Monday, August 24, 2009

Knowing the Will of God

This is a topic that came up in a meeting I was in today... and now it's got me thinking some things...they've been mulling in the back of my brain for the last while, and they've got to get out. I warn you, it's a bit raw and unpolished, and very fresh:
How DO you know what God's will is for your life?
And, not just in a general way, but specifics? In each situation, it is different. Not just "God I want to follow your will, get me from here to there." Not just "God, I want to follow You, oh, look, that's what You did, it must be your will." Not just a vague hoping that it'll all "work out" the way He wants it to and you're just stuck in it until that happens.

How do you know when He wants you to interact with that difficult person?
How do you knwo when He wants you to stand back and wait and pray?

How do you know when He wants you to move on?
How do you know when He wants you to stay where you are?

How do you know when you should give up on a situation?
How do you know when you should keep fighting, keep hoping, even though it seems impossible or improbable?

Is it possible?
Is it likely?

I know we can 'know' the will of God, but how often is it very specific, and how often is it a general feeling that we hope is right, and hope is His direction?

We are more likely, of course, to be on the right track if we are continually getting to know Him better; if we are praying constantly, if we are reading and (key) studying His word, if we are gathering with other believers for fellowship and learning and worship. BUT, that doesn't mean (at all) that we will always KNOW in our heart of hearts what His will is in every situation. Sometimes we will. Sometimes He puts it so clearly in our faces that we cannot miss it unless we are staring at our noses, smashed against the ground. However, you must acknowledge that there are times when you will not KNOW, you will be hoping, wondering, wishing, that you knew what His will was in a given situation. Those are the times I am asking about.

Is there a way?
Is there a reason to ask this question?
Or do we "give up" and "hope" that we are close enough to Him (through methods mentioned before) that we are hitting the right track, and haven't fallen off. That we've made (or are making) the right choice, the right decision.

Is this the time when you just "gotta have faith"and move on, and trust that He is working and will somehow show you what to do? When does that point come? How do you know when you've hit it?

How do you keep going when you are feeling like the hope is not real, and the path is clouded over? When do you let it out, and when do you keep it in, and how do you decide what the healthy choice is? Especially if letting it out doesn't necessrily lead to a productive end?



  1. Big questions! I like them. There's a lot to unpack here. But here's my 2 cents.

    First cent: I think you're on the right track when you talk about constantly knowing God better. I think God prioritizes your relationship with him over what you do for him.

    Second cent: It's not a method or a standard or a principle you should implement or follow or discern. God is a person. I know you know that. In my mind, as that relationship envelops more and more of you, whatever you do (impulsively or with great intention) will be the thing God wants. Mostly because you will be the person God wants you to be. When you ARE the person God is creating, what you DO will naturally be what God wants to do. It will happen before you realize it (and probably already is).

    I'm reminded of what Jesus said to Peter about John: "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You, follow me!"

  2. Good cents, Adam, thanks.

    I think you're right about things happening and being in His will when you don't even realize it (as long as you know Him), but I guess part of the question that I am really trying to wrap my mind around right now is 'what do you do while you wait or while are trying to figure out which direction to take'? Often it feels like a huge circle that you can't bust out of... you know? And then you just feel like you are making the wrong choices over and over... even if they are different choices.

    I know (as you said) that God is a person, and that He desires us to know Him better and better. And that that is something we have to continually work at and strive for. (bad grammar throughout, shoot me) I suppose you just have to continually remind yourself of the faithfulness of God through past experiences (of both yourself and others, including historical) and keep trusting that (the whole 'faith without sight' thing). Then you will -eventually- realize that the "second cent" is true, and you've been in His will all along, even when you couldn't tell.

    And after all, that is encouraging, isn't it?

    (thanks again for your thoughts, and the words of Jesus, "You, follow Me!")