicitly details how the leading came about in their lives.
- Gal 6:10 – Paul clearly declares that we are to minister for the Lord based on the opportunities that are open to us.
- Phil 4:10 – Paul as he was writing to the church at Philippi made it plain that the church had faithfully supplied their support of Paul when they had opportunity. But for an unspecified length of time, they lacked the opportunity to support him. Note, that Paul was not critical of them and their lack of support during the inopportune times. He only praised them for continuing to support him when they had the opportunity.
The above outline helps us to understand that there are three aspects to the will of God.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
For those who are saved…
Here are the beginning principles we must understand as we begin our study of finding God’s will for our lives:
- The Sovereign Will of God cannot be changed by man. This will of God will always be done. Every event in history that has taken place, and will take place is a part of this sovereign controlling will of God. (Dan 4:35). We have no need to be concerned about following this will of God. It will always take place.
- Please notice that the Word of God (His Revealed Will) is the basis of the future judgment of the believer’s life. (Roms 14:10, 2 Cor 5:10) It is this same Word that was given to us to lead us and guide us along life’s pathways. (Psa 119:105, Psa 119:11)
Therefore, all of our life’s decisions are to be made based upon our knowledge and understanding of His Word. The revealed will of God for each of our lives is regulated by the Spirit’s inner witness through the use of His Word (1 Pet 1:22, Ezek 36:27) and in our conscience (1 Tim 1:19, Heb 13:18)
- The individual will of God is regulated based upon the Spirit’s intervention in each of our lives normally through open or closed doors of opportunity (Gals 6:10)
In our search for God’s Will to be shown to us in our lives….
Prayer Principle #1 - We must pray for the Lord’s leadership in our lives.
For those who are not saved….
The Lord’s will for the life of those who have never trusted in Christ is clearly declared in 1Tim 2:3-6 …
For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
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