In the previous section, we saw that one way God reveals His will to us is through general instructions, which are generic commands that He gives to everyone.
The other way that He reveals His will is through personal instructions which are tailored to individuals. It is entirely possible that God may tell you to do something that does not apply to the next guy.
For example, in our church, we have a whole host of ministries. It is tempting to think that if someone isn’t involved in your favorite ministry, they are just “non-spiritual.”
However, God may give you the desire and ability to do something that He may not give to someone else. Therefore, it is up to you to give it your best and not worry about what everyone else is doing.
So, how does God lead us individually? If you can answer this question, following God will become much easier.
God leads through circumstances
Sometimes you can decipher God’s will simply because there is no other choice. There may be one door standing wide open while all the others are closed and locked with a deadbolt. That is God’s way of making it easy on us. Walk through the door, and you’re in.
While God leads through open doors, He also leads through closed doors. The Apostle Paul tried and tried to travel from Asia to Bithynia, but God refused to allow it, leaving him exasperated (Acts 16:6-10). Paul’s intentions were pure and he thought the opportunities for ministry there were great. However, God kept slamming the door on him. Eventually, through a dream, God informed him that he was to go to Macedonia instead.
Sometimes we can’t figure out closed doors. Why would God forbid us to do something that seems (and otherwise would be) so right? The answer is that a closed door is a clear sign that God has a different plan.
You probably believe that God is powerful enough to open doors, but do you believe that He also can close them? While persistence is necessary when the enemy places roadblocks in our way, sometimes we have to come to the realization that God has a different path in mind.
God leads through a still, small voice
In I Kings 19:10-13 we can read about the prophet Elijah who secluded himself in a cave, feeling sorry for himself. God interrupted his pity party by showing up to impart some personal instructions. While it is quite remarkable that God visited Elisha, the most impressive thing was how He did it.
First, a great wind kicked up, so strong that it picked up rocks and smashed them into the ground. Surely this was a manifestation of God! Nope. Then came an earthquake, followed by a fire, but God was not in either of those.
Finally, a “still small voice” could be heard. God was in the voice. Through it He encouraged Elisha and gave him instructions.
We often seek out some earth-shattering display that will reveal God’s will. Maybe God will part the sea or call down fire, making His desires clear. However, it’s not always that way.
The still small voice of God is that quiet voice within you that tells you what you should be doing. It is that voice that you prefer to ignore because it is convicting. It is that voice that wants to override your plans for the day. Yet, it is the voice of God telling you what to do.
Want to know the will of God? Listen for that quiet voice inside you. The voice that reminds you about the sermon you heard last Sunday or the verse you read this morning. Obey it and you will be following the will of God.
God leads through godly counsel
For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 24:6)
How many people make up a multitude? Quite a few, I guess. When you have a big decision to make, it is wise to seek advice from many people. That does not mean you have to take everyone’s advice, but you should listen to it. A wise man is one who learns from the mistakes of others before he makes them himself.
One important note regarding counsel: make sure it is godly. You might want to take some time to read about Amnon’s friend Jonadab (II Samuel 13) to see the risks of listening to the wrong people.
While choosing counselors, it is tempting to pick out your friends who will tell you what you want to hear. What good does that do? Ask advice from someone who has “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.” After all, you wouldn’t go to a bald doctor to ask about hair loss remedies, would you?
God leads through your desires
Sometimes we are afraid to seek God’s will because we’re afraid He’s going to send us to live among the tarantulas in a jungle somewhere on the back side of the earth. Not that tarantulas are all that bad, but most likely there will be no Internet connection!
But did you know that God also leads through our desires?
Philippians 2:13 is a verse that is very special to me because it was the main verse God used in calling me into the ministry. It says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
I spent a lot of time pondering this verse, and I noticed two things that God does in us:
1. He makes us willing to do His pleasure
2. He makes us able to do His pleasure
This does not mean that God will never ask us to do something that we don’t want to do (remember Jonah?). However, He does give us the desire to please Him, which will lead us into His will.
Furthermore, when God gives you a desire, He will also give you the ability to do it.
I hope by now you can see that God does not play “hide and seek” with His will. He wants us to know it. However, He’s not always going to shove it in front of us when we are not looking for it.
So, what do we do to make sure we don’t miss it?
PRACTICAL STEPS TO KNOWING GOD’S WILL
Let me give you just a few practical steps to help you find God’s will.
First, read His word. This is the primary way we learn God’s will. How will you know what it says if you don’t read it?
Second, change your desires. Learn to desire first and foremost for God’s will to be done. Then when He reveals it to you, you will willingly obey. And you may actually enjoy it!
Finally, get started! It’s hard to steer a car while it’s sitting in a parking lot, but it is easy while moving down the street. Get moving and let God drive.
This is the fifteenth post in the “Battle for Your Mind” series. Click here to view the previous post.
Click here for the next section – The Battle for Your Bitterness: Understanding Hurt and Forgiveness