Knowing the Will
Finding Answers to Knowing the will of God?
How will I know if I am doing the will of God and going in the direction that He wants me to go?
This is a very important and valid question for a Christian to ask. One of the things which the Spirit seems to give us is a desire in our hearts to do what God wants and to be pleasing to Him. But, that sometimes leaves us with the question, "OK, now what do I do?
God's will for our lives can be divided into two areas: general instructions (things He wants from every one of us) and specific instructions (such as an individual call to be a minister, missionary, Bible teacher, or other specific calling).
Finding God's general instructions is relatively easy. The information is well known and is found in our Bible. Simple instructions such as putting God first in our lives, loving others as ourselves, etc., are well established and well known. It is our responsibility as Christians to read God's word, and, as He gives us strength, to follow His instructions for our lives. The Bible is full of admonitions for us to be obedient to the known will of God.
Knowing God's specific instructions for our own individual life can be more difficult. This is a problem most Christians struggle with at some time in their life. Older Christians are not exempt from this struggle, but it is a particular problem for young Christians who are making decisions about school, courses of study and other issues involved with choosing, preparing for and starting careers.
The same Bible that spends a great deal of time telling us to be obedient, spends little or no time admonishing us or placing a specific responsibility on us to find ministry or career instructions from God. On the other hand, in scripture, when God did call men and women to service He expected their obedience.
The lesson here seems to that it is our responsibility is to obey. It is God's responsibility to instruct and call.
We are responsible for obedience to the instruction God has placed in His word and for any specific calling He has revealed to us. On the other hand, we are not responsible for a call we have not yet received, or specifics about a call which have not yet been revealed.
Furthermore, it is consistent with the character and nature of God that He will make his call known as soon as He feels it is necessary that we know it. This tells us that, if He hasn't made it known yet, then it isn't yet necessary, in His judgment, that we know.
Christians, especially those choosing courses of study and careers, often put unnecessary stress on themselves because they want to know God's will for their lives and sometimes He doesn't seem to be saying anything to them. In truth the pressure is off of us and the responsibility is on God. It is God's responsibility to tell us. Our only responsibility is to obey once His will is known.
This doesn't mean that we shouldn't care what God's will is for our lives. We should pray for His guidance and listen for his voice.
When we know God's general instructions for Christians (through study of His word), and His specific instructions for our life (if He has revealed any) then we will know whether we are in His will, we are either doing what He has told us to do or we aren't.
What do I do if I don't know what God's general instructions are?
Study your Bible. The New Testament is especially rich in instruction for daily living. The Gospels contain Jesus' own personal instructions for His followers.
What if I don't know what God's specific instructions for my life are?
You are free in areas in which God has not given you instruction. This means that if you have already charted a course for your life continue on. Unless or until He tells you otherwise, assume that God wants you to serve him and honor him where you are. If you are choosing courses in school or making career decisions, make your own choice. Do what you feel is right for you. If God has other plans, it is His responsibility to make them known to you. By the way, this only works if you are honest with yourself. We are not in God's will if, when He reveals His will to us, we reject it, or deny it, or tell ourselves we aren't sure when we really are.
However, freedom is not a license. If God uses His word or other means to make known to you a plan which is contrary to your own, then you have an obligation to obey Him.
This approach to knowing and obeying God's will is both Biblical and practical. It places an absolute requirement on us to be obedient. However, it does not require us to be obedient to something which God has not chosen to reveal to us. And, it expresses faith in God's ability to clearly communicate to us what we need to know when we need to know it.
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