34. How to Know the Will of God
Purpose: This session is intended to help you know the will of God for your life.
1. The disciple will learn what makes knowing the will of God difficult for some.
2. The disciple will learn some of the specifics and non-specifics about the will of God.
3. The disciple will understand the ways that God can help them when they make honest mistakes.
4. The disciple will learn some things that are involved in knowing God’s will for themselves.
Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice - alive, holy, and pleasing to God - which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God - what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
1. Prayer and sharing.
2. Review Scripture memory.
3. Discuss worksheet.
4. Discuss the questions.
Our Father has not placed us in this world without a concern about the place we are to fill and things we are to do. There is much written today about the will of God and its importance in our lives. A good book written on the subject is entitled Decision Making and the Will of God, by Gary Friesen. It is recommended to you for your broader reading.
Perhaps a general statement is in order. The will of God for me is not a highly specific plan that covers every detail of my life. There are choices I can make within the broad boundaries given to me in Scripture. There are also specific considerations that God has for me and wishes me to fulfill. This description represents the position of Lifestyle Discipleship. Some interpret Scripture differently on the issue of choices.
I. The will of God for me should be the chief aim of my life, 1 Samuel 15:22.
A. Some general things for my life and any life of a Christian today are:
1. We are to be witnesses of things we know, Acts 1:8.
2. We are to be delivered from this present evil age, Galatians 1:4.
3. We are to be sanctified (in a practical sense), 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
4. We are to learn to give thanks for all things, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
5. We are ultimately to be with Him where He is, John 17:24.
B. General characteristics of the will of God, Romans 12:2.
1. It is good.
2. It is acceptable.
3. It is perfect (complete or adequate)
4. It is best, even if it is the most dangerous or most misunderstood.
5. It is ultimately the easiest and safest place to be.
II. What makes the will of God difficult to know?
A. Lack of surrender to the Holy Spirit’s control, Romans 6:13.
B. Tolerating sin in my life, the lack of confession and forsaking of sin, Proverbs 28:13.
C. Lack of a spiritual motive — wanting to know the will of God to consider it rather than to do it.
Not knowing the will of God can lead to wasted lives and often “second best,” frustration and sorrow.
III. How do we know the will of God?
A. Scriptural confirmation
B. Inward impulse
C. Trend of circumstances
D. Overall peace
E. Godly Counsel
Before you go any further, imagine you are in a situation that is far-reaching in its results and most difficult to make a decision about. How would you go about making this decision? What criteria would apply? Is it biblical to ask God for a “fleece?” (Judges, 6) Answer these questions before going any further with this session.
1. How much do our personal feelings and emotions play a part in our deter mining this aspect of the Christian life?
2. There is a bit of controversy in the church today over how specific the will of God might be. How specific is the will of God in your life? Answer in your own words from your own understanding at this time.
3. Some things are highly specific. Look up the following verses and write in your own words what they teach about the will of God.
a. We are to be ___________________________, Acts 1:8.
b. The Father purposes that we should be rescued _______ ________ _____________ evil age, Galatians 1:4. What does this mean?
c. It is the will of God that we be _______________, 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
d. ______________________________ is an important aspect of the will of God, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
e. God has purposed (so it is His will) that? John 17:24
It would be reasonable to say that everything God commanded that applies to me in the Scriptures can be considered the will of God for me. On the other hand, there is a framework within which I work in this world, and within that framework, I can make choices which are personal and more appropriate for me. To say that the will of God applies to every possible decision is probably being too specific.
4. General characteristics of the will of God are found in Romans 12:2. Read this verse carefully and list the characteristics in your own words.
If these are true, what reaction in me is appropriate?
5. The will of God is ultimately the safest, easiest, and most restful place to be, even if it is the most difficult. Some people have difficult times determining the specific will of God for their lives. What could be some of the reasons for this difficulty?
6. The will of God is more difficult to determine if one has not surrendered to God — if he is not practicing the Lordship of Jesus. It is also more difficult if I am tolerating a specific sin in my life that is continuing without being judged and confessed. A lack of a spiritual motive can also be a problem. Some seek to know the will of God to consider it, rather than to actually do it. It is doubtful if the Father would reveal His secrets to men under these circumstances. How God can override choices that are made contrary to His will is not fully understood. How does Romans 8:28 reveal that He can do this?
Structure From the Scriptures and Experience
What is known about the specific will of God? How do we find it? It is important that all these factors work together and that none be used in isolation.
I. I need to consider what I think I would like to do. This could involve teaching, witnessing, or perhaps doing some physical activity in behalf of the church. Let us refer to this as an inward impulse. This is not valid in every case, however. Jonah is an example. His inward impulse was to flee.
II. There will be Scriptural confirmation. By this is meant that there will be instruction from the Word of God. We must be sure that we follow the teaching of the Holy Spirit and never move contrary to the Word of God.
III. The third thing is the trend of circumstances. This is simply an open door or an opportunity to do what I would like to do.
IV. Overall peace is an important consideration. This means simply that I have a settled and good feeling about the whole situation. And I would certainly say that even with the previous three variables present, it would be foolish to consider the activity or direction inwardly unless an overall peace was available.
V. The confirmation of the local church, is likewise important.
VI. In each of these things, it is obviously assumed that prayer is involved...that we have sought His face and direction in each matter.
We should be careful about asking for a “fleece,” a sign, which may be an indication of unbelief.
Questions for Review and Discussion
1. React to these statements: “The will of God is very specific and includes every detail of my life.” “To miss the will of God is to miss God’s only and best plan for my life.”
2. What would be the best thing to do if you are in doubt about the will of God in your life?
3. List some things that you can be certain of as far as the will of God for your life is concerned.
4. What is the best thing to do if you feel you have gone in a direction that is not the will of God?
5. What should you do if what you feel is the will of God seems to be contrary to the revealed will of God in Scripture?
Summary and Key Concepts
There are many important concepts to learn concerning the will of God for our lives. Perhaps the first and most important is that God is concerned about His children and has plans for us.
Concerning the specificity of His will for us, there are many things that are specific; we should earnestly seek such things. He may have a will for us as well, that is more general and we should follow biblical principles in seeking it.
We should remember that it is always the will of God that we are obedient to His Word. There are many statements and principles in the Scriptures that apply to me, and it is never the will of God that we violate these. Whatever is inconsistent with Scripture is certainly inconsistent with His will.
But there are many things in our lives concerning which the Father has undoubtedly given us a choice, as long as they are consistent with the principles laid down in Scripture.
Certain things might impair our knowing the will of God for our lives. These include known sin, lack of a spiritual motive, and unwillingness to surrender our lives to Him.
The will of God is always best in my life. It is ultimately the safest, easiest and happiest place to be. We need to pray for guidance, of course. Then six things are important in our knowing the specific will of God for our lives. These include the confirmation of Scripture, inward impulse, the trend of circumstance, overall peace, godly counsel and prayer.
Write an example of seeking the will of God in your life; share this with your discipler. If you have not sought the will of God specifically, begin asking and pray with your discipler using the principles mentioned in this session.
Related Topics: Discipleship