I can remember my young adult years like they were yesterday. Those days were filled with tons of fun memories rock climbing, rappelling, and late night food runs. Below the surface always seemed to linger a bit of tension on what might lie ahead. At various moments in my day the questions of “what will I do?”, “who will I marry?”, or worse “when will I meet her?” seemed to be ever present. I wish I could offer the next generation a paradigm to relieve that tension. I am afraid that this tension is normal for most 21st century Americans. On the bright side, I can offer a few tips along the way.
General Thoughts on God’s Will
Acknowledge that the highest priority for God is you. You are His will.
We tend to ‘romanticize’ God’s will looking for signs or hoping for a Mt. Sinai experience. God does use those kinds of moments, but NOT on the daily.
Emotions whether positive or negative do not necessitate God’s will. You could be scared, and it could be God’s will. You could be thrilled, and it could not be God’s will. As I tell my girls, emotions are a good thing...don’t let them drive you.
The Classic text
Romans 12 is the classic text most pastors/preachers use for preaching on God’s will. I’m sure God can use it to guide you if you study it a bit. If I may point out Paul tells us God’s will in how to live our lives in ¾ of the passage so don’t stop reading at the word “will”. He tells us to be a part of the body and use our giftings. He also challenges us with three simple verbs in verse 9: Love, Hate, & Cling. Check them out as a devotional this week.
Paul is an excellent case study of determining God’s will in our lives. He seems to experience decisions in a normal way. Here’s the highlights
Road to Damascus- His conversion to follow Jesus was one of those ‘Mt Sinai’ experiences that we all have encountered at some point. Thank God for these.
He’s called to the church. He uses his giftings to aid the church (see Romans 12 above.) We know this because he reminds us in EVERY book. I Paul an Apostle of Christ Jesus our Lord.
God closes doors. In preparing for some missionary journeys Paul makes it clear that he had intentions on going to one city and God closed the door. We need closed doors.
God called Paul to those cities and his path was just that pain and torture. It’s never wise to knowingly subject yourself to ridicule and physical torture. Good wisdom isn’t always God’s wisdom.
Pray with your Eyes and Ears. Ask with your lips and then LISTEN. READ the good Book and ask God to show you a confirming verse. Finally, Jesus said, “I watch where the Father is at work and I work alongside Him.”
Practice the Spiritual Disciplines. There’s something about fasting that opens our eyes and ears to the path directed for us.
Seek wise counsel. Hint: Not for the wise counsel you want to hear… but for Godly wisdom you need to hear.
Wait. Remember that waiting doesn’t mean sitting in front of a video console or netflix day after day. It means listening for God as you GO. Keep moving forward. (Isaiah 40:31)
I AM HIS WILL