How Do You Discern God's Will

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    In another thread a pastor related a feeling that God was telling him he needed a fresh anointing.

    The question before the house in this thread is, how do you determine God's will?

    Obviously, the Scriptures are clear on God's will. But with regard to specific things, the Bible gives no guidance. I'm talking about life decisions--buying a car, accepting a job, investing your money, starting a business, that kind of thing.

    Preachers, please relate your call. How did you know it is God's will for you to preach? How do you know when to go to a new pastorate? What about other ministry decisions?

    Everybody, please talk about how God communicated his will for your life, and in specific situations.

    And maybe there are situations where you just knew what God wanted you to do, but couldn't explain how you knew.
     
  2. Allan

    Allan
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    I do so through Large amounts of prayer (and sometimes fasting), study, as well as the counsil of other God-fearing men who I trust and and pray for me, and who, during those times, are in a constant state of prayer on my behalf. When I have an absolute peace about it AND a buring desire to do, go, be (or whatever it is) that will not be quenched and a continued stay upon my mind them for me it is a sure bet in my book what my God desires of me. Sometime I know rather quickly and sometimes it has taken months.

    Then, just to make double sure, I flip a coin :laugh: (Ok, maybe not flip a coin but the rest is true :thumbs: )

    For me and my calling to preach first, then pastor later was scary to say the least. I had a horrible shyness complex. However the more I searched God for things I could do for His glory according to what I wanted to choose from were things like Secret Service, FBI, CSI Unit (before they ever made a show of it), Bodyguard (personal security). However the more I was in God's word and praying about which to go into specifically the less they appealed to me and what began to appeal to my heart, not my brain, was teaching and and the proclaimation of truth so those who believe would stand accordingly and those who did not would come to know Him that loved them. This however scared the snot out me because I hated being out in front for others to look at, review and be critical of. But I did have one big problem in my mind- money. Even if I wanted to serve God in this way I need the money that these jobs easily provided and began to still look after those jobs in spite of what I knew God was leading me to. God did step in though to keep me where I was begging Him to keep me, which was as close to Him as I can be and not to let me walk in the wrong way. I was just about to send in my application to the Secret Service, with whom I was already speaking to one of the lead agents in the Arkansas branch (where I lived at the time) and he gave me a better than 90% possibility of admission and had alreayd set up accomidation in Washington for my interview once my application was received. The day before I sent it out I was hit head on by a drunk drivers who passed out at the wheel going around a curve and could not walk for 9 months. Actually I was only given a 10% chance to ever walk again due to the severe nerve damage done to my right leg. But God worked in mighty ways and I can walk now yet, as I said, the more I studied and was in prayer the more I found myself talking with others in various situations of during my healing and strengthening sucha s eating out, therapy, shopping, friends, so that by the time I felt God saying this is what I desire from you and that it's time, for all intents and purposes, I was already largely doing them just not officially.
    Believe it or not - that is the short version :)

    As for my shyness complex :) Let us just say I haven't had much of a problem since I decided to obey God. Seriously, I still get nervous but that only makes me more talkitive/active.
     
    #2 Allan, Jun 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2009
  3. Revmitchell

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    First I take a survey to see what I want in a church. Then I pick those favorite characteristics and compile them so as to have a clear picture of what a church that God is calling me to looks like. Then I pray that God will use my personal choice to His will.
     
  4. Amy.G

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    I hope you're just being facetious.
     
  5. swaimj

    swaimj
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    First, there is the moral will of God: This is always known because God has completely revealed His moral will in the scriptures.

    Second, there is the individual will of God...or is there? In this area of life, we rely on wisdom, not on a divine revelation from God. And in this area, there is a degree of freedom. In the moral realm, if I disobey God, I am out of His will, period. However, in the practical realm, since God has not told me what to do, there is freedom, to a degree as to what I should do.

    So, how do I make wise choices? One,I pray that God would reveal my heart to me so that I have no hidden sinful motive in the decision I am making. Two, I pray and ask God for the thing that I want, and I do this on a continuing basis. Then I say, "not my will, but thine be done". Three, I look at circumstances. If I want to, for instance, purchase a car, but the payment for said car is 1/3 of my income, my circumstances tell me clearly that this is not wise. Best not to buy the car. Fourth, seek advice from other wise counsellors. I start with my wife. I run the decision by several close friends who know me well and will be honest with me (even if I don't want to hear it). Good friends will probe your motives. If my counsellors are opposed to my decision, I do not do it unless I can clearly show that their counsel is wrong. Fifth, I realize that human wisdom is fallible. Despite prayer, despite humility, despite trying to judge my circumstances, despite seeking wise counsel, I can still do something foolish. So, my faith must be in God and in his care for me even if I make a mistake. He is in control, not me.

    These ideas are derived from three books that I have read on this subject: Decision Making and the Will of God by Gary Friesen, Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby, and A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller. These books do not agree with each other on everything. Reading them all will force you to think through the proper way to make decisions. I have read each of them multiple times over several years and will probably read them again.
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    Its a great question. In my life I have found God's will (while recognizing the different facets as swaimj mentioned) through the following:

    Studying and meditating in God's Words
    Obeying and keeping God's Ways
    Participating in the Work of God
    Enjoying consistent Worship of God

    Through these I hope and pray that I might find, and stay in, the center of God's Will. :)
     
  7. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Man oh man, this is great stuff.

    Let me quote Jeremiah 20:9 "If I say I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name, there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot."

    Can any of you relate to this verse?

    I have a former pastor who resisted God's call to preach for more than five years, and was miserable the entire time. Only when he surrendered did he have peace. Have any of you been through this?

    I have come to rely on the open door. When God opens a door, walk through it. When he closes one, quite trying to open it.
     
  8. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    A few years ago, my pastor came to me and said he was going on a mission trip to Romania and was I interested in going, too. I wasn't. But I said "I'll pray about it." That'll get him off my back for a while, I thought.

    I knew eventually I was going to have to give pastor a direct answer, so I began marshalling my excuses. It was a 16,000 mile round trip, much of it over the Atlantic Ocean, I'd have to use my vacation time to go, that sort of thing. I even contributed some money to help with my pastor's travel expenses.

    That's when the Lord began cut me off at the pass.

    The first thing that happened was a Sunday School lesson I had to teach with this text:

    Luke 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

    Try teaching that knowing that you were resisting the idea of being one of those laborers. The Lord was using his own words against me.

    Then into my mind flooded answers to my excuses. Like, you've flown all over the country, what's your problem with this flight? Don't you trust me? So you'd give up your vacation, huh? What about all those missionaries who've given their entire lives, have left their loved ones behind.

    Well, I ran out of excuses. I still wasn't too hot about going, but frankly, God wore me down. I told my pastor I'd go. This was six months ahead of the trip. But once I said yes, there arose in me a strong desire to go NOW. I couldn't wait.

    Then, my Sunday School class took up a collection to help with travel expenses. You remember I had contributed to my pastor's expenses? The money they gave was exactly the same amount I had given my pastor. Must have been a coincidence, right?

    So I went. It was a life-changing experience. Listening to those Romanians who had suffered for their faith under Communism only a few years earlier, caused a radical re-evaluation of how we Baptists in American do church. I won't ever be the same.

    So God communicated his will in a number of ways. He arranged circumstances. He opened doors, sliced up my excuses and sparked a desire in my mind. He never said audibly, "I want you to go." But I got the message.
     

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