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Some Practical Helps in Knowing God's Will in Your Life

by Al Troester (1916-2002)

Al TroesterBelieve the Biblical Facts

God has a plan for you. "He which hath begun a good work you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).

God is working in you. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).

He has created us in Christ Jesus unto good works (Eph. 2:10). There is purpose therefore in our salvation.

He wants you to know His will. "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (Eph. 5:17).

I. What is Involved in Knowing the Will of God for You?

  1. It involves your spiritual and moral condition.
    "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour" (I Thess. 4:3-4). The will of God for you first of all is your sanctification. Unless your spiritual condition is right, He will not lead you in His particular will for you. The will of God for each believer is that we should so walk as to please Him. Cleaning up our lives is a necessity in knowing the will of God. Note that salvation begins with a willingness to do His will (Mt. 7:21-23: Mk. 3:35).
  2. The will of God for you could well be your geographical location.
    Notice in Acts 13:1-3 that the Holy Spirit sent forth Barnabas and Saul. They departed unto Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus. Are you willing for the Spirit of God to move you from your present location to another place? He may move you and He may not. It depends on His will for you. Geography is often involved in knowing the will of God. Barnabas and Saul were sent forth as missionaries which of course demanded a change of location for them. You may not be called to be a full time missionary to some foreign field. Your location may be right at home where you live or where you may work.
  3. Your specific vocation may well be designed by Him.
    You do not have to find your particular work in life in hit or miss fashion, trial and error way, or in stumbling on a job that you may like. God knows what He wants you to do for Him. It may not be the same for you as for the next believer. For example, for Noah, it was to build the ark. For Abraham, it was to build a great nation. For Sarah, it was to have a child. For Moses, it was to lead God's people out of Egypt. For Mary, it was to give birth to Jesus. For Paul, it was to go to Rome. For you, it will obviously not be to build the ark, be the father of a great nation, take God's people out of Egypt. His plan for you will be totally different, but should be acceptable.
  4. His will for you may even involve your life's partner if you are still single. He made a wife for Adam, chose a wife for Isaac, likewise for Jacob and He can do so for you too.

II. Who May Know the Will of God and Who Will He Lead?

The Bible is very specific here and we must know how to qualify. All should want to know God's will for their lives, and all may know. Notice the Scripture injunctions.

  1. The meek shall know. "The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way" (Ps. 25:9). It is to be understood as has been often said that meekness is not weakness. Moses was a bold leader but very meek. To
    be meek is to be broken in spirit. Moldable. Clay in the Potter's hands.
  2. Those who will present the body to God may know. Study Rom. 12:1,2 and its many details, and then especially see the conclusion on the will of God in the last part of verse 2. The verse surely spells dedication to God.
  3. God will show His will to those who will wait on Him.
    The Psalmist said,"Rest, in the LORD and wait patiently for him" (37:7). To wait may be one of the hardest things to do as most of us want to know God's will immediately and we cannot wait. There are times when God must guide immediately and other times when He may take years. He knows best and knows the way for you. Be patient. Waiting on God for the whatsoever could save you many heartaches, disappointments, mistakes, and even tears.
  4. Trust the Lord and He will lead you into the center of His will. One of the clear verses on this is Prov. 3:5,6 "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." To trust is to rely, to depend upon, to confide in, to believe. Notice too, it is necessary to acknowledge Him in all your ways. Give Him the right to direct you in everything. Your own understanding could be questionable. Let Him direct you.
  5. God will lead those to know His will who will commit their way to Him. Again the Psalmist declares, "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." (Ps. 37:5)
  6. Set yourself apart to and for God. This is the meaning of sanctification. God will lead those whom He sets apart for Himself. Be a clean vessel for the Lord. As a sugar bowl is set apart, sanctified just for sugar, so you too, set yourself apart just for God. He wants vessels, "sanctified, and meet for the master's use" (II Tim. 2:21) .

III. How Will God Lead You to Know His Will Is Often a Big Question

There are a number of ways God will lead His people. His ways may vary as to how He will lead, and it may not always be the same way. Let Him choose the method, but learn to be sensitive to His methods.

  1. God will lead you to know His will by the Holy Spirit within you. "He will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13). Learn to be sensitive to the Spirit's leading. Heed His inner promptings. One of the blessings of the Spirit-filled life is to be conscious of His presence. Allow Him to control every area of your life.
  2. God will lead you through His Word. The Holy Spirit is the author of the Scriptures and He will make it plain to you. The most reliable way God will direct you is when the Holy Spirit will impress something in particular upon your heart. Do not accept any outside leading that cannot be confirmed by the Word of God. Remember, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Ps. 119:105). See also II Tim. 3:15-17). Spend much time in the Word if you want to know God's will.
  3. God may use people to lead you into His will for your life. A good example is Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-31.The Eunuch was open to leading, and Philip was sensitive to the Holy Spirit's direction to speak to the eunuch. The Lord may send some one across your path to guide you in answer to your prayer. Be very careful, however, of the person that God may use. Make sure he or she is of the Lord. Again the leading must be confirmed by the Word of God and not be contrary to it.
  4. If you are a young person ,or even a young adult, the Lord may use your parents to direct you. They have a lot of wisdom by experience and have gone over the road before. Be careful, however, if they are unsaved. Your parents know you better than any one else does, so take heed to their instructions. Balance it with the Scripture and the sanction of the Holy Spirit. Don't forget Proverbs 1:8-9 "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." Young people often turn their backs upon their parents. No one loves you more, nor is more interested in you.
  5. You could well hear the still small voice as Elijah did (I Kings 19:12-13). Be careful you do not harden your heart against God as we are warned in Psalm 95:7,8. Be alert to his voice as Eli told young Samuel (I Sam. 3:1-14). Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). Listen for the voice of Jesus as He speaks to you. There are many voices in the world that want a hearing. Make sure your ears are in tune with His voice.
  6. One of the precious ways God may use to lead you is by His eyes. Watch parents how they often guide their children with their eyes without saying a word. God said,
    "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye" (Ps. 32:8). Read also about the horse and the mule in the next verse. When you look up to God you may sense His approval or shroud of disapproval.
  7. He will also guide you by your ears. "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isaiah 30:21). Keep your ears sharpened so you can hear Him. Listen.
  8. Often the Lord will lead you by means of circumstances as He did with Joseph, who went through many trying circumstances from the pit, the prison, and finally next to Pharaoh and became ruler of Egypt. God surely ordered his life and gave him the right vocation. Don't cry over your poor circumstances. They may just be steps in God's leadership into the center of His will for you.

From Quarterly Notes, vol. 10, no. 4, "Practical Helps," by Al Troester. Used with permission of author.

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