As we’ve already looked at being (1) in the Family of God, (2) in Fellowship with God, and (3) Faithful to God, let’s wrap up this study on the Will of God with this:
Be Sure You’re Following God’s Leadership!
“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” Matthew 4:18-22
When Jesus called his disciples to follow him, he asked of them something huge… He asked them to forsake what they were comfortable with, to leave it behind, and to follow him. But this forsaking wasn’t in vain. He promised to make them something better. Something greater. Something bigger than they had ever dreamed of. He promised to do a work in them, and through them, to eternally impact others.
In this, our last, in the series on Knowing the Will of God, we need to know that there are many voices and noises in life that can call away our attention from what God wants from us. Job opportunities, girlfriends/boyfriends, friends, education, family, and others are always pulling at us. How do we know what is right? How do we know what to listen to?
1. Realize you were made for something greater
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10
Do you want to spend the rest of your life doing things that lost people can do? We often hear of the “American Dream” but in reality, it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be! What do most people live for? A good education, a good time, a good job, a good family….? They punch a time clock, come home, watch TV, go to bed and do it all again the next day. They exert their effort in getting more riches and “toys” that can never bring true happiness. When is it enough? When does it satisfy? Don’t you want to do something better with your life? Something of eternal impact?
Good. That’s why God made you!! We are his workmanship, his handywork, made for a special purpose. Realize this. Understand this. Give yourself to this.
2. Decide to surrender all
“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” Luke 14:27-30
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Jesus wants committed disciples. If you want to do God’s will, you need to decide right now that you will not do it “half-way” nor will you get out when it gets tough, but rather that you are in it for the long run. Christ wants to do a work through you, but he cannot do that until you surrender everything to him. Give him total access!
It is a hard step, yet a rewarding step in the life of a believer to say “Jesus, whatever you want for my life, it’s yours!”
3. Watch God open up doors of opportunity
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast beenfaithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21
Faithfulness was already mentioned in the last post, but it’s worth bringing up again. If you’re being a good steward of the little things, God will give you opportunities in greater things. Be watching for these opportunities. Don’t expect them if you aren’t faithful now, but if you’re doing what God wants from you today, it just may be that he will open up a door soon for you to have a greater influence and impact. But remember, it’s hard to steer a parked car! Get moving for God. He’ll guide you in His perfect will.
4. Check everything in light of God’s Word & Godly Counsel
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7
“Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.” Proverbs 15:22
There are dangers to stepping out to serve God. Many won’t understand. Many will mock you. Many will tell you to go another route with your life. Another danger is doing something based on emotions. This is why you need the counsel of God’s word and the counsel of Godly leaders in your life. You can’t trust how you “feel” because the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, and we can’t know it! (see Jeremiah 17:9).
So, realize that every decision we make ought not to contradict Scripture. That’s why God’s word was given to us; as a roadmap to knowing Him and his Will for our lives. Stay in his Word. Don’t assume you know what his will is because of how you feel. Check it against the Bible.
Second, surround yourself with men and women of God that can help you see things that you may not be able to see. Some call this mentorship. You need a mentor. You need somebody that will be honest with you enough to help you. You need somebody to point out areas in your life that still need improving. You need somebody that has “been there” and can help you avoid common mistakes. This is a biblical model. Jesus mentored the 12 disciples. Paul mentored Timothy, Titus and others. Elijah mentored Elisha. Find somebody to learn from and stick with them like glue.
So, in conclusion, how do we know the Will of God? Is it something mysterious that can’t be known? No. God WANTS us to know his will, and he WANTS to do a work through our lives. For some this might be “full-time” ministry such as being a missionary, a pastor, a wife of such, etc… but for ALL of us, he wants several things from us. In review:
1. Be in the Family of God
2. Be in Fellowship with God
3. Be Faithful to God
4. Be Following God
You can know His will! He can use your life. If I can personally help you with any of this, please let me know. Email me, call me, whatever is best for you. There’s nothing like living in the middle of God’s will. It isn’t always easy, but it is the most blessed, joyful and fulfilling life we could ever hope to live.
Be Sure You’re Faithful With What You Have!
“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10
As I speak to young people who want to find God’s will for their lives, sometimes it strikes me as odd that they aren’t taking advantages of opportunities they have at the moment. Sometimes we think the Will of God is some distant, far off thing. However, we should understand that the Will of God is for TODAY. Be faithful with what you have TODAY and, if you’re faithful in that, God may see fit to give you more responsibility and opportunities tomorrow.
In Matthew 25:14-29 Jesus gives the parable of some stewards that were entrusted by their boss with large portions of his money, called “talents” while he went on a trip. Each talent was said to be worth about 20 years wages. Some had more than others, but they were all expected to be faithful, and even to invest, that which had been given to them while their master was away. As the story goes, one had 5 talents (The US equivalent to $2,669,500!), another 2 ($1,067,800!), and another 1 ($533,900!). But one of the stewards wasn’t faithful with what he had, and it was taken away from him and given to another who was faithful. He didn’t take advantage of current opportunities, whether because of fear or misunderstanding, and he missed out on further opportunities that could have been.
What can we learn from this?
1. Be a good steward of the TIME God has given you!
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
Are you a waster of time? When you have extra time, what do you find yourself doing? Do you find time to read your Bible, pray, witness, be at church, serve others, or is it hard to squeeze those things into your busy schedule? Each minute that passes is another minute that we can never get back. Where are we investing our time?
2. Be a good steward of the TREASURES God has given you!
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16:10-13
Mammon, in this passage, is just another word for material wealth. Are you a good steward of the earthly “treasure” God has given to you? Do you regularly give to your church, to world missions, and to the poor and needy? These are the three classifications of giving in the Bible. Or, do you waste your money on things that don’t matter. Do you pay your bills on time? Are you a good steward of your money? This is all part of knowing the Will of God! How can he trust you with much, if you’re not faithful in the little?
3. Be a good steward of the TALENTS God has given you!
“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48b
“Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” 1 Corinthians 14:12
God has given each person certain abilities and talents that others may not possess, but it is all for a purpose. It’s for the edifying (building up) of the body, the church! If you aren’t using your ability for God, what are you using it for? Are you faithful in applying your gifts to serve others, to help others, to lift others up, and ultimately to Glorify Christ? Do you seek to grow in your abilities to further minister with them? If not, I challenge you to look for areas in which you can serve and apply the talents that God has entrusted to you!
How do we know God’s will for our lives? First, we looked at the fact that we must be in the Family of God. Second, that we must be in Fellowship with God. Third, that we be Faithful to God in even the smallest things. Stay tuned for the last, part 4, of this series.
Be Sure You’re In Fellowship With God!
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:27
If you want to know God’s will for your life, you must be in fellowship with God. In other words, if you aren’t listening, you won’t hear him! This is where we just do what we already know we are supposed to do as a Christian. It becomes not just a duty, but our deepest desire to know God and to hear his voice!
1. Get Into The Bible
“Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25b-27
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105
The best way to know what God wants for your life is to take his word for it! It is amazing to me how many well-intended Christians want to serve God, but they’ve never read the love-letter, instruction manual, and road map that he’s given them! Have you read it? Get into God’s Word and let it get into you! You will be amazed at how God will wash away things in your life that don’t matter, he’ll give you wisdom and guidance for the journey. Here are a couple of tips:
Find a regular time you can read. For me, it’s in the morning before I do anything else. It helps me to focus and start out my day with God’s word in my mind. Some might not be able to focus early on, so the evening works better for them. Whatever you do, make it a priority and don’t let other things draw you away from it!
Set a regular pace. You don’t have to read 100 chapters a day to be spiritual, but you should read something. I use a reading plan which lays out my daily reading each day to get through the Bible systematically.
Don’t read just to read. Read to understand. Read to be convicted. Read to know God. Read, asking God to show you something for today. He will, you just have to focus and look for it!
2. Find Time To Pray
“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray” Luke 11:1
Reading God’s word is how God speaks to us. Praying is how we speak to God. Cast your cares on him. You don’t have to use big, flowery words, just talk to him! He’s a person, and you can come to him as a dad. He wants to hear you. He longs for you to talk to him. Why do you talk to everybody else before talking to the one that cares the most? There’s much that could be said about prayer, but perhaps we’ll save that for another post. Learn to pray.
3. Get Around Other Believers
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:19-25
This is a lengthy passage, but I want you to see something. If you’re in God’s family, you have access to him! You can come with boldness! Because of this, you should come near him, you should hold fast to him, and you should get around others to help and be helped. It’s been said that nobody is an island. Your life affects somebody, and you are constantly affected by others. Some say that they can worship God on their own, and that’s true, but it’s not God’s purpose for you to live the Christian life alone. Get around others who will excite you, exhort you and encourage you. You need the church. The church needs you. In scripture, the church is often described as a body. You should find your place in the body.
4. Maintain An Attitude of Repentance
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:7-10
When you accepted Christ as Savior, God took your account of sin and marked it “paid in full!” He then took your record of goodness, and wrote down all of the righteousness of Christ. So, eternally, before God, I am accepted through Christ. My sin isn’t written down anymore! (See 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). However, we still battle the sinful desires of the flesh. Sometimes, you will mess up. God still accepts you eternally, but by our sin we can hinder our relationship while here in this body. This might seem confusing, but think of it this way; our lives are like a lamp. We are meant to give light to a dark place, but if the lamp is dirty, our light doesn’t go very far. We can be bright on the inside, but with dirt, grime and crud caked up on the outside, we won’t be able to fulfill our purpose. This is why we ought to maintain an attitude of repentance. When we mess up, just get back up, asking God for help. He is a merciful and patient God. He is the God of second (and third and fourth and….) chances. Isn’t that great?
So, to know God’s will, first you must be sure you’re in the family of God! Second, be sure you stay in fellowship with God. Stay tuned for Part 3.
As a young person, there was nothing I wanted more than to know what I was supposed to do with my life and how to do it. It was always something that was somewhat mystifying to me. Will I get a vision? Will I start shaking? Will I see a light? … The list goes on. Little did I know that God’s will isn’t some distant, hard-to-understand object to be desired, rather, it is something we can know, we can grasp, and we can live.
I think there are many people out there today that would claim to be Christian, but they still haven’t figured out the purpose God has for their lives. Maybe that’s you. Maybe you long to know how to be right in the middle of God’s will, but you’re not sure where to start. Over the next few days, I’d like to share a little of what I’ve learned in this area. I think this series of posts will be a help to you.
Be Sure You’re In The Family!
It is amazing to me how many people are religious but still “lost” according to the Bible. Consider what Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23:
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
You see, there are many things done in the “name of Jesus” by people who don’t even know Him! As one preacher put it, this is the hard way to Hell. Religion is hard work, but religion isn’t enough! So, just how can you know you’re saved? How can you be in the family?
1. Know Your Sinful Condition
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Romans 3:10
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3: 23
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:20
If we never see ourselves as sinners, we’ll never need to be saved. You must admit that you need a Savior before Jesus can save you. The truth is, all of us have done wrong.
2. Know the Consequence of Sin
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Romans 5:12
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
So, the payment for sins, contrary to popular belief, isn’t works. Most believe that if they do more good than bad that God will let them into heaven. But the payment for sin, according to God’s word, is death. This “death” is also known as the second death, or Hell. That is what we deserve. To make sure you’re in the family of God, you MUST KNOW THIS! If you were to die today, and stand before God, would you be found innocent or guilty? Have you broken His law? The payment for breaking his law is death. Somebody has to pay this penalty.
3. Know that Christ died in your place
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” Galatians 3:13
“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
Christ is our only hope. You may have heard that he died on the cross, but why? He did it for you and me. He did it because it was the only way. Somebody had to die, and through his death, all of our sins were paid for. And now, through his resurrection we have victory over sin, hell and the grave. Only through Christ do we have a chance of Heaven, because HE is the only way, the truth and the life! (See John 14:6).
4. Repent and Believe on Christ
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
“And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18
So friend, you may have been playing a game all of your life… that all changes now. Make sure you’re in the family! Don’t put it off! Don’t let pride stop you! Repent and Believe on Christ. What does it mean to repent? It means a change of mind, or in other words, you turn from believing in your own goodness and works, your religion, a religious act, your church or your family, and you turn COMPLETELY to Christ. Believe on him. Don’t just believe IN him (that’s knowing about him), but believe ON him (that’s putting all of your confidence in him)!
What are you trusting in to get to you to Heaven? Be sure you’re in the family! Call on Christ today, accept Him as your only Savior, and he will adopt you into the family!
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” John 1:12
Once you’re “born again” (John 3:3-7), you can have complete peace that you’re in the family of God. We can be secure in our salvation, because it doesn’t depend on us to keep us saved. It depends completely on Jesus Christ and what he has already done for us! (See John 10:27-30). Once we’re in, we’re in. (See 1 John 5:13).
Are you in the Family? Are you saved? That is the first step to knowing God’s will.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series.