The Will of God: Five Principles of Discovery
The will of God, as used here, is the same as God's plans, expectations, and desires. When we obey the will of God, God will bless us (see Mt. 6:33; Lk. 11:28). When we don't obey His will, God is subject to punish us (see Heb. 12:6).
This article discusses the following five principles of discovery: obeying God's word, asking God for wisdom, seeking counsel, paying attention to your thoughts, and thanking God for opened and closed doors.
You would do well to click here for the article on believing that God has blessed plans for His people and click here for the article on commitment to obedience.
1. Obeying God's word. Read II Timothy 3:16. Notice that the entire Bible is given by God for His people to know God and how to live according to His will. The importance of Bible study should be obvious. However, let's work on not only studying the Bible, we are to live by it.
2. Asking God for wisdom. Read Philippians 4:6; James 1:5. Notice, in Philippians, that the people of God are called to move past anxiety to seeking God's wisdom. We are to ask God for the wisdom with a thankful heart.
We should be thankful for how He has answered in the past, how He has a plan for our lives, and how we can count on Him to show us what we need to know to obey His will.
Notice, in James, that we have a biblical promise that God will provide wisdom to those who seek it. Therefore, let's practice prayerfully seeking God's wisdom.
3. Seeking counsel. Read Proverbs 11:14; 24:6. Notice that in both texts the godly person is urged to seek counsel or advice. There are some people who have been through what you are going through and can help you get through it.
Obviously, we cannot believe and act upon all that we hear. Some of what worked for others may not work for us. In order for counsel or advice to be shared, there is need for us to be humble enough to ask and others to be available enough to share.
There is a need for those who hear to make their own decisions and for those who share to give advice and let go. Let's work on being a church where we can share counsel and advice freely.
4. Paying attention to your thoughts. Read Philippians 2:13; Psalms 37:4; John 16:4; Colossians 3:15. Notice, in Philippians, that God is working in believers. Our thoughts are often influenced, whether we know it or not, by God.
Notice, in Psalms, that as the people of God delight themselves and focus on the things of God, God will give them the desires of their hearts. So then what is on our heart can be the will of God, especially if it is based on our delighting ourselves in God.
Notice, in John, that the Holy Spirit has a way of reminding us. In order to remember, we have to put something into our memory. The point is that God can bring things back to our memory, as a way of directing us to do His will today.
Notice, in Colossians, that peace is a characteristic of being in the will of God. Where there is no peace, something is wrong. Sometimes we are out of the will of God. And sometimes we may be in the will of God but not confident about being in it.
In the latter case, we need to simply do what we believe to be the will of God and trust Him with the results. The quickest way to conquer fear is to act on faith.
Let's work on listening to what God is putting on our minds and hearts. Our hearts are more emotional than our sense of reason and logic.
5. Thanking God for opened and closed doors. Read Acts 16:6-10; Romans 8:28. Notice, in Acts, that the opportunity to go to Bithynia (bith-inn'-i-a) was closed. But the door to go to Macedonia was open.
God often works through the circumstances in our lives. When we cannot do one thing but have the opportunity to do another, God may be ordering our steps.
Notice, in Romans, that God is working in all things to make them work out for the good of His people. All things are not good. But just as God can take lemons and make lemonade, God can take all things and work them out for the good of His people.
In summary, we have looked at five principles of discovering God's will. We should start with obeying God's word. We should seek God's wisdom and the counsel of wise people.
We should pay attention to what God is putting on our minds, with an appreciation for both the opened and closed doors that we encounter.
To discover the will of God, we would do well to believe that God has blessed plans for our lives, comply with the principles of discovery, and be committed to obeying His will, as we understand it. There are so many blessings for us, if we simply seek and obey the will of God.
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