When I was a young man, there were situations where I wanted guidance from those more experience than I. I asked, “What would you do?” Many times the person I asked would respond, “I am not going to tell you what you should do?” I was not asking them to make my decision; I was asking them for some counsel. As a result of this happening a number of times, I stopping asking anybody. I made many errors that could have been prevented, if I would have had some counsel.
Yesterday, I heard of a preacher who was asked by someone (not me), “What would you do?” The response from that pastor was, “I am not going to tell you what you should do.” This grieved me deeply. I so wished I could have listened to that person, and if I had some experience in that area would have given some counsel.
That incident is why I’m writing today’s thoughts.
Some thoughts on knowing God’s will.
I’ve written on this before, but I will just write of this one topic.
God’s will, views, thoughts, knowledge, and wisdom are beyond our understanding: Isaiah 55:9 NRSV For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
We might ask fellow Christians and pastors for advice. They may or may not give advice and wisdom, but God always gives wisdom. He doesn’t say when, but He will. He promises it. He will not get upset at us for asking. James 1:5 WEL If any of you lack wisdom, then ask the God, who gives to all profusely and doesn't rebuke, and it will be given to him.
We must be willing, praying, and applying ourselves to be living God’s ways in our thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. Romans 12:1-2 WEL I implore you, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present yourselves as a holy, living sacrifice [which is] acceptable to God [and] your rational service [to Him]. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may discern what [is] the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.
We must seek diligently seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness: Matthew 6:33 NASB But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
All we do, think, and say publicly and privately must be to God’s glory: 1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
We must realize that we are influenced by our fleshly desires all too often, so we must implore God to reveal these things to us. There can be no healing unless we acknowledge truth. Psalms 139:23-24 GNB Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me, and discover my thoughts. 24 Find out if there is any evil in me and guide me in the everlasting way.
Our decisions must be tested by Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 GNB Put all things to the test: keep what is good 22 and avoid every kind of evil.
We must know that there are things that we must do. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 22 NLT Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. ... Stay away from every kind of evil.
We must know that there are things that we must NOT do. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 NLT Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.
We must know principles that God honors. A few examples:
1. Avoiding the many ways of sexual sins: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NLT God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor-- not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.
2. Seeking and admitting the truth: Proverbs 12:17, 22 NLT An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies. ... The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.
3. Faith, that is, believing God. This is believing, reading and studying Bible in its plain, normal sense: Hebrews 11:6 NLT And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
We must know principles that God hates. A couple of examples:
1. Turning from turn to falsehoods. This especially applies to beliefs, philosophies, substitutes, etc., so things that are not true. 1 Timothy 4:3-4 WEL For the time will come when they will not put up with sound doctrine but according to their own sinful desires—[and] having tickling ears—will multiply for themselves teachers, 4 And they will turn away their ears from the truth, turning instead to fantasies.
2. Loving other things, for example, riches: 1 Timothy 6:10 NRSV For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
We can learn from successful actions (God approved):
1. The repentance of the people of Nineveh: Jonah 3:4-5, 10 NLT On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: "Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!" The people of Nineveh believed God's message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. ... When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.
2. Being thankful and glorifying God for what He has done: Luke 17:12-19 NLT As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" He looked at them and said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, "Praise God!" He fell to the ground at Jesus' feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Didn't I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" And Jesus said to the man, "Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you."
We can learn from unsuccessful actions (God disapproves):
1. Betraying God, lying about Him, turning against Him, deliberately make Him angry:
a) Luke 22:3-5 NIV Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money.
b) Luke 22:47-48 NIV While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"
2. Forsaking God, abandoning Him, turning away from to love and seek something other: 2 Timothy 4:10 NIV for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
3. Pride: 2 Chronicles 26:16 NLT But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the LORD his God by entering the sanctuary of the LORD's Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar.
Hopefully, these basics will help you and me make better decisions. If no one will listen to your issues, then we must pray. But, I pray you can find someone who will at least listen.
God does not say when He will answer, but He will.
Let us seek God.
Psalm 10:4 NLT The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.
Proverbs 3:6 NLT Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.