How Can I Know God's Will?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    This is a spinoff question from the thread "God's Will For Your Life," started by HAMel.

    So, how do you determine God's will, beyond what is revealed in Scripture?

    Some of you will cite an inner urge in one direction that can't be ignored.

    Some will cite open and closed doors. When God opens a door, go through it. When he closes it, back off.

    I know a a preacher friend who said his call to preach was from an audible voice. I've heard people say "God spoke to me..." Please elaborate.

    Others say that when God confirms a life choice, they have an inner peace.

    Release the hounds.
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    What I tell people in our congregation when they ask:

    1. Stay in Scripture and regular, consistent quiet times
    2. Ask God to show you
    3. Surround yourself with Christ loving people who can affirm you and what God is doing in your life
    4. Take a personality and giftedness survey like PLACE, Network, or UniquelyYou
    5. Start serving somewhere, anywhere, in the church
    6. Make sure you are being a good steward of your whole life

    Its not a magical formula, but when I can get people to consistently do these things we see them finding God's will and staying in the middle of it. Sometimes we have to go through dry seasons, happens to me and others, but the fruit is amazing. :)

    I'm sure there are other, better answers, this is what I've observed and have used with effectiveness. A good idea for a thread.
     
  3. zrs6v4

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    I assuming that you mean knowing God's will for our life is our major gifted area where God has gifted us to service, where does He want us to be, when, why, how, etc..

    I don't think there is a formula for this. I don't think we can say follow these steps and God will show you, although I agree with the steps. I think to rightly find God's will it must begin with our relationship and love for God and His glory. We should be most invested in God. We should and will pray about it naturally out of this priority of having a heart for God. There are times where I have searched the secrets of God and He answered and there are times where I searched and was left frustrated and more confused. I have found by not living culturally looking for God's will for your career and focusing on God's Kingdom then many changes and things fall into place. I disagree with the person that says look at your gifts because my very worst fear and thing I am worst at is where I sense God is leading me although I don't have hardly anything figured out. It keeps me humble and needy. I think naturally we want to have God all figured out so we can control Him and be comfortable, but I disagree.

    So all of that babble, I think that we just need to relax and fully focus on what God is doing now and let Him bring the special cases in His time. I think the fullness of our lives isn't met in being a success or meeting a dream, but fully loving and enjoying and worshiping God freely right now.
     
  4. HAMel

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    The problem with the World's View of reincarnation (of which I do not believe in) is that all who claim they lived a previous life always consider themselves to have been a great leader, General, King, Queen, etc. No one ever tells of having been a farmer in their last life.

    I say all this to say that I heard of a woman in Western Virginia, 25 years ago, who suffered from a bone disease. Her bones were very brittle and would break under the slightest pressure.

    Pasted to the ceiling above her bed were hundreds of people. Preachers, Missionaries, SS Teachers, children, lost individuals, etc. Anyone who wanted her to pray for someone had that person's picture up on the ceiling.

    The woman laid in her bed day after day and did the only thing she could do. She prayed for all those people.

    In the grand scheme of things some people are chosen to do Gods will in what some would consider most insignificant roles. I think many desire to be greater and bigger and more well known in their role for the Lord but will Billy Graham receive more of a reward than this woman who prayed constantly? I doubt it. They were both faithful and will be rewarded according to their faith.
     
  5. Aaron

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    Only by feelings. Going beyond Scripture is the problem, not the need.
     
  6. saturneptune

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    Feelings are a very dangerous basis to determine God's will for the Christian, and can be eternally fatal if one depends on feelings to confirm salvation. We have been over this before, but feelings are surface emotions that come and go, such as happy, sad, angry, elated, scared, depressed, etc. These have nothing to do with the fruits of the Spirit, that is joy, peace, faith, hope, goodness, etc, which abide in the deepest part of our soul, and is one way the Spirit in us confirms we are children of God.

    Lots of people get the two mixed up. For example, one can be angry and still have the joy and peach of the Lord abiding in them. On the other hand, a lost person might have no fruits of the Spirit, and be happy, mistaking that for salvation.

    In relation to the will of God, the Christian must not rely on surface feelings, but what the Lord is telling the person. Fruits of the Spirit help lead the way.
     
    #6 saturneptune, Jan 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2010
  7. swaimj

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    How can I know God's will or, in other words, how can I know about tomorrow? Is that not what we are really asking.

    Recently, I heard about a man who trained for years in seminary and got his degrees, then returned to his native land to preach the gospel. The next day after he got home, he drowned. I doubt he knew that was God's will for this life and I doubt that was his goal while he was training in seminary.

    "Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth".

    We do not know the future and we are not promised that we have another day to live in this life, so how can we "know" the future (God's will)?

    I'm just not sure we are asking a legitimate question here.
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    There has to be some explanation for the untold thousands of people who believe God has called them to preach, to the mission field, to serve a particular congregation, etc.

    How did they know that? The large majority of them seem to have no doubt about their calling.

    And in more mundane matters, does God communicate his will to us regarding a job change, the purchase of a house, the choosing of a wife? If so, how does he do it? That's all I'm asking.
     
  9. John of Japan

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    Many years ago I read the sage advice of George Mueller on the will of God, and have tried to follow it since. Here it is.




    How To Ascertain the Will of God


    George Mueller



    (1) I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
    (2) Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
    (3) I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
    (4) Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
    (5) I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.
    (6) Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.
     
  10. John of Japan

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    Beyond George Mueller's advice, my own study has taught me that there are three aspects to the will of God in the Bible.

    (1) The sovereign will of God. (Without getting into the whole Cal/Arm thing, it is evident that God is truly sovereign, that He rules how He wants to.) For just one example, death and judgment are appointed, not a choice (Heb. 9:27).
    (2) The moral will of God. When I actually left my own ideas out of it, I was surprised at how many times in the Bible "will of God" means obeying the commands He has given us. Moral righteousness, or sanctification, is God's will (1 Thess. 4:3).
    (3) The personal will of God. God directs us individually by the Holy Spirit if we are totally surrendered, as can be seen throughout the book of Acts in particular. However, as swaimj has pointed out, this is subject to the sovereign will of God. Prov. 27:1, which swaimj quoted, is one good passage. James 4:13-15 is also good.

    For the personal will of God, we can only follow the leading of the Holy Spirit for today. For tomorrow, we should say, "If it is God's will..." I will be a missionary, I will go to college, I will pastor, I will go to the store this afternoon.
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    Some great posts on this subject. Can we get specific here?

    Can some of you relate your calls to ministry? John, I'd appreciate it if you'd tell us about your call to missions, to foreign missions, and to Japan in particular.

    Others, please relate your call to preach. Or your seeking God's will regarding a pastoral move.

    Tell us how God revealed his will to you.
     
  12. John of Japan

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    I surrendered my life to the Lord in special meetings when I was 16. I never took it back. This is the most important part of knowing God's will. If you do not surrender your all to Him you will never know His perfect will (Rom. 12:1-2).

    When I was 18 God called me to preach, and I said yes. That is another important part of knowing God's will--you must obey it. You can't know and do God's will without a heart of complete obedience.

    As a student at Tennessee Temple at age 20, I was sitting in the auditorium during the missionary conference of Highland Park Baptist Church when a missionary from Japan spoke and called for workers. I had never really thought of becoming a missionary, so it caught me by surprise when I had an impression from the Holy Spirit on my heart to the effect of: "Would you go to Tokyo if I wanted you to?" I immediately said no to God, not wanting to go to such a crowded place as Tokyo had been described. I fought God all week, then finally surrendered at the invitation on Friday evening. I did not go forward, preferring to prove by my actions what my decision was.

    God had prepared me for Japan, though I didn't have a clue about it. I was always interested in Asia, and had trained in karate and judo. After arriving here in 1981, I learned much more about how God had actually created me to work for Him here. I always wanted to be tall, but was not in America--then I stepped off the plane in Japan and was immediately tall! (Think about that.) I loved noodle soup growing up, so Japanese ramen noodle soup is still a real treat. I never thought much about languages as a youth, though I took Latin in high school and of course Greek in college. But when I went for two years to full time Japanese language school, I had the best two years of my life! God created me and gifted me to be a missionary linguist!

    Times have been rough on occasion, but I have never for a moment regretted obeying God's call to Japan. What a privilege it is to be a missionary! Since becoming a missionary I've preached all over Japan and America as well as in Australia, China and Bangladesh. I've seen Japanese saved from children to a bar girl to a yakuza gangster! I've translated the New Testament, I've held the first ever Christian martial arts seminar in Japan, I've climbed Mt. Fuji and other mountains. What a life!

    If you are called of God and wondering whether to obey, don't miss the chance for the greatest adventure of your life!
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    John, what a blessing to me is your testimony. As I understand it, your call from the Holy Spirit was a strong impression, followed by actual words coming into your mind.

    I don't want to put words in your mouth, but would you compare your call to that of Jeremiah, who in 20:9 said:
     
  14. John of Japan

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    Yes. Let's distinguish here between the call and divine revelation. Some have accused the view of God's personal will that I've presented as a view that revelation continued after the closing of the canon of Scripture. Not so.

    Even a brief study of the doctrine of revelation should show that God's revelation is for all people, but God's leading of a certain individual is only for that individual. Consider the Macedonian call to Paul. It was only to him. We can learn from it in the sense that it provides an example of a burden for sinners on both Paul and the Macedonian, but we are not called to Macedonia.
    Yes, in the sense that one who is called will know it for sure, as Jeremiah did. I don't believe a true call from God contains any doubt. I had no doubt when I was called to preach at age 18, and no doubt about the call to Japan at age 20. Jeremiah had no doubt about his call, Ezekiel had no doubt about his call, Isaiah had none, Paul had none.
     
  15. fbcodr

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    I believe God's will is primarily revealed by His Word. I believe He also can use circumstances, other people and or other things to speak to reveal His will, but they will be in keeping with His revealed will in His Word. There is a difference between the general will of God for people and the specific will of God for them. It's not God's will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (general). God calls some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastor/teachers ect...(specific). It was God's will revealed to me that I would be a pastor/teacher. This happened years after being saved and was very specific. He spoke through my pastor and circumstances in confirming this call. Unfortunately many Christians can't find some specifics about the will of God for them because of undealt with sin, and that's sad.:thumbsup::type:
     
  16. Tom Butler

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    I have a preacher acquaintances whose call was framed as, God created within them a strong desire to preach.
    Another of my preacher friends says he knew God was calling him to preach, but resisted. He resisted for five years, which he said were the most miserable five years of his life.

    Anybody relate to either of these scenarios?
     
  17. John of Japan

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    I think the strong desire to preach is a form of the call that might be called the volunteer's call, God having put that desire within. You mentioned Jeremiah before, and that's one example. He simply had to preach. Couldn't get away from it. Isaiah was one who volunteered, no doubt from the same strong desire from within (6:8, of course).

    My own grandfather used to relate how he was at the U. of Chicago working on a master's in English. One day he knelt beside a drunken sinner at a mission and led him to Christ. The joy of the sinner and his own joy at leading a sinner to Christ were such that he told the Lord, "If you don't mind I'll just keep doing this." And that was his call to the ministry.
     

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