Tag Archives: knowing god’s will

Making Choices

Making financial decisions or long term decisions can be difficult. There are some people who have no issues making a decision and living with it, but there are other personality types that struggle because they’re thinking of all the ramifications. They study up on the subject, they weigh the consequences and don’t want to make a mistake. What usually happens is that they feel they can never get enough information to feel comfortable making the decision or they get paralysis through analysis. They are so afraid of making the wrong choice that they end up making no choice at all. It’s a tough spot to be in. Because they can’t feel peace inside, they hold off on the decision until it is often made for them by circumstances.

When this happens to my wife and I, we usually take one or two different approaches. The first one is usually to lay fleeces before the Lord like Gideon did. We ask God to do an impossible thing to show us we’re to make that decision. Gideon did two fleeces, but we usually do three. If two out of three happens, we walk away, even if the third is 99.9% there. If God had desired for us to make that decision, it would have been 100% there. He is able. I don’t always like Hid decision, but in the end, if we have prayed then I know we’re in His will and His decision is better than mine. When disappointment or bitterness try to creep in, I remind myself that God sees the future, and I can’t. He knows what is best, and my peace returns.

The second thing is that we pray for peace regarding the situation. Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]” (AMP). If it’s not God’s will, we ask Him to take away our peace, cause us to be stressed over it and to lose sleep. If we lose our peace, we make the decision to not do whatever it is and His peace that passes understanding returns. You and I can’t live in a state of fear or of paralysis through analysis. The Bible shows us many ways to make decisions, but these are the two we have found to be most helpful for us. Decisions can be difficult, but when we have the peace of Christ, we can make them and no that we’re in His will one way or the other.

Photo by Vladislav Babienko on Unsplash

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Following God’s Paths

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed, “Lord, am I on the right path? Is this where you want me? What’s my next step?” I always want to be in the know about the path for my life. I want to be able to see it and know I’m in the right place. Then this week I saw someone post Jeremiah 29:11. It says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (NLT). They then said, notice who knows the plans. It’s not me or you.

That spoke volumes to me since I always want to know the plan. Faith is about trusting the plans God has for me even when I don’t see them fully. I need to trust the steps He gives me, and i need to wait to take them until He says to. My impulse is to be like Abraham where God shows the promise and then I try to get there on my own. We need to learn to trust God’s plan, His timing and His path to get there. I’ve learned there’s less heartache if I do.

Here are some Bible verses on trusting God’s plan and the path to get there.

1. The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”

Psalms 32:8 NLT

2. People may plan all kinds of things, but the Lord ‘s will is going to be done.

Proverbs 19:21 GNT

3. A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the LORD directs his steps and establishes them.

PROVERBS 16:9 AMP

4. The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

Psalms 37:23-24 NLT

5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 HCSB

Photo by Nicolas Cool on Unsplash

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Doing God’s Will


Too often we think it’s hard to know God’s will. We say we want to find it for our lives, but I wonder if that’s just an excuse we use to keep us from doing something. We don’t like change. We like things that are comfortable for us. We rationalize that if God opened the heavens, gave us a clear sign, and spoke to us in an audible voice then we could do the things that are uncomfortable. We put parameters like that on how to know God’s will so that we can remain inert.

The truth is that we know what God’s will is if we’ve read any of the Bible. We know His will for how we should live, we know His will for how we should treat the least among us, and we know His will for what we should do with our knowledge of Him. What we don’t know is how to do it. So the real question isn’t, “What’s God’s will”, it’s, “How do I do God’s will?” That’s the real problem most of us have, but we just can’t admit it because if we know what His will is, we are responsible for doing it.

I do an exercise with managers at work to illustrate the difference in telling someone to do something and teaching them how to do it. I create a long tube out of easel paper, tell them to hold out their fingers, put it on top of them, and tell them to take it to the ground. The problem is they can’t do it. They know what I want them to do, but they can’t. I keep telling them my will, but they don’t know how to do it so they get frustrated. Many walk away from the exercise frustrated because they aren’t successful. They give up because something that seems so easy is do hard to do.

After letting them struggle for about 10 minutes, I finally teach them how to do it. They then are able to do it with some struggles. I think it’s similar to doing God’s will. It should be easy to love our neighbor, defend the orphan, or tell others about Jesus, but it isn’t. I think David struggled with doing God’s will too. That’s why I think he prayed this prayer in Psalm 143:10. He prayed, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing” (NLT).

I can relate with David. I know God’s will and I want to do it, but I struggle with doing it. Maybe you’re in that boat too. You want to do what He’s called you to, but you just don’t know how. Let David’s prayer be your prayer. Change your question from, “What’s your will” to “Can you teach you how to do it?” We still might struggle with doing it, but I’d rather fail at trying to accomplish His will than to fail God by doing nothing. Pray today to ask God how to do His will, then look for opportunities to do it. God will teach us and give us opportunities too.

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Being The Clay

giphy

Several times in the Bible, we are referred to as clay, and God as the potter like in Isaiah 64:8. It says, “And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand” (NLT). I know that part of why God used the pottery analogy in the Bible was because it was a common thing that the people of that day could easily relate to. You and I don’t see it as much in our world, but the imagery still works.

If you’ve ever watched someone make pottery, there are several images like the one above that comes to mind. The first one that comes to mind is that to be perfectly balanced, we have to be in the center of His “wheel” or will. The wheel is spinning very quickly and unless you are in the center, you typically get thrown off or are wobbly at best. God’s desire for each of us is to be in the center of his will where He places us.

The next image I see is His hands on the clay as it spins. After a potter puts clay in the center of the wheel, He cups His hands around it to make sure it stays balanced. When God starts with each of us, we’re just a lump of unmolded clay. The first thing He does is place His hands around our life. He smooths out our lumps and tests our pliability. No matter how much things seem to be spinning out of control, we stay in God’s hands throughout the process.

After the potter smooths out the edges and has us balanced, he does something interesting. He uses his thumbs to empty the clay of itself, making it hollow. It’s exactly what God does to us. He empties us of ourselves so we can be filled with His love. The more we allow God to take out of us, the more we have room for Him and the things He wants to put in our lives. As I’ve watched potters do this process, they keep one hand on the outside while the other hand pulls out the clay from the inside.

Finally, the potter begins to shape the clay into the vessel He wants it to be. Only the potter can see beyond the lump of clay to what it could be. We look at ourselves as nothing more than a lump of ordinary clay, but when God looks at us, He sees incredible works of art that can be used for His purposes. He doesn’t look at who you are, He looks at who you will become. With patience and loving care, He creates in us things we could never imagine for ourselves. Those things only happen when we are willing to stay in the middle of the wheel and when we allow Him to empty us of ourselves.

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