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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)

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?