It may be worth knowing if: 1. The cost isn’t too high 2. It won’t contradict my personal desires 3. Following it doesn’t appear so difficult that I might fail in my pursuit. 4. The pathway seems clear to my understanding 5. The results are around the corner. But . . . having confidence in the character and fidelity of God disposes us to want to know him and fulfill his purposes, trusting that he always has our best interests in mind no matter how circumstances appear. Scripture reinforces our faith in these truths, reminding us “God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect” (Rom. 12:2); His “plans are to prosper us and give us hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11), and that he” works all things for good to those who love Him.”
Sometimes our ignorant or presumptuous approach causes us to misread God’s will. Here are three examples. The” Open Door” approach prompts us to take the 1st option to present itself. I need a car. I pray. After prayer my friend calls with a lead on a car. It must be God’s will because he called right after I prayed. (oops, the car was a clunker someone had tried to sell for months). The “Closed Door” approach means it’s NOT God’s will. Here I assume if there is any initial resistance, this can’t be God’s option. After all, isn’t God’s will always the path of least resistance? The “Dramatic Experience” approach has me seeking some dramatic “sign” to determine God’s will. He sometimes works very dramatically to reveal his will (burning bush, Jesus’ miracles) but more often his will is found in the written commands and directives of scripture.
God’s written word is our ultimate source of authority in all areas of life. In the daily details and specifics we can sometimes have concerns over what steps to take, which decision to make. So, where should we turn for direction? Let’s start with the two main sources.
1. The Bible. God communicated, recorded and preserved his desires, concerns and instructions, giving us clear reference for most of our life needs.
2. Prayer. God indicates he does listen and respond when we quiet down and draw near to him. “If any of you lacks wisdom (direction), he should ask God who gives generously . . . . but when he asks, he should believe and not doubt.” (James 1:5-6) and “in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6-7)
These last three means are important but must be tested against the direction of scripture.
3. Impressions from the Holy Spirit. True, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, speaks from within. But He also speaks through scripture, the church, and mature believers. “He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13) and will “teach you all things and remind you of everything I said to you.” John 14:26). This passage implies we’ve done some digging on our own.
4. Input from mature believers. “Wisdom is found in those who take advice.” (Prov. 13:10)
5. Our own desires. This one’s a little scary, but let’s be sensible. The longer we follow Christ and submit to his leadership, the more our own heart desires will align with his purposes. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 37:4)
God is not a “cat and mouse trickster.” He says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. “ (Jer. 29:13) Let’s seriously take him at his word. And his Word is the key. Think About It.