|Written by Patrick Morley|
|Monday, January 31 2011 00:00|
27. God's Will
To assist us in finding His will, God has given means of guidance. Let's briefly explore each of seven different means.
1. The Bible. The single most important question to ask is, "Has God already spoken on this matter?" The Bible is chock full of commands (which are duty) and principles (which are wise). We don't have to wonder if not reporting $1,800 of incidental income to the IRS is God's will. We know it is. Obedience is the trademark of a biblical Christian.
2. Prayer. Jesus said, "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete" (John 16:24). Over and over and over again we are invited to present our requests to God. Prayer is the currency of our personal relationship with Christ.
3. The Holy Spirit. God lives in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. He is our counselor, convicter, comforter, converter, and encourager. Consciously depend upon Him, and He will both guide you and intercede for you. "The Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will" (Romans 8:27). The Holy Spirit will never lead in contradiction to His written Word.
4. Conscience. In seeking God's will we must live by the pledge of a good conscience toward God and other people. "If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God" (1 John 3:21). While a guilty conscience provides clear evidence you are not in God's will, a clear conscience may not guarantee you have correctly discerned God's will. Conscience is more effective as a red light than a green light. To go against conscience is neither wise nor safe.
5. Circumstances. Some people are born short, some tall. Some in America, some in Argentina. Some to poor parents, some to rich. God's will is often revealed clearly by the circumstances in which we live. "He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live" (Acts 17: 26). If you want to purchase a house that will require a $200,000 mortgage and you can only qualify for $150,000, then circumstances have told you God's will.
6. Counsel. "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed" (Proverbs 15:22). Often we need nothing more than a good listener to help us crystallize our thoughts into coherent words. Other times, we need the advice of a trusted friend.
7. Fasting. Fasting is a lost spiritual discipline in this age. Fasting slows down the physical functions so that the mind can be more in tune with Christ. Fasting demonstrates a seriousness about your concern to the Lord.
Employ these constituted means for finding the will of God. Do them only occasionally and it will amount to nothing more than priming a rusty pump. Do them regularly and the will of God will gush forth like deep well springs.
Yours for changed lives,
Patrick Morley, PhD
#407 © 2011. Patrick Morley. All rights reserved. This article may be reproduced
Excerpted from Pastoring Men, Moody Publishers.