Have you been wondering how to decipher God's will in your life?
You know, it is more about having a good relationship with God than following a list or procedure to determine what he has in store for you. People closely following the heart of God will have desires and inclinations that naturally match up with what God is calling them to do.
For example, a godly man who loves the Nigerian people, is passionate about learning their language, and has an opportunity to go and minister to them and is excited about it, should not worry terribly about whether it is "God's will" or not. Quite honestly, we formulate an improper dichotomy between God's will and ours all too often. We sit there worrying, "I really want to do this, and I have a passion for it, and the opportunity is there, but what if it's not God's will? I don't want to do my will. I want to do God's will."
But you see, God is the one who plants the desires we have in our hearts. He is conforming us to his image every day, more and more, and as he does this he provides us with opportunities that coincide with our divinely-inspired desires. Back to our example, the godly man who loves the Nigerian people: he should just go for it! He should take the trip! If he still has reservations, however, he can go through a 5-step guide to determining God's will. This list was created by my close friend and mentor, Pastor Allen Cree, from Faith Christian Fellowship in MN. The following list and brief discussions after each list item were written by him, not me. I hope you find them helpful. I know I have time after time as the years have progressed. Wondering what God's will is? Go through this list...
1) Are you contented with God's sovereignty as you ought to be? Do you share Jesus' attitude, "Not as I will, but as you will?"
2) What do YOU desire? This is NOT an unimportant question for those who take #1 seriously. As a man or woman resigned to God's sovereign will and purposes, how has He wired YOU? Psalm 37:4, Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
3) Are you being faithful in the areas God has made clear?
A. Reading your Bible
Psalm 1:2-3 "But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers."
Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
C. Pursuing holiness
1 Thessalonians 4:1-3 "Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification..."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
4) Seek Godly counsel
Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 20:18 Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.
5) Use common sense
Psalm 127:2 "It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Taking care of yourself physically will put you in a better frame to make good decisions.
It's really that easy. If you are content in resting in the sovereignty of God (knowing that he is in control), if you want to do a certain thing, if you are being faithful in the everyday Christian things that he has called you to do, and godly counsel and common sense dictate that it's a good idea, DO IT.
Go for it. Jump in wholeheartedly.
Please comment! I'd love to interact with you about how this post affected you or what questions arise from reading it!
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In the wake of the Denver loss, many questions about the reality or power of God begin to circulate. Accompanying the questions are attacks on Tebow and on whether or not God was really behind all his wins.
After all, if God was helping Tebow, wouldn't the Broncos have won? Surely, there must not be a God, or if there is, there has been nothing divine behind his winning season.These questions and attacks, though understandable, are significantly short-sighted.
This whole season, many Christians, including myself, have rooted for Tim Tebow. His love for God and others puts many of us to shame. His confidence in God is relentless. He is truly a great sports icon that many people everywhere flock to see and support.
But after confidently claiming that God is helping Tebow win, and then speculating, as I have, about the divine significance of his last game with 316 yards passing, 31.6 average pass, and 31.6 million viewers...what in the world do we do now? I'd like to remind us of Proverbs 16:33, which says, "The lot is cast upon the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord." Also, Proverbs 16:9 states, "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps."
See, there is no theological problem with claiming that Tebow was winning because of God. Although even seemingly random events, like throwing dice or playing football, seem to have no divine involvement, ultimately it is God who decides how things go. However, that claim also necessitates that we give God the credit for the Patriot win (and Denver's subsequent loss) as well. What throws many Christians for a loop is trying to explain why God wouldn't want Tebow to win. If God led him this far, wouldn't it be more impressive and make God look cooler if Tebow had gone on a 35+ point run in the 4th quarter and won the game? But this speculation is similarly short-sighted. It assumes the following:
- We know how to give God the glory most effectively, and clearly it must be a Denver win
- If God brought him this far, it is only going to hurt God's reputation and the gospel message if the world doubts his power or existence after a Tebow loss.
- God would accomplish more for his kingdom if Tebow won.
- And the list could go on...
Those are some bold assumptions, and we should be careful in claiming that we know why God does things. All I knows is that God remains God in a Tebow win or a Tebow loss, that God accomplished more through Tebow in a few football games than we will ever know, and that in God's sovereignty, it was better for the Broncos to lose than to win.What should our attitude be in the aftermath of a Tebow loss? "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ for you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God didn't lose last night, despite what the media loves to proclaim. God won. He always does.Like this post? Please, share it now with others using the buttons below!
...where the grace of God cannot keep you.
That's what is engraved on a little boat next the picture of my beautiful wife. They are both sitting on my desk right in front me to remind me of what things are most important to me: Following the will of God and loving my wife.
You know, a lot of times it can be difficult to know what God is leading you to do. There are so many options, and sometimes it feels overwhelming. "Will I make the right choice? What if I'm wrong? Can I even go somewhere that God doesn't want me to go? What if I make a choice that has terrible repercussions? How can I really know what I need to do?"
It can be terrifying, right!? We can freeze and not even know how to make a decision!
So many variables, so many choices, so many possible ways to fail!
When my wife and I were in our final stages of deciding whether or not to move 4 hours north from Minneapolis to Grand Forks, ND., it was a huge life stage decision. We were moving to enable me to officially take a pastoral position that would change our lives...big time. Carica (my wife) would have to change schools in her senior year of college, she would have to find a job and internship, I would have to change to distance education rather than traditional day school for seminary, we would have to move far away from family, far away from all our closest friends...
So we got counseling from one of my long-time mentors, Pastor Abe Cardosa. Carica and I met with Pastor Abe and poured out our hearts and concerns. Almost without hesitation, he grabbed that shiny ship off his bookshelf and thrust it into my hands.
"The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you," he said.
That's what was engraved on the ship, and now that's what is engraved on my heart.
Wherever the seemingly random winds sail your ship, you can be sure that it is the breath of God blowing you on your course. It's not just a coincidence that in Greek "pneuma" means both "wind" and "Spirit". The Spirit of God will lead you in a variety of ways, and you may not even see it, but he will both lead and sustain you.
I'm reminded of the DC Talk song, "Mind's Eye." There are a couple sets of lyrics that seem completely pertinent to this blog post.
"Can you catch the wind?
See a breeze?
Its presence is revealed by the leaves on a tree
An image of my faith in the unseen"
"Can you catch the wind?
Can you see God? Have you ever seen him?
I've never seen the wind
I've seen the effects of the wind."
Remember, wherever you are, no matter what circumstances you are in, and no matter what decisions you have to make, keep that phrase in your mind. God will never lead you anywhere that his grace cannot keep you.
Question: How does that little sailboat help you with your decisions right now?