I received some questions that our mentors hear from time to time and thought I would address them here. The first one was “How Can I Know God’s Will?”
Other similar questions might be: Can I really know God’s will for my life? Do you think God really has a plan for me? How do I know that what I’m doing is God’s will? Does his will change?
Without reservation, I believe God has a plan for our lives! However, living day to day can feel like visiting a major city for the first time without a GPS or map. Sometimes we just feel unsure of what direction to go or what to do. We would like God to write us a message in the sky telling us what to do.
What do we normally do when we get lost or disoriented? Asking directions is usually what gets us back on track. I just gave a truck driver directions this morning, he had received confusing instructions about where he was going. After talking with him for a while I discovered where he needed to go and was able to give him clear directions on how to get there.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could meet with Jesus like that and ask for directions. As Christians we have a personal guide and map as we try to navigate through life. The Holy Spirit is our guide and the Bible is our map. That is what we need to look to, to know God’s will for our lives.
God tells us this in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plan I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
If we want to know God’s will for our lives, we need to look to God’s Word. Much of God’s will has already been revealed through the Bible. For example in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 it says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified (holy): that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like those who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.”
The purpose of the Bible is to reveal God’s character, and express His deep love for us. We can be certain that God’s purpose and vision for our lives will never be contrary to His revealed character. For instance, it is not God’s will to sin in anger, to disregard human life, to neglect children or your spouse or to be rudely impatient.
Revealing God’s will in our lives is a process. We wish He would just tell us who to marry, where to work, how to raise our children and how to have healthy relationships. The problem is, even if He would do that, we often would not listen and still do things our own way. The Old Testament is full of stories demonstrating that.
That is the journey we are all on, learning from mistakes and painful experiences in life. Without those difficult, hard times, we would not be growing to be more like Jesus. Here are some stages along the way to knowing God’s will for our lives:
If you are facing some difficult decisions in life or are trying to find God’s will for your life, here are five simple things you can do:
If you have done all five of these you should have a pretty clear indication of whether this is God’s will or not. If one of these is not in agreement, you should consider that a yellow warning light from God. Maybe it’s not against God’s will, but it may be the wrong timing.
When you are in the midst of a really difficult situation you can feel helpless and hopeless at times. The old saying of being between a rock and a hard place describes many peoples lives. So what do you do when you find yourself in the midst of a divorce? Or what do you do when you find out your spouse has been unfaithful? What do you do when one of your children is making horrible choices? What do you do when facing financial hard times? What do you do when someone you love dies?
If your a follower of Christ this is what God wants you to know. “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end- Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior… So don’t be afraid: I’m with you. Isaiah 43:2-5
Here are four practical things to do while in over your head, in rough waters or between a rock and a hard place:
So no matter what your going through, God is with you. The choices you make while in the midst of turmoil will become part of your story. Choosing to forgive yourself and others, going slow and being patient and serving others will pay dividends in the end. It will lead to good fruit and a healthy heart.
My grandfather told once when I was younger that he found my name in the Bible. I was a little surprised and asked him where it was. He said it was in the book of Daniel, a King by the name of NebuCHADnezzar. That was the first I had ever heard that name and it has stuck with me for a long time.
I recently read about this King again and learned some interesting things about this ruler of Babylon. He was one of the most arrogant leaders in history, self-centered and full of pride. He viewed himself as god and looked at the kingdom of Babylon as something he created.
God gave this king a vision of a huge tree, chopped down by an angel. The tree represented him. God took away his kingdom in an instant even as he was bragging about what he had accomplished. God drove him into the wilderness, where he lived like an animal, living in caves and dirt shelters. He stayed there until he recognized God as the supreme ruler of the world. He finally submitted to God, gave up control and became teachable.
Being teachable is one of the most important qualities a person can have if they want to be successful. After Nebuchadnezzar submitted to God he began a new life as King , here are some things he did to develop a teachable heart:
How teachable are you? Do you prefer to just tell people what to do? Are you willing to learn from anyone? Here are a few ways you can improve your teachablity factor:
If you are a teachable person, you will always be in demand, because you will always be changing and growing. those are the type of people that become leaders and have influence and can change the world.