Where do we turn to determine God’s will? (This segment wraps up a 3 part blog which hopefully will give you some practical and biblical insight in arriving at the type of decisions we commonly wrestle with and desire to work through to a result which will be pleasing to God) We noted in the first installment that James 1:5+ has some pretty serious instruction about our approach to God when we are pursuing his will and wisdom. Maybe a quick recap will be useful. (My underlining for emphasis) “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” I believe the truth of this scripture applies just as much to us in seeking God’s face and wisdom in prayer as it does when we seek it through his written word.
Where to turn? There are several avenues we will discuss. But we’ll begin here: The first place is probably the most obvious. Any guesses? Yes, the Bible. God’s written word is our ultimate source of authority in all areas of life. God has already given clear direction in the Bible for most decisions we will face. Some instruction specifically answers our questions while others may be more general and require deeper digging or seeking supplemental sources. The preaching we listen to, the prophecies we may hear as well as the impressions we may get and attribute to the Holy Spirit – – all of these must conform to the established written word of God and not bend it, supersede it or contradict it.
Prayer is another important source. We have already referenced James 1, and Phil. 4:6-7 is essential also as we wrestle with our thoughts and decisions. “ Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” God clearly invites us to come to him for direction as part of the “everything” we might desire to bring to his attention. We are not to be anxious since at God’s invitation we have him as counsel. We are to integrate thanksgiving to God in our conversation. And we will receive the promised supernatural peace which surpasses our understanding (and quells our anxieties).
Impressions from the Holy Spirit. As C.S. Lewis said, “I don’t doubt that the Holy Spirit guides your decisions from within when you make them with the intention of pleasing God. The error would be to think that He speaks only within. In reality, He also speaks through scripture, the church, friends, and books.” Let’s also be aware that our enemy also has the capacity to create impressions. Impressions alone are best not left alone but weighed with the other resources we are discussing.
Input from mature believers. Proverbs 12:15 tells us “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” It is often very helpful to get counsel from other believers you respect and trust. Don’t let shyness or embarrassment cheat you out of this valuable resource! They may have biblical input, perspectives and additional information that you are missing. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” (Prov. 19:20) Having dialogue with one another about life’s personal issues is instrumental to our growth and development. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man (or woman) sharpens another.” (Prov. 27:17)
Our own desires. Does this one surprise you? Do you fall prey to the mistaken notion that “it can’t be God’s will if it’s something I want or something I would enjoy?” Here is a beautiful truth: The longer we follow Christ and submit to his leadership, the more our own heart’s desires will align with his purposes. King David wrote in Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” The more we pursue intimacy with God, the more we will desire the same things he desires. Isn’t that great? Over time, as we seek and follow God faithfully, our nature becomes more like his . . . less natural, more supernatural.
That’s what our journey is all about. Process. Are you employing and leaning into these 5 resources which can move you towards the knowledge and understanding of God’s will for the important matters in your life? Think About It.