Pillar One: Basic Discipleship – How to Know God’s Will

Date: June 15, 2016 ()

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Is it possible to know God’s will for your life?  Yes it is.  Well then, why are most people not doing it?  Do you notice that there seems to be so many living their lives like they are on half empty?  They do not seem to have vitality. They do not seem to have a purpose.  They do not have a sense of direction or feel like they are really accomplishing anything.  Why is that?  It is because they have never learned how to know God’s will for their life and all that is required in it.

I am going to show the things in the Bible that God says, “This is my will for your life.”  I will give some guidelines to go by when you have to make a decision in your life.  Most people think they know God. Maybe they go to church, maybe they believe in God and maybe they pray, but they have never completely surrendered their lives over to God one-hundred percent.  They do not totally lay down their rights and say to God, “You can have all of my life.”

People may not understand that God cares more about His will for a person than even the person cares.

Sometimes you think, “Well, I just have to try and try and try.  Maybe I will hear it and maybe I won’t hear it.  I do not know if God will say it loud enough that I can hear it.” And God is probably saying, “I am shouting.  Listen.”

Think about it.  If you were the person that designed the computer in the very beginning, would you not know how a computer would run the best?  Of course, you would know way more than anybody else. God is like that. Did you know that God says, “From before the foundation of the earth,” (that is before the book of Genesis), “I knew you. I had a plan for you, from the foundation, from before the foundation of the earth.”  How could that be? How could that happen? It is because God runs everything whether you know it or not.  He runs it.  He has a plan. He is very detailed. He is very organized. He is very thorough.  He knows what you can do that will make you happy and what will further the Kingdom of God.

You can even teach your children how to know the will of God for anything.  It is very simple. I am going to give you these wonderful, simple steps.  But let us look at the Scripture first.  Look at Romans 12:1 in the Message Bible. This is God talking: “So here is what I want you to do, God helping you.  Take your everyday, ordinary life.  You are sleeping, eating, going to work, walking around life and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Do not become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You will be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, developed well-formed maturity in you.”

If you are going to do God’s will, there will be change involved.  It is not ever going to stay the same, God is always moving.  He is always doing something new, wonderful.  Even if you say, “Well, Betty, I believe I have been in the will of God, and I have been in the same job forty years.  But I can ask you one question: if that is true and if you are in God’s will could you see times that God changed things around you to make that job interesting, to enable you to do more because God is about helping people.  He wants to help you. In fact, God desires for you to know His will better than you desire to know it.   I will tell you this.  It is better than anything you would ever work out.  You cannot even come close, no matter what.  However, God does not come and say, “This is an option for you to consider.  You might not want to do it.  You might want to do it.  Think about it.”  God says, “No, I am not going to tell you what it is until you totally surrender to me.  When you totally lay down everything, in love, to me I will direct you, I will guide you.”  And in Proverbs it says, “Do not be like a stubborn mule that has to have a bit in its mouth and yank it this way and yank it that way to get it to go the way it needs to go”.   No, God says, “Do not do that.  Just get in the traces and let Me lead you.”  So, God is not going to reveal it to you until you give Him total choice in the matter.  Until you honestly mean deep in your heart, “Tell me what to do and I will do it.”  Are you the kind of person that loves God so much that you will say, “God I will go anywhere you want me to go.  I will do anything you want me to do.  I will talk to anybody you want me to talk to.  You just tell me where you want me and I will be there.”  That is real faith.  That is the faith-filled life of trusting God.

How do you get there?  That sounds tough to some of you listening. Others of you have lived that way for years.  How do you get there?  You get there by believing that God really does love you and really desires to help you.  If you can believe that, then you do not have to be afraid of what He would ask you to do.  It will be something you love.  When I was about 10 years old God called me to the ministry.  I looked around and thought, “The only people that really serve God are preachers and missionaries.  Women cannot preach and I do not want to go to Africa. And I said, “No”.  Now think about it.  God was dealing with a 10 year-old child.  God does that.  He does not wait until you grow up to talk to you.  He starts talking to you early about what He wants.  He puts the desire inside of you to do what He wants you to do.  God is at work within you, “both to will and to do His good pleasure.”  God’s perfect will for your life is going to be something that you are created to be good at.  He has made sure that everything that you needed was in you or you could learn.

Look at this second Scripture when you are worried and saying, “Well, can I trust God?”  In Isaiah 41:13 it says, “For I hold you by your right hand, I, the Lord your God.  And I say to you do not be afraid.  I am here to help you.”  What a wonderful verse!  If you are going through this right now, you could write it on paper and put it around your house so that every time you got concerned, “Is it really going to happen?”, right there it is.  I have verses on the cover of my cupboards.  I have them up where I put my makeup on.  Sometimes I put them in my car on the visor.  I pull it down and see that verse to remind me, “God loves me.  God is going to help me.”  “Do not be afraid, I am here to help you” He says in the Bible.  We do not have to be afraid of the will of God.  If we really believe that He died for us, why in the world would you think somebody who died for you would not love you?  It just does not happen.  And so it is good.  No matter what circumstances you are in right now.

Prophetic word from Betty:   “There is a businessman watching this show right now.  You have just come in from work.  You took off your coat and you threw it on a chair.  See how specific God is that He knows you like that.  You threw it on a chair and sat down right there.  And God says to you, “You have wondered if I even knew your name.  I am telling you through this TV show I know when you sit down, so of course I know your name.”

What would prevent a person from knowing God’s will?  Look at this third Scripture.  In Isaiah it says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’”  Sometimes you cannot know God’s will because you are out in front of God.  You are out there headed for a train wreck and God is saying, “I will wait on you.”  When you crash there will be a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”  Sometimes God does not reveal it as fast as you think you need to hear it.  It is not like He is keeping you from knowing His will, He is developing your faith.

When the Desert Storm war was going on in the early nineties, communication  with General Schwarzkopf was actually lost for a little bit.  However, everything continued with the perfect plan.  Why?  They knew him and they knew what he wanted.  They knew what he had said.  They knew what to do until they heard from him again.  If God has not revealed the next part of His plan, you just keep doing the last thing He told you to do, whatever that is.  Do that and keep waiting.  At the right time He will reveal the next part of it.

Are there things in the Bible that you might not have really thought about?  When it is God’s will, you do not have to pray, “If it be they will, Lord.”  He says, “Read My word.  It tells you whether it is My will or not.  Read it.  You do not know the Bible well enough.  Read it.  And learn My will.”  What are some things that for sure are God’s will.  One is that you avoid sin like the plague.  Another is, do not walk in unforgiveness.  Forgive, even if it is the hardest thing you ever had to do.  Do it.  Another is to make sure you remain yielded  to His will, that you are there and you are pliable.  I will tell you what it is like.  How hard is it to steer a car that is in park?  Basically, you cannot get it to move.  But if you put that car in neutral it can go forward,  backward and sideways.  God wants you to be that way toward him.  “God, I will be anything you want me to be.  You just tell me what to do.” Another thing that can prevent you from knowing His will is not praying enough, not spending enough time just knowing God.

Did you know it is God’s will that you reach out to people?  Did you know that it is God’s will that you spread the word, that you be His witness?  Where?  In Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth.  What does that mean in today’s world?  What does that mean for your life?  It means that God’s will is for you to be His witness in those places.  Jerusalem is the town you live in.  Judea is the area you live in.  Samaria is the nearby area.  The uttermost parts of the earth stands for the rest of the world.  Does that mean that everybody is not doing the will of God if they are not out on the mission field?  No, it does not mean that.  Because somebody has to be praying for those people that are out there, and somebody has to be giving money for them to do what they do.  The individual person who is out there might not have the ability to have available that kind of money.  And besides that, God does not want it like that.  He wants everybody working together to do His will.

It is God’s will that you be filled with His spirit.  It is so hard to do the will of God and not be filled with His spirit.  Why?  You are doing the work in your own strength.  My husband’s testimony is that he served God all his life.  From a child, he was taught by his parents to serve God, and he did.  But he came to the place in his life that he began to realize I am following the laws of God in my own strength.  I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and let His power do it through me.  It changed his life.  It is God’s will that you walk in the Spirit.

When you are trying to figure out what is God’s will for your life and what is your purpose, you have to have these ingredients:  walk in the Spirit, be filled with the Spirit, be a witness, walk by faith and not by sight and  praise Him as you go along.  Let me just ask you something.  How long has it been since you just took some time out and soaked in the presence of the Lord?  You just listened to worship music and did not go anywhere.  You just sat there and listened to it; and let it bring you into God’s presence.  And when you did, you found yourself thanking God for so many times that He had done His will in your life--so many things that He had done for you.  If you are not grateful for what He did in the past, will you really be grateful for the future?  That attitude of gratitude is what causes the Lord to want to help you even more, because you are so appreciative.  Think about your children.  Sometimes you do so much for your kids and they do not even say thank you.  And then those times that they say, “You are a wonderful mom.  You are a wonderful dad and I love you.”  It makes you want to turn yourself inside out helping them.

What about knowing God’s will for personal situations when you have to make a decision?  It could be anything; from buying the right car, to buying the right house, going to the right school or marrying the right person.  Does God have a will for your situation?  Does He have ways that you can count on where He can give you His guidelines? Yes, He does.  He really does.  In fact, look at this fourth Scripture.  James 1:5.  “If you need wisdom ask our generous God and He will give it to you.  He will not rebuke you for asking.”  Ask Him.

One time there was this sea captain and he was able to get his ship to shore and he had to go through terrible rocks.  He never scratched it.  It always remained intact and other people would wreck their ships.  It was considered one of the most dangerous places in the world to get into the shore.

Somebody asked him, “How do you do that?  You never seem to miss getting in, in spite of these terrible rocks that are under the water.”
He said, “I will tell you how I do it.  You see that lighthouse up there?”
And the man said, “Yes”.
“See those lights?”
“Yes.”
“Do you see those three lights”.
“Yes.”
He said, “I watch and when those three lights line up in perfect order, then I know that is where I take my ship in”.

God does that, too.  His guidelines have to line up before it is time for God to really move.  These are the guidelines to watch in order to know His will:

1.  It will never conflict with Scripture.  In other words, God is not going to tell you that adultery is okay in your case, that you have a good excuse.  His will never conflicts with Scripture.

2.  It will have common sense to it.  Does it seem logical what you are thinking about?  Now sometimes God does something so spectacular you think, “Well, that could never happen.”  And God says, “Yes, it is My will”.  You say, “Wow!”  Sometimes it is not, but most of the time it is just what common sense would tell you.  This is the time, this is the place, you are the person, and you need to do it.

3.  Advice from wise people.  Especially listen to leaders over you who tell you, “I agree with that.  I do believe that is God.”  Proverbs 15:22 would be a good verse to look up on this topic.

4.  Open and closed doors.  The circumstances will line up.  Revelation 3:7.  However, one time I went through something and there was a closed door.   I kept feeling like the Lord said, “Do it, do it, do it.”  I said, “Lord, there is a closed door.”  In my heart I heard him say, “Then kick the door down!”  In other words, you are giving up to quickly, Betty.  Kick the door down.  Go for it.  I did.  And I am so glad I did.  But under normal circumstances, if you have a closed door and you need to pay attention to it.  You cannot go to this town.  The door closes.  You cannot take this job.  It suddenly closes.  And it will tell you that in Revelations 3:7.

5.  Inward witness of the Holy Spirit.  As a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives in you.  His job is to convict you, guide you, prompt you and teach you.  If you look at that and inside yourself you say, “Is the Holy Spirit telling you deep in your Spirit this is God and this is right?”  Some people call it instinct.  I am not sure of the difference.  I know people that do not know the Lord can have instinct.  But I do know that people who know God can have the inward witness of the Holy Spirit.

6.  The word of God will talk to you.  I will give you an example.  We had been living in the Dallas area before moving to Amarillo, Texas.   I wanted to live in the Dallas area the rest of my life.  I like big cities.   I like action.  I wanted to be there.  And God moved us to Amarillo.  I said, “Lord, are you sure this is You?  Is this You?  You have to tell me someway.  You have to confirm it in the Bible, something to tell me.”  I opened up the Bible to Acts 20:22, “But now I am drawn irresistibly to Jerusalem.  Not knowing what lies ahead except the Holy Spirit has told me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But life is worth nothing unless I spend it doing the work of the Lord.”  Then besides the word lining up, God will actually send you little hints, little signs, this is the way.  This is what helps you see it is an open door.  There are just special things that God will send you to say, “This is me”.  Sometimes people put out a fleece.  It is so important. They say, “Lord, if this is really You, let such and such happen, because I have to know.”  You do not live your life by that, but there is nothing wrong with doing that as long as you are doing all these other things, lining them up.

7.  Peace in your heart.  You say, “I am going to go this way Lord. I think this is your will.”  No peace.  “I am going to go this way, Lord. I am just having trouble figuring it out.  I think this is it”.  Peace.  You just have an abiding peace in you.   It is Colossians 3:15.  I am going to read it to you.  “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].”  Let the peace do that for you.

These are the guidelines.  It will not conflict with Scripture.  Common sense will tell you it is logical.  Wise people will agree with it.  Circumstances will line up with open and closed doors.  You will even have that surprise thing, like a fleece type thing that God can do, a sign He can show you, as well as the inward witness of the Holy Spirit and peace in your heart.

But even with all of that, you still have to step out and do it.  You will still have that scary feeling like, okay I am going to do it, I am going to do it.  I believe it is God.  I am going to do it.  And then God comes through in His own timetable and lets you know yes, this was right.

Sometimes you ask yourself, “Wait a minute, I want to do this.  Is it God, me or the devil?”  Have you ever done that?  Well, you can have an emotional impulse and think it is God, but you can always wait on God.  If you feel like you are acting impulsively, slow down a little bit and say, “Lord, if this is You, make it clear.  I do not want it to be me.”  Make sure you are not trying to satisfy your carnal nature.   Say, “Lord, is this the devil?  There is a lot of disruption in it.  I think it might be the devil.”  God will tell you, “No, it is problems, push in, yes or stay away”.  Wait on God’s timing.

You can know God’s will for your life in big and little things.  Go with God and serve Him with all your heart.

QUIET TIME QUESTIONS

1.  What decision is necessary before finding God’s will?
2.  What prevents you from knowing God’s will?
3.  What role should the Holy Spirit play in determining God’s will?
4.  List the guidelines that need to line up with God’s will?
5.  What Scripture references can help in determining God’s will?
6.  What new revelations have you learned from this study?
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