Knowing the Will of God -Questions – Part 8

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1 John 2:17 – And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (NKJV)

I wanted to wrap up the series on “Knowing the Will of God” by giving you a full summary of the series, along with a couple of closing questions. When trying to determine God’s will:

  • First off, does God’s Word contain a plain and direct answer to your question or circumstance?
    • You have to diligently and regularly search God’s Word and do the hard work of finding out God’s revealed, written Word (2Tim 2.15; Acts 17.11)
    • If you find a direct and clear answer, then it simply boils down to a matter of obedience; simple to understand, frequently not simple to actually do. (1 John 5.2; James 1.22)
    • A few examples of this might be:
      • Can I lie if it is for a “good” reason? No (Colossians 3:9)
      • Can we sleep together if we’re engaged and in love? No (Col 3.5; Heb 13.4)
      • Is it okay to gossip for any reason? No (Matt 12.36; Prov 17.9)
      • My employer treats me bad, do I still have to work hard? Yes (1Thess 4.11-12; Col 3.17; 1Pet 2.18-19)
      • Is it okay to treat some people better than others based on their social status or income? No (James 2.2-4)
  • If there is no direct answer in the Bible, how do you know God’s Will for the “gray areas” (those things the Scriptures don’t address plainly or directly)
    • This is the idea of “working out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2.12)
      • Working hard to know God’s Word, praying for understanding, asking the Spirit for guidance
    • Ask yourself “is this really necessary?”
      • Meditate on Hebrews 12.1; is there “extra weight” involved that could be thrown off?
      • Based on your decision, will it matter in 2 weeks or two months or in eternity? Will you still be suffering consequences in 2 years or 20 years?
    • How would Christ respond?
      • Walk as Jesus would walk; choose, speak and decide the same way the Lord would in your situation (Col 1.10; 1Thess 2.12)
    • Is it worthy of my epitaph?
      • Determine how you want your life to end up, will this decision help you reach that result, or hinder you?
    • Will others be drawn to Christ or turned away?
      • Will you’re family, friends, co-workers and those viewing you’re life be drawn closer to Christ or become less interested in God by your decision? It is important for us to make decisions that will make the use of our time to fulfill God’s purpose (Col 4.5)
    • What is the most edifying decision I can make?
      • Is any choice edifying? If yes, is one choice better than another and bring more glory to God? (1Cor 10.23)
    • Which decision will result in God receiving the most glory?
      • Don’t ask “what can I do still not be sinning?”; rather, ask “what can I do to bring God the most glory?” (1Cor 10.31)
      • There is no higher motivation for making decisions that making the one that will glorify God the greatest

Here are a couple more questions to consider:

How will this decision affect any of God’s revealed will?

  • Has God already led you to some other decision? How does the current decision play into the already known will of God? Will you be unable to fulfill God’s Will if you pursue a certain course now?
  • God has revealed that we should be godly parents, godly employees, godly spouses… will this decision adversely affect your known responsibilities?

Will your ministry suffer based on the decision you are considering?

  • Will the ministry work you currently participate in suffer in light of this decision? Will you be unable to fulfill or continue your God-given ministry at church, to other or to your family? Or will the ministry work suffer?

Well the good news is, we can determine God’s Will with confidence by putting some effort into it. The bad news is, we can determine God’s Will with confidence, so we don’t really have an excuse for NOT doing it. The Lord will bless your sincere effort to want to glorify Him through the process of discovering His Will.

Father, thank You for giving us a way to know Your will for our daily lives. Help us to have sincere hearts, a discerning spirit and a heart that wants to glorify You. In Jesus name we ask, Amen.

Contemplation: Do you seek God’s Will in all things? Most things? Some things? When things get bad? Or is finding God’s Will reserved only for the “important” things?

Application: The Lord doesn’t want us to take a “shot in the dark” and “hope for the best”. He has promised to lead us, teach us, instruct us and give us wisdom if we seek it diligently in faith..

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?

(seriesid:26)


Knowing the Will of God – Glory Filter – Part 7

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1 John 2:17 – And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (NKJV)

Today’s question reaches far beyond just our effort to determine God’s Will. It should be a question that becomes an automated filter for everything in our life.

Far too often, we are concerned with not “crossing the line” into sin, so we want to know where the line is. Or we are trying to figure out what’s best for us personally first. Often times we just act impulsively and go with our emotions and immediate desires without ever thinking of anything else. We need to learn to have a mindset of “what will bring God the most glory?” about every thought, every act, every word and every decision. So as you meditate on today’s question, realize that it is much farther reaching than the context of this study.

Bible study, prayer and meditation are the hard work of knowing God’s Will. And therein lies the problem: it’s hard work. That’s why it seems so elusive to many Christians. Let’s review what we have learned so far. When trying to determine God’s will:

  • First off, does God’s Word contain a plain and direct answer to your question or circumstance?
    • You have to diligently and regularly search God’s Word and do the hard work of finding out God’s revealed, written Word (2Tim 2.15; Acts 17.11)
    • If you find a direct and clear answer, then it simply boils down to a matter of obedience; simple to understand, frequently not simple to actually do. (1 John 5.2; James 1.22)
    • A few examples of this might be:
      • Can I lie if it is for a “good” reason? No (Colossians 3:9)
      • Can we sleep together if we’re engaged and in love? No (Col 3.5; Heb 13.4)
      • Is it okay to gossip for any reason? No (Matt 12.36; Prov 17.9)
      • My employer treats me bad, do I still have to work hard? Yes (1Thess 4.11-12; Col 3.17; 1Pet 2.18-19)
      • Is it okay to treat some people better than others based on their social status or income? No (James 2.2-4)
  • If there is no direct answer in the Bible, how do you know God’s Will for the “gray areas” (those things the Scriptures don’t address plainly or directly)
    • This is the idea of “working out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2.12)
      • Working hard to know God’s Word, praying for understanding, asking the Spirit for guidance
    • Ask yourself “is this really necessary?”
      • Meditate on Hebrews 12.1; is there “extra weight” involved that could be thrown off?
      • Based on your decision, will it matter in 2 weeks or two months or in eternity? Will you still be suffering consequences in 2 years or 20 years?
    • How would Christ respond?
      • Walk as Jesus would walk; choose, speak and decide the same way the Lord would in your situation (Col 1.10; 1Thess 2.12)
    • Is it worthy of my epitaph?
      • Determine how you want your life to end up, will this decision help you reach that result, or hinder you?
    • Will others be drawn to Christ or turned away?
      • Will you’re family, friends, co-workers and those viewing you’re life be drawn closer to Christ or become less interested in God by your decision? It is important for us to make decisions that will make the use of our time to fulfill God’s purpose (Col 4.5)
    • What is the most edifying decision I can make?
      • Is any choice edifying? If yes, is one choice better than another and bring more glory to God? (1Cor 10.23)

Today’s question that helps us in determining God’s Will is:

How will God receive the most glory?

This question takes patience and effort because there may be many possible answers. The more important God’s glory becomes to us, the more effort and diligence we will apply to contemplating it. As SELF is mortified (put to death) in our life, the way will be clear for us to filter our life instinctively through God’s eyes instead of ours.

We develop a natural instinct to want to do just enough to be in “the club” (Christianity); and get away with as much as possible without crossing the line and get booted from “the club”. Consider these common questions that betray this mentality:

  • How much sexual contact can we (an unmarried couple) have and not be sinning?
  • How much can I “fudge” on my taxes and not be cheating?
  • Do I have to give 10% on my gross or net income?
  • How short can my skirt be and not be immodest?
  • Is profanity okay if those words are commonly accepted?
  • Is it okay to watch “tasteful” sex scenes in movies if we are married?

The list of these types of questions could go on and on. The questions themselves are not the issue… they betray a heart trying to embrace a LESSER good that robs God of His deserved glory. The maturing Christian will have thoughts more of this nature as they grow in the Lord:

  • God will be most glorified through our purity and self-control.
  • Honesty and integrity are signs of a Spirit-controlled person and God is honored by our concern to obey the laws of those He has placed in authority over us.
  • I will give as much as possible with a cheerful heart because it will bring glory to the One who saved me from my sins and is the Giver of everything I have.
  • I will honor Christ with my modesty and purity; anything that might in anyway be inappropriate or cause another to lust after me is not going to be my choice of clothing.
  • While no one around me will condemn me or think I am doing anything wrong, I know that God is glorified the most when the Word of God becomes my criteria for language, not societal acceptance. The tongue reveals the contents of the heart.
  • I want my marriage to be pure and holy, bringing glory to God by protecting and honoring the sanctity of my heart and eyes.

These statements come from a mindset of “how can God be most glorified?” rather than “what can I do and not break the rules?”. The Bible is very clear on this attitude:

1 Corinthians 10:31 – Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (NKJV)

WHATEVER we do…. not just “church stuff”; everything. God can either be glorified or dishonored by anything we say or do or think. When God is glorified, there may be times when another available choice represents an opportunity to bring GREATER glory to Him.

There is never any finer reason or motivation than
to bring God the greatest amount of glory possible.

God’s glory is a higher consideration than simply not “crossing the line” into sin, especially when our standard of sin is determined by being “better than the world”, instead of being developed using the standard of Jesus Christ. Understand me here… if our mindset is to “not cross the line” of sin, then it is likely that our way of drawing that line is to draw it just short of how “bad” the world is. As the world gets worse, our line moves.

By changing our mentality from “don’t cross the line” to “how can God be most glorified”, we are not likely to drift into self deception about sin. God’s glory must be our goal and Jesus Christ our standard. You can NEVER go wrong by asking “how can God be most glorified?” and then deciding and acting based on that.

Father, help us to learn to filter our actions, words and choices through the motive of what will bring You the most glory. Teach us that there is no greater reason or purpose. In Jesus name we ask, Amen.

Contemplation: Are you guilty of having the “club” mentality (how little can I do and still be a Christian)? Do you find yourself thinking “how much and still not be sin”? Have you ever tried to develop the mindset and instinctive reaction of “how can I most glorify God”?

Application: “What will bring the most glory to God?” Conducting your life through this “filter” will very infrequently be the easiest choice, but will always be the most fruitful and fulfilling choice.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?

(seriesid:26)


Knowing the Will of God – Good or Better – Part 6

(Click here to search for all the posts in this series…)

1 John 2:17 – And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (NKJV)

Determining God’s Will can be tough because it’s not always a simple matter of right and wrong. When we are struggling with discerning God’s Will, the answer becomes easy the moment we run across an aspect that is obviously “wrong” or “sinful” (the answer is easy, but admitting the answer not always is!).

But sometimes we struggle with deciding God’s Will concerning things that truly are NOT sinful in general such as serving in a ministry. Doing this with a humble heart and the right motives is not inherently sinful. So deciding whether or not God wants you to do it can be a difficult task. First, let’s review what we’ve learned so far.

Bible study, prayer and meditation are the hard work of knowing God’s Will. And therein lies the problem: it’s hard work. That’s why it seems so elusive to many Christians. Let’s review what we have learned so far. When trying to determine God’s will:

  • First off, does God’s Word contain a plain and direct answer to your question or circumstance?
    • You have to diligently and regularly search God’s Word and do the hard work of finding out God’s revealed, written Word (2Tim 2.15; Acts 17.11)
    • If you find a direct and clear answer, then it simply boils down to a matter of obedience; simple to understand, frequently not simple to actually do. (1 John 5.2; James 1.22)
    • A few examples of this might be:
      • Can I lie if it is for a “good” reason? No (Colossians 3:9)
      • Can we sleep together if we’re engaged and in love? No (Col 3.5; Heb 13.4)
      • Is it okay to gossip for any reason? No (Matt 12.36; Prov 17.9)
      • My employer treats me bad, do I still have to work hard? Yes (1Thess 4.11-12; Col 3.17; 1Pet 2.18-19)
      • Is it okay to treat some people better than others based on their social status or income? No (James 2.2-4)
  • If there is no direct answer in the Bible, how do you know God’s Will for the “gray areas” (those things the Scriptures don’t address plainly or directly)
    • This is the idea of “working out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2.12)
      • Working hard to know God’s Word, praying for understanding, asking the Spirit for guidance
    • Ask yourself “is this really necessary?”
      • Meditate on Hebrews 12.1; is there “extra weight” involved that could be thrown off?
      • Based on your decision, will it matter in 2 weeks or two months or in eternity? Will you still be suffering consequences in 2 years or 20 years?
    • How would Christ respond?
      • Walk as Jesus would walk; choose, speak and decide the same way the Lord would in your situation (Col 1.10; 1Thess 2.12)
    • Is it worthy of my epitaph?
      • Determine how you want your life to end up, will this decision help you reach that result, or hinder you?
    • Will others be drawn to Christ or turned away?
      • Will you’re family, friends, co-workers and those viewing you’re life be drawn closer to Christ or become less interested in God by your decision? It is important for us to make decisions that will make the use of our time to fulfill God’s purpose (Col 4.5)

We need to learn that there are many considerations in determining God’s will. It’s not just about what we desire, or “right and wrong”, or what’s most advantageous to us. Biblically, our priority of concern flows down three levels in this order: God, others, then us personally (Matt 22.37; Rom 12.10).

We cannot discern God’s Will when we get the order wrong,
which occurs when considering “me” before God and others.

Today’s question that helps us in determining God’s Will is:

What is the most edifying decision I can make?

First let’s define the word “edify”:

  • to instruct or improve spiritually, from Latin, to erect a house
  • build; establish;
  • to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge
  • uplift; enlighten; inform

So as you can see from the definition we are not considering a choice between good or bad, right or wrong; we are trying to determine what is better, or the best… what is MOST edifying.

  • Which choice will instruct or improve you the most spiritually?
  • Which choice will build you up and help you establish a deeper relationship with God?
  • Which choice will give you greater instruction and improvement, morally and spiritually?
  • Which choice will enlighten you more about God and cause you to be more informed about the Lord?

This aspect of God’s Will is more difficult to discern because the answers are all varying degrees of good. Some choices will be good and perfectly okay with God. Other choices will be better and not only okay, they will also be of some noticeable benefit to you in your growth as a Christian.

And yet another choice may be the very best, and not only okay with God, it will be especially blessed because you have chosen what will bring the most glory to the Lord.

Most times choosing the “best” over “better”
or “good” will also carry the highest price
in effort, discipline and sacrifice.

Choosing the best will rarely be synonymous with choosing the easiest. There are few things in the “worthy walk” that are easy (not to be confused with joyful, light or peaceful). Easy is rarely “the best” in the sense that the most spiritual growth and depth would be the result.

The first thing to consider may sound too simple to bring up, but let’s not make the mistake of assuming everyone will know to ask first: “is my choice edifying at all?”

1 Corinthians 10:23 – All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. (NKJV)

Some things may be permissible within the bounds of our Christian liberty, but that doesn’t automatically mean that everything permissible is also edifying. Now, working under that assumption that our choice IS edifying, then we need to consider the idea of “good, better, best”. Sometimes “Option A ” is good, “Option B ” is better and “Option C ” might be best. Just the effort it takes to recognize and understand that there is more than one choice is beneficial in and of itself.

What is MOST edifying will be what brings the MOST glory to God. Being honest enough to see the difference, mature enough to consider it and humble enough to keep from deceiving ourselves are the ingredients of spiritual maturity.

I’m going to leave the point there and not beat it to death. This is not a simple consideration or idea. There are no pat answers or checklists to follow. It takes trust in God, prayer and patience. But it’s worth the effort.

Father in Heaven, help us to understand the idea of edification. Open our eyes to what is “best” in bringing glory to You. In Jesus name we ask, Amen.

Contemplation: When discerning God’s will, do you ever think of whether something “good”, might not be the “best”? Which would you honestly prefer if you only had two choices: 1) something good that YOU desire the most?; or 2) something better that brings God more glory, but YOU don’t really desire?

Application: On the surface, this concept seems simple enough, but the potential for deceiving ourselves is huge. We are masters at rationalizing the “edification factor” to match our personal desire. But, it remains that determining God’s Will sometimes involves finding out what is BEST in the face of other choices that may very well be good themselves. God receiving the most glory seems to be key to this particular aspect of determining His Will.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?


(seriesid:26)


Knowing the Will of God – Drawn or Turned – Part 5

(Click here to search for all the posts in this series…)

1 John 2:17 – And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (NKJV)

Trying to discern the Will of God is a daily, if not moment by moment requirement of the Christian walk. Many Christians today turn to “signs”, coincidences, gut feelings or chance to try and know God’s Will… none of which are reliable. Our God is not a God of confusion, illogic or disorder. He has given us what we need (2Tim 3.16-16; 2Pet 1.3) to be able to know His Will in our life.

Bible study, prayer and meditation are the hard work of knowing God’s Will. And therein lies the problem: it’s hard work. That’s why it seems so elusive to many Christians. Let’s review what we have learned so far. When trying to determine God’s will:

  • First off, does God’s Word contain a plain and direct answer to your question or circumstance?
    • You have to diligently and regularly search God’s Word and do the hard work of finding out God’s revealed, written Word (2Tim 2.15; Acts 17.11)
    • If you find a direct and clear answer, then it simply boils down to a matter of obedience; simple to understand, frequently not simple to actually do. (1 John 5.2; James 1.22)
    • A few examples of this might be:
      • Can I lie if it is for a “good” reason? No (Colossians 3:9)
      • Can we sleep together if we’re engaged and in love? No (Col 3.5; Heb 13.4)
      • Is it okay to gossip for any reason? No (Matt 12.36; Prov 17.9)
      • My employer treats me bad, do I still have to work hard? Yes (1Thess 4.11-12; Col 3.17; 1Pet 2.18-19)
      • Is it okay to treat some people better than others based on their social status or income? No (James 2.2-4)
  • If there is no direct answer in the Bible, how do you know God’s Will for the “gray areas” (those things the Scriptures don’t address plainly or directly)
    • This is the idea of “working out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2.12)
      • Working hard to know God’s Word, praying for understanding, asking the Spirit for guidance
    • Ask yourself “is this really necessary?”
      • Meditate on Hebrews 12.1; is there “extra weight” involved that could be thrown off?
      • Based on your decision, will it matter in 2 weeks or two months or in eternity? Will you still be suffering consequences in 2 years or 20 years?
    • How would Christ respond?
      • Walk as Jesus would walk; choose, speak and decide the same way the Lord would in your situation (Col 1.10; 1Thess 2.12)
    • Is it epitaph worthy?
      • When you think of how you want your life to end up (glorifying God), does your impending decision help you reach that end?
      • God’s Will is always helpful and useful (1Cor 6.12), not merely a simple desire that does not promote His glory.

There are many benefits to the exercise of determining God’s Will that surpass simply coming to a decision. The process cultivates and encourages meditation, thoughtfulness, devotion, discipline and kills impulsiveness.

Struggling to know God’s Will has many positive side effects:
Discipline, thoughtfulness, devotion and not being impulsive.

It’s hard work, but it will always be fulfilling and worth the effort. It’s all a part of learning the mind of Christ and “drawing near” to God. Let’s look at today’s question… when trying to discover God’s Will about a question or circumstance, ask yourself:

Will others be drawn to Christ or turned away?

We don’t live in a vacuum. Every action and decision that we make is constantly being viewed and evaluated by our friends, family, and all those around us.

It is a paradox that while on the one hand it only matters what God thinks about our decisions, it remains a fact that those who view our life can frequently either be drawn closer to God by our actions or, unfortunately, may be turned away from God. We make a personal determination about what we believe to be the will of God based solely on whether or not God is pleased with our decision, while keeping in mind that each choice we make is part of our overall personal evangelism.

Of course if we correctly choose God’s Will, the decision will serve God’s purpose whether we see it or recognize it at all (even if we make the wrong choice, God’s purpose will be served!).

We consider the “evangelism” factor because it
helps us to discern God’s Will and reminds us of our
primary mission as Christians.

When we profess Christianity our entire life becomes a journey of evangelism. It is a mistake to compartmentalize this aspect and think that only when you are sharing the Gospel are you engaging in evangelism. Every word that comes out of your mouth, every choice that you make and every determination of God’s Will that you make becomes an evangelistic statement to those around you. As you go about trying to determine God’s Will keep in mind that unbelievers may possibly be drawn to God, or turned away from Him by what they see you do. As well, other Christians can either be encouraged or discouraged by watching how you choose God’s Will.

It’s not the only factor to consider, but definitely part of it.

Of course we always enjoy and desire the positive effects we have on others, especially when they become more interested about the Lord because of something they see in us. But the “negative” reality is that they can be just as easily pushed away from God by something they see in us.

Colossians 4:5 – Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. (NKJV)

Let’s examine the Greek rendering of each word in the verse to discover its meaning and application:

  • Walk (peripateo): to move forward, to make your way, to progress or to regulate one’s life
  • Wisdom (sophia): intelligence, knowledge or skill as it pertains to the management of affairs; in particular knowledge of God for upright living
  • Towards (pros): to the advantage of, or with regards to
  • Those who are outside (exo): to be outside of, away from or a stranger to; being outside the doorway
  • Redeeming (exagorazo): to pay a price to recover something, to buy for one’s use, to make a wise and sacred use of opportunity
  • Time (kairos): a measured or definite period of time, the right time or the do measure of time.

Now taken altogether we might have an explanatory sentence of this verse that goes something like this:

We should live our lives determined each day to discover and obey the knowledge of God keeping in mind that there are those outside of the Kingdom of God who are watching. In this way we are properly using (and in a sense repaying) the opportunity our time all of which belongs to God. There is only a short, fixed amount of time and we should treat it as very valuable.

In other words we need to realize that our lives are being watched by those are unsaved. God has allotted to each of us a finite period of time bought by His grace and mercy and that time belongs to Him. By treating each moment of that time as an opportunity to draw others to God, we are in a sense “buying back” or repaying God for purchasing it for us.

So as you try to discover God’s Will for your life always weigh into the decision whether or not it will draw the unsaved around you closer to God or will push them even further away.

Do you want to know God’s Will?

  • First, search the Bible for a clear and direct answer.
  • If there is none, then ask yourself “is this really necessary?” and ” how can I respond like Christ?”.
  • Try to determine the ideal Godly result, and ask yourself “what decision will help me achieve that result?” And “is this helpful or useful, or merely a simple desire that will make no real contribution to the end I know will glorify God the most?”.
  • Ask yourself how your decision will affect the unsaved who are watching you. Will they be more or less interested in God by watching you?

Discovering God’s Will can be pretty hard work but always worth the effort.

Father, help us to understand that each moment is valuable because it belongs to You. It is NOT ours to do with as we wish. Help us to discern Your Will by measuring the evangelistic effect of our choices. In Jesus name we ask, Amen.

Contemplation: Are your choices, even concerning God’s Will, solely motivated by how it benefits you personally? Do you think it matters much what effect it has on others? Is your Christian example and influence

Application: Our time is not our own. Each decision and act should be to further God’s purpose which is primarily evangelistic. We share the life-changing power of God each time we make a choice or decision that is in tune with God’s Will.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?


(seriesid:26)


Knowing the Will of God – Epitaph Worthy – Part 4

(Click here to search for all the posts in this series…)

1 John 2:17 – And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (NKJV)

I doubt there has ever been a true Christian that has not struggled frequently with discerning God’s Will for their life, whether it’s a simple decision facing them, or the general course of their entire life. Knowing God’s Will is not only possible, I believe that it does not have to be the mysterious frustration that it is for most.

Bible study, prayer and meditation are the hard work of knowing God’s Will. And therein lies the problem: it’s hard work. That’s why it seems so elusive to many Christians. Let’s review what we have learned so far. When trying to determine God’s will:

  • First off, does God’s Word contain a plain and direct answer to your question or circumstance?
    • You have to diligently and regularly search God’s Word and do the hard work of finding out God’s revealed, written Word (2Tim 2.15; Acts 17.11)
    • If you find a direct and clear answer, then it simply boils down to a matter of obedience; simple to understand, frequently not simple to actually do. (1 John 5.2; James 1.22)
    • A few examples of this might be:
      • Can I lie if it is for a “good” reason? No (Colossians 3:9)
      • Can we sleep together if we’re engaged and in love? No (Col 3.5; Heb 13.4)
      • Is it okay to gossip for any reason? No (Matt 12.36; Prov 17.9)
      • My employer treats me bad, do I still have to work hard? Yes (1Thess 4.11-12; Col 3.17; 1Pet 2.18-19)
      • Is it okay to treat some people better than others based on their social status or income? No (James 2.2-4)
  • If there is no direct answer in the Bible, how do you know God’s Will for the “gray areas” (those things the Scriptures don’t address plainly or directly)
    • This is the idea of “working out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2.12)
      • Working hard to know God’s Word, praying for understanding, asking the Spirit for guidance
    • Ask yourself “is this really necessary?”
      • Meditate on Hebrews 12.1; is there “extra weight” involved that could be thrown off?
      • Based on your decision, will it matter in 2 weeks or two months or in eternity? Will you still be suffering consequences in 2 years or 20 years?
    • How would Christ respond?
      • Walk as Jesus would walk; choose, speak and decide the same way the Lord would in your situation (Col 1.10; 1Thess 2.12)

Discerning God’s will is not for the timid or lazy. We can’t rely on coincidental “signs” and feelings. To know the heart of God on a matter takes good old-fashioned time and effort in the form of Bible study, prayer and meditation. And we may have to throw in a good dose of patience as well. God works on His own timetable, not ours. The sooner we learn that, the better.

Sometimes God uses our efforts to discover His Will
for a purpose that may have nothing to do with the actual
circumstance or decision we are dealing with.

In other words, God may use the EFFORT of finding out His will to teach us something else, like patience. God may delay the answer to teach us to wait. Or He may give us an answer we don’t understand to teach us faith. Or He may give an answer that we see as “unfair” to teach us humility.

But don’t let that frustrate you. It’s all a part of learning the mind of Christ and “drawing near” to God. Let’s look at today’s question… when trying to discover God’s Will about a question or circumstance, ask yourself:

Is it worthy of my epitaph?

An epitaph are the words that will be written on your tombstone. Often times this is the only lasting statement about a person. Most epitaphs are simply facts stating the name and the dates of birth and death. If you have your epitaph written and engraved now while you are alive, what would you have it say?

If it wasn’t for the fact that and epitaph is written on a tombstone we would call it a “goal” (assuming you think it up BEFORE you die!). So an epitaph in a sense can become your life goal, in other words, if you could pre-write what people will say about you and what will be engraved on your tombstone for all the future to read, what would you LIKE for it to say? I would like something like this:

“Here lies old Brent Riggs. He wasn’t much of anybody, but he was devoted to prayer and God’s Word in simple, consistent, disciplined daily devotion. He didn’t achieve much in this world, but his life was marked by increasing holiness and purposeful sacredness in everyday life. Brent had his priorities in line and lived a life worthy of our Lord’s commendation, ‘Thou good and faithful servant'”.

Knowing what I would like people to read about me when I’m gone can help me to know God’s Will and make the right decisions while I’m still young. Obviously this is only truly helpful if the epitaph you have written is one that is concerned with living a holy life.

Another way of asking this question is to ask “is it expedient?“. Expediency means “the quality being suited to the end in view”. In other words when you’re trying to figure out God’s Will about something, it is helpful to see the “end” first, and make your decision on the desired result.

Knowing the end, helps us to make
decisions about the beginning.

So think about your pending decision or circumstance and ask God to help you see the very best way your situation can end up which means how can it bring the most glory to God. Formulate clearly in your mind what the ideal Godly end is, and it will help you to determine God’s Will right now because the present decisions will be made in light of the ideal Godly result.

1 Corinthians 6:12 – All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (NKJV, emphasis mine)

The word “helpful” in this verse carries with it the idea of expediency. When trying to discern God’s Will, ask yourself if the decision you are considering will be helpful, useful and productive in light of how you believe God would have things end up. So while it may be permissible and moral for us to make certain decisions, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is helpful or useful (expedient).

Do you want to know God’s Will?

  • First, search the Bible for a clear and direct answer.
  • If there is none, then ask yourself “is this really necessary?” and ” how can I respond like Christ?”.
  • Try to determine the ideal Godly result, and ask yourself “what decision will help me achieve that result?” And “is this helpful or useful, or merely a simple desire that will make no real contribution to the end I know will glorify God the most?”.

Discovering God’s Will can be pretty hard work but always worth the effort.

Father in Heaven, help us to see the end clearly in such a way that brings glory to You; then we pray that You will give us wisdom and clear direction on how to make decisions now that will help us achieve the result that will most honor You. In Jesus name we ask, Amen.

Contemplation: Have you ever thought about how you would like your life to end up? If you were to write down the ideal result of your life, would your decisions today be helping you achieve that? Do you understand the difference between desirable and expedient?

Application: There can be many good things that are simply desirable but not necessarily expedient. For example, it is almost always good and desirable to engage in more ministry at your church, but it may not be expedient in light of what God is trying to do in your life. That is it hard question to answer, and only one that can be answered between you and God. In other words, you have to discover God’s Will. Lastly, if you have never given thought to how you would like your life to end up, how in the world are you making decisions now that will achieve the result you would like to have?

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?


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