For part 1, click here.
Few things are as important to Christians than being in God’s will. But how do we know we are in God’s will? Conversely, how do we know when we are NOT in God’s will?
80% of the things we engage in day to day are NOT addressed in Scripture. Things like which career to follow… who to date or marry… whether or not to move… major purchases… education… church home… etc. Let us begin with positive ways to know we are in God’s will.
The Positive: We are in God’s will when we are engaged in fulfilling Scriptural commands such as: When we love others… We forgive others… We make disciples… We pray… We do good to enemies… and We worship God in Spirit and truth (Etc).
The Negative (These are not ways to discern God’s will): When we encounter opposition or affirmation; When life is tough or easy; When good or bad things happen; When things fall into place or don’t fall into place; When people support or don’t support us. POINT: We cannot discern with certainty being in God’s will based on outward circumstances, events, or people’s opinions.
The Answer: Romans 12:1-2! Discerning God’s will does not come from ourselves or others. God’s will is revealed to us by God. It is revealed as we live our lives as an act of worship to Him. It is revealed as we live out the things we know are God’s will as found in Scripture (See “The Positive” above). It is revealed as our mind is renewed through Scripture and prayer. It is revealed through a process of trial and error (“testing”). God’srevelation of His will for our lives comes from God Himself and should be considered an ongoing revelation.
NOTE! The “ongoing revelation” I am referring to is not to be confused with the special revelation God gave to those who wrote the Scripture. That kind of revelation is closed, over, and ended with the Apostles in my view.
Illustration… William Carey. William Carey sensed God’s call to go to India and spread the Gospel. Yet he was opposed by his own denomination! They told him, “If God wants to save the Indian people, He’ll do it without you!” And so they didn’t support him in his efforts. When Mr. Carey eventually arrived in India, the going was slow… tough… and difficult. It was seven years before he ever saw his first convert. While in India, his 1st and 2nd wives died along with his son. Yet Mr. Carey became known as the father of modern missions. Mr. Carey’s most famous quote is, “Expect great thing from God, attempt great things for God.” All today agree William Carey was dead center of God’s will and was successful.
Illustration… Joseph of the Old Testament (May 7,2008). His father doted on him while his brothers hated him. There was an attempt on his life… he was sold into slavery… falsely accused of rape… thrown in prison… and forgotten for several years. But does all that opposition mean he was out of God’s will? No! Those very things are part of God keeping Joseph in His will! People’s attitude toward us means nothing about whether or not we are in God’s will.
Conclusion: Following God’s call does not mean ease or success in worldly terms. It doesn’t matter what other people think of what we are doing (“Are we trying to please men or God?” Galatians 1:10). Success in regards to God’s call is found in one word… OBEDIENCE. God does not call everyone to success in the eyes of men. God does call everyone to success in His eyes. This is the definition of being in God’s will: When we are obedient to His call. (The next thing to discern is God’s Call…)