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Posts Tagged ‘God’s voice’

The topic of finding God’s will is one for all of us to reflect on, and perhaps especially for our young people to consider as they have their whole lives before them. So I would like for us to focus on this today and also next week as well.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us “we are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” This tells us that God created each one of us and he has prepared beforehand things for us to do – “good works.” And so we all need to search after our place in God’s scheme of things, so that we can “walk in” these good works, as Paul says. What is it that God wants us to do? What is it that God wants you to do?

Now, let me begin by noting that –

A lot of God’s will is the same for all of us

 God wants all of us to live a life of righteousness, as this is taught in Scripture. And this can be quite specific:

  • Should I be in an adulterous relationship? No, this is not God’s will.
  • Should I marry an unbeliever? No.
  • Should I find a way to love my enemy? Yes.
  • Should I be true to my word? Yes.

Scripture teaches us these things and they are the same for everybody.

And secondly, God wants all of us to serve him and work for the kingdom. No exceptions! This is God’s will for all believers.

To say it another way, it is God’s will for each of us to: Love God with all our heart and to .ove our neighbor as ourselves.

Paul puts it like this – it is God’s “purpose” for each of us is “to be conformed to the image of his Son” – Romans 8:28-29. That is, we are all to live out Jesus’ teaching and follow his example in every situation in life that we find ourselves.

And these things are taught in Scripture. As Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” These things are clear and they apply to all of us, and to any specific situation we might find ourselves in. So Scripture shines a light on the path that we are to walk, showing us God’s will. (Now for sure there can be areas of application that become difficult, so that even in this area we need discernment at times. See – Ephesians 5:10; Philippians 1:9-10; Hebrews 5:14)

But there is also –

God’s specific will for you

Those things that God wants for you, that are unique to you and your situation; that have to do with why God made you and the gifts that God has given to you. This is what we are focusing on. Questions like:

  • How should I serve God? What is my place in the kingdom?
  • Should I marry? And if so, who?
  • Should I take a particular job? Or more broadly, which career?
  • Should I stay here or move?
  • Should I go for more schooling?

Now, let me say at this point, we can overdo this searching after God’s specific will so that you think you need to feel a mountain shake and hear a voice from God every time you do something. So if you go grocery shopping you are asking, “Lord, should I get the name brand or generic? Lord, what should I do?”

We can take this too far. And I have seen this kind of thing, and I don’t want to encourage it. I am really talking about important decisions; or where you are at a crossroads; or when your heart is stirring – and you think God is up to something.

So, how do you find God’s specific will for you? I want us to look at –

Eight things you can do

 – that will help you to discern this. These are steps you can take to help you hear and receive what God wants to tell you. We will look at three of these today.

1. Get close to God. Think about it. Who will hear a person better, one standing nearby or far off? If you want to know what God has to say, you need to draw near to God. Who knows better what a person wants, their close friend or a stranger? Isn’t it obvious? If you want to know what God wants, you need to spend time with God in relationship.

Knowing God’s will for you, is first and foremost a matter of knowing God and being in relationship with God. Not just knowing a bit of information from God, but knowing God himself – who is most important above all.

Relationship with God involves many things, some of which we will talk about below, but certainly it means getting rid of our sin, which keeps us far from God.  Isaiah 59:2 says, “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”

Does God seem distant? It may well because of the choices that you have made; the ways you have offended God and done wrong.

If this is true, repent and seek forgiveness. Clear up any issues in your relationship. And then spend time in with God. Be close to God. Walk with God. As James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” This is a promise from God.

When you are close to God you can hear what God has to say to you and you can know what he wants from you. This is the foundation for all else that follows.

2. Study the Scriptures. This is certainly a part of being close to God; of getting to know God.

Scripture guides us, not just in teaching us righteousness, but also by teaching us more generally –

  • God’s principles
  • God’s values
  • God’s character, or who God is
  • What God has done in the past, and
  • God’s promises to us for the future

And when we get to know all this from Scripture, it helps to guide us as we look at our own very specific situations.

Paul says in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind . . ..” He is saying, instead of being squeezed into the mold that the world puts on you and just fitting in, fill your mind with God’s values and truth. And then he goes on “. . . that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” A renewed mind gives you the perspective you need. So renew your mind in the things of God, fill it up with Scripture, and you will be able to test and discern what God’s will is in all kinds of different situations.

3. Listen for God’s voice. We hear what God has said and done in the Scriptures and this is our standard by which to judge all else. But we can also hear from God today. Amen? God is still speaking and acting today! And certainly any good relationship involves communication both ways.

  • We can hear God when we listen in our times of prayer. (Do you make time for this? Do you listen or just tell God what you need and then you’re done.)
  • We can hear God’s voice when the Spirit stirs within us. It is the great privilege of Christians that the Spirit of God lives within us. And Paul talks about Christians as ones who are “led by the Spirit” (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18).
  • We can also hear God’s voice as we read the Scriptures. That is, the Spirit can apply a passage to our specific circumstances, so that it comes alive and gives us the direction we need.

As we listen for God’s voice, let me say that this comes to us primarily in two ways:

An inner sense in our heart from God. This is non-verbal communication, which nonetheless communicates God’s intention to us.

  • If things are well and good it is a sense of peace, assurance and God’s presence. And example of this can be seen in Acts 15. After the Jerusalem council, James testified about the decision they made at the council, “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us . . .” – Acts 15:28.
  • If things are not right, it is a sense of unrest, or turmoil. Paul talks about “grieving the Spirit” in Ephesians 4:30. This is something you can feel in your heart.

An inner voice from God. This voice comes from outside of ourselves. (It is not a part of our internal thinking). Yet it is heard deep in our heart. And it is clear, strong, pure and focused.

This is the “still, small voice” that Elijah heard when God spoke to him in  1 Kings 19:12. This is the voice Philip heard when he was told to speak to the Ethiopian eunuch. “And the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over and join this chariot’” – Acts 8:29.

So three things to begin with today on finding God’s will, all of which have to do with relationship with God. 1. Get close to God, 2. Study the Scriptures to get to know God, and 3. Listen for God’s voice. Next week we will continue on with steps: #4-#8.

William Higgins

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