The Problem of Knowing the Will of God I. Why Is It Necessary that We Know God's Will? There are few things in the life of a Christian that is more precious that to know and do God's will. Epaphras (Col. 34:12) prayed that the Colosse believers would stand "perfect and complete" in the all the will of God. He wanted them to know that will, and to be main stream in the will of God. For this he had prayed fervently knowing the importance of the saints fulfilling God's will. The will of God is not for a few years, or for the early part of life when physical strength abounds, but is for the life, from birth to death for God's own. To be outside the will of God is to suffer loss. Some day we will face HIM at the judgment seat of Christ, (II Cor. 5:10; I Cor. 3:11-15) and we will give account for everything done in the body, whether good or bad. The will of God is center core of the totality of our lives. To miss the will of God is to miss constant blessing, future reward, present joy and the sense of well-being that comes with His will embrace and fulfilled. II. What Is God's Plan For Our Lives Like? God's will includes every aspect of our lives. He would order our very steps, (Psa 37:23). If we do not walk in the general will of God (all the commands, things we need to live and do... as a Christian which is for every saved person) we will also miss the specific will of God for our lives. It is very dangerous to take lightly the planned, ordered, specific and general will of God. God's will is wonderfully detailed from beginning to end. We need to have the desire that Paul had, that was to "fulfill" the heavenly vision. (Acts 26:19) We should understand that God's will is that "perfect, good plan" for our lives. (Rom. 12:2) And our lives should manifest the fact that we are fulfilling His will. Others should sense that we are in the will of God. The will of God brings joy, spiritual rest instead of turmoil, fulfillment, and peace. It does make a difference in our lives and those around us. His will includes fruitfulness in the winning of the lost, discipling those whom we reach for Christ, producing reproducers for the harvest fields of the world. III. What Must We Do to Know the Will of God? Maybe the most difficult thing is to walk in total yieldedness and have no will of our own. The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. (Jere. 17:9) It is so easy to be led by our own sinful hearts and sinful wills and not even sense that basically we are living for self... even if it is good moral self. Since we are saved, we have also been "called". (II Tim. 1:9) Every saved person is called of God, and must find the "when, where and how" of God's will about the matter. This demands we seek God's will realizing that His plan can only be known by the surrendered person. So many of God's people are waiting for God to call them, or just feel that they are not called. Proverbs 3:5,6 are definite steps for us to act upon. But this also demands "waiting" upon God. We are not very desirous to WAIT. Waiting upon God for His timing and His revealed will is not something we find easy, and the flesh rebels to the thought of waiting upon God for direction. We go quickly off one direction or another under the leadership of our own thoughts, wills and inclinations. Often it is obvious to us and to others that we are NOT in the will of God, for God's leadership is not sensed. I do not mean that the will of God will always bring a life without trials and testings. The opposite is true, but we will see God's hand in it all. 1. To Paul, serving the Lord meant being a "slave, a doulos" (Grk) which means to belong to the Master, solely, entirely, completely. Thus our talents, time, money, bodies, minds, possessions, children, ALL we have is to be HIS. This is a fundamental principle if we are to know and do the will of God. The Christian life is to be a life live as an obedient bond-servant. (Rom. 1:1; 7:17, 22; James 1:1; I Cor. 7:22; Romans 14-22) Paul often called himself a " “servant of Jesus Christ", this expression was reoccurring in Scripture as Paul loved this position and used this statement often. To be a bond-servant of the Lord means to recognize ourselves as one who has no will of his own, but living totally to do HIS will. 2. There is what could be called, "the disciple of decision" meaning that we must be disciplined, or walk in spiritual discipline, if we are to know and do the will of God. There must be the willingness to ask guidance, for God to show us the way, and for us to be willing to seek His will. Moses did at the Red Sea, Ruth did at Bethlehem, David did in the wilderness, Nehemiah in the court, Paul on board the storm tossed craft, as well as many other instances recorded in the Word of God. 3. There must be the willingness to ask, which implies honesty, sincerity, with faith, with committal, and assurance that God will guide. (Heb. 11:6; 11:1) 4. Then there must be a willingness to 'WAIT" for such waiting upon God will cause a sifting of our values, a changing of circumstances which God might desire to bring about and an altering of objectives within HIS plan and purpose. (Isa 40:25-31; 30:18; Job 23:8-10) 5. Also there must be a willingness to obey God's guidance, if this is lacking why should God give direction? Are we truly willing to obey? Are we insisting on our preference? Do we substitute something for immediate obedience? IV. There are some warnings to be giving in seeking the Will of God: 1. Don't lean too heavily upon circumstances. God is sovereign and often leads us through such means, but often people use this almost totally with some kind of mystical attitude about it all. Often we had pastors phone us for meetings, and when I could not come at the time they desired (often only 2 - 6 months in advance) then they felt since I could not come it was not of God, and would not schedule a meeting possibly two years later. There was a mystical attitude on their part, that if it was God's will, then I would be able to come three months from the time they phoned. By way of illustration a pastor made a decision to leave a church if he slept in until 10 AM on a certain Saturday. He used that sign to tell the church sometime later that he was leaving. He did sleep in, who caused that? God or the devil? Just because he rarely slept in, or maybe never to that late in the day, it was a poor way to ascertain the will of God. A man says "If I see a sign that has INDIA printed on it in six foot tall letters then I will go to India to serve the Lord." Another man man opens his Bible at random and whatever he points at.... that is what God's will is. By irrational arbitrariness one can go astray. 2. Don't seek some special revelations. The Holy Spirit is not going to lead by some special revelation given through some strange, unusual events, circumstances, etc. God may indeed bring about some unusual events in your life, but that will not be a primary means of direction for the knowledge of His will. 3. Don't depend upon hunches, impressions, mental impulses, etc. The only infallible directive for our lives is the Word of God. Don't depend upon feelings. It is so easy to go by our feelings or impressions about something, and self will then is apt to reign supreme. God basically directs through His Word, the leadership of the Holy Spirit, providential workings of many details in your life, and through the counsel of others.