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Discovering and Doing the Will of God Part 2

Scripture: Luke 22:42, John 7:17, James 4:15
Date: 05/22/1999 
This is the second of a two-part series on discovering and doing the will of God. Here are 12 ways to know God's will in your life. It begins by surrendering your will to the will of God. Another key point is to seek to listen to the Holy Spirit. We must also line up our decisions with the clear will of God outlined in the Bible.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Today we’re gong to continue in the second part on the series we’re doing on Discovering and Doing the Will of God. Now last week we talked more precisely about the importance of doing God’s will. And for those who may have missed that element let me just simply say, they’re the ones going to heaven. It’s not enough to know God’s will. The bible said, “It’s not those who say, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but those who do the will of my Father in heaven.” And Jesus talked about the two sons commissioned by the Father. One said, “I’m going, Dad.” But he did not do the will of the father. The other one was resistant, but he finally complied. Jesus emphasized, he was the one who did the will of God. The bible talks about those who are hearers of the word, but not doers. Scripture is very clear that God wants us to do His will.

Now, what about the times when God’s will is not precisely revealed in His word? How do we discover the will of God? Now I’ve assembled through much study, and I’m not teasing. I’ve looked at all kinds of resources. Many people have different lists. I have a list of 12 ways, and I’m regretting now I did not print this out for you. You know, I typically don’t do that, but I should have today. You’ll have to take notes. Twelve ways, 12 points that we can use as a guide to know God’s will in some particular in our lives. So I’d like to share that with you.

There’s a story about a Scottish woman who years ago used to go from village to village in Scotland and sell thread and buttons and string. And whenever she came to an unmarked fork in the road she would take a stick that had a sharp point, she’d toss it in the air. Whichever way the stick pointed she’d go down that side of the road. One day she was seen at the fork in the road tossing the stick several times. And someone asked what she was doing. She said, “Well, the stick keeps pointing to the left and the right is much smoother.” So she continued tossing it until it went the way she wanted. Some people try to determine God’s will that way. They always keep praying and hoping the indicators will point towards their will. As I said last week, the first and single most important criteria to knowing the will of God is be willing to do it. God is not going to magnify your judgment day by telling you to do His will when He knows you’re not planning on carrying it out. See what I’m saying? And that just makes you more accountable.

And so one of the most important things, number one, is surrender your will to the will of God. Surrender your will to the will of God. Now, for every one of these principles I have a scripture. We should base all these on the bible, amen? [I’ve] Got several scriptures here. Luke 22, verse 42, Jesus said, “Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours be done. Now point number one is the hardest one, friends. George Muller in his list on God’s will said, “If you can get past point number one everything else is a breeze.” When you come to the place where you are willing to relinquish your will for God’s will then it becomes God’s responsibility to make a plain path. Amen? First and single most important thing if you want to do the will of God is, are you willing to do whatever He asks? John 6:38. A Christian is a follower of Christ. Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him who sent me.” When we are baptized we live for the purpose of doing God’s will. Amen? John 7, verse 17, “If any man will do his will, he will know the doctrine, whether it be of God.” You get that? [If] You want to understand something, are you willing to do His will?

You know, I’ve observed the opposite is true, especially here on the heels of an evangelistic meeting. When we are resistant to believing or to knowing; no, no. When we’re resistant to doing God’s will we can come to the place where we don’t believe it’s the truth. If you are resistant to doing God’s will you can finally come to the place where God allows you to believe a lie. That describes the condition of the lost. The opposite is true. If you are willing to do His will you will come to an understanding of the truth. Jesus said, “If any man is willing to do His will, he’ll know of the doctrine.” James 4:15. This is still all under point number one because it’s the most important point. He said, “Instead you ought to say,” whenever you’re making plans, not, “I’m going to go to this city and that city, buy and sell, get gain.” Everything you do, “You ought to say, If the Lord wills, we shall live, and do this, and that.” Otherwise we’re boasting. We have no control about what’s going to happen one minute from now. So what’s point number one? Surrender, willingness to do God’s will whatever it is. Amen?

Number two. Listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit. Now incidentally, I should tell you right off a couple of things. I’m not giving you these points in any divine order. I may have the order backwards. These are different elements. I’m not saying point number two needs to come second, ok? Matter of fact, I think the best way to determine God’s will is have several of these things working together. I think God sometimes gives us more than one indicator so we can have increased confidence. How many of you have wondered about throwing a fleece to know the will of the Lord? Is that inappropriate? Is that a lack of faith? Sometimes if you want to know what God wants; you know where that expression comes from? Putting out a fleece? When Gideon was wondering whether he’d venture going against an army of a million Mideonites with 300 men, he wanted to know this was God’s will, that God was with him, right? And so he put a fleece out on the ground, and incidentally, you know what a fleece is? It’s lambskin. And this is one way we find out is the righteousness of Christ. That’s lambskin, the robe of Jesus, ok? So he puts this fleece out and he says, “Now if the dew is on the fleece and the ground is dry then, Lord, I know that you’ll have sent me.” Well, the next day it was just like he said and he got excited. Then began to have second thoughts and said, “Well, Lord, maybe I’ve asked for a sign that’s really a natural occurrence. Tomorrow let the dew be on the ground and the fleece dry.” And I might be getting this backwards, but you know what I’m talking about. And the next day it was the opposite. And so he wanted continuing evidence. He wanted more than one indicator for making a big decision like this.

They’ve got a ship that drills for oil. It puts down test oil wells. You know, when they build a derrick they like to know there’s oil first. So they send out a ship in advance. You know how hard it is for a ship to drill down through the ocean into the ground while it’s bouncing around on the waves? So they’ve developed these ships that are computer operated. They not only have a propeller in the back, they’ve got propellers all the way around the ship. They’re very sophisticated. They’re computer operated propellers. They make one second adjustments in varying increments so that the ship is constantly adjusting itself based on the different factors of the wind and the waves so it can remain stationary without an anchor. Based on all the propellers around that are keeping it centered. Something like when you’re doing God’s will, it’s not a bad idea to check out. You know, we live with two eyes because you have one eye you’re liable to walk into the door. You lose your depth perception. Sometimes we need more than one indicator to stay balanced. Right?

When I’m flying my plane I’ve got a little unit that keeps me out of a lot of trouble. It’s called a GPS. You’ve all heard about those. Global Positioning Unit. It uses satellites up in the sky to determine your position. If there’s only one satellite it can’t tell me my position. It can just say, “You’re on earth.” That’s all it can tell you, really. That doesn’t help me much unless I’m traveling through space. You need at least three satellites to get a fixed position. Now that’s on a flat surface. If I want altitude as well you need five to seven satellites. And so this is the way it is. You know if you’ve got several of these different points lining up there’s a pretty good sign you’re in God’s will. OK? So just keep that perspective as we go on.

Point number two; listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit. Now God’s Spirit does guide us. This is one of the more precarious indicators. Because I’ve noticed a lot of people think it’s the Spirit of God telling them to do something completely opposite to the word of God. That ought to make you suspicious. Because Jesus said, “The Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance what I have said,” amen? The Holy Spirit will never teach you something contrary to the word of God. I’ve been in churches before; I remember speaking to a charismatic pastor. And he said, “Brother Doug, I know that the bible says the seventh day is the Sabbath, but that’s the letter of the law and I’ve got the Spirit and the Spirit’s telling me it’s the first day of the week.” That sounds very sanctimonious, but it’s not biblical. The Spirit of God will never conflict with the word of God. Amen? But the Spirit of God does make impressions. It’s something that should be considered not as the first on your list, but somewhere on the list.

Here’s the scripture. Isaiah 30, verse 21. Now how many of you have felt the Holy Spirit impress you in decisions? We all know it works. Isaiah 30, verse 21, “Your ear shall hear a word behind you.” It’s like the conscience in your inner heart. “Saying, This is the way, walk in it, whenever you turn to the right hand, or to the left.” You know I’ve found sometimes a voice of that Spirit is often louder when I’m about to do something wrong than when I’m pursuing something right. And it’s like a parent sometimes shout when the kid’s stepping out in the street. Right? Other times they might be calm. And God, sometimes to save us from catastrophe, the Spirit shouts. You ever heard that voice before? Talking about your parents? “Watch out for the cars!” I Kings 19:12, And after the fire; a still small voice.” The voice of the Holy Spirit will speak to us. You’ll not find a conflict, I think, between the word of God and the Spirit of God. I have often heard people say, “Well, Pastor Doug, I know that I’m married to somebody else and now I’m living with a new partner and I know what the bible says, but in my heart the Spirit’s telling me we should be together.” No, that’s not God’s Spirit telling you that. Because there won’t be a conflict there.

And that leads me to point number three. You’d be surprised how many times I have people use that as proof that they’re doing the right thing. Line up with the plain teachings of the bible, the word of God. Now when I talk about the will of God I’m hoping we’re not saying here, “Lord, I wonder, is it my will to murder or not to murder?” We’re not discussing those kinds of quandaries and making decisions. You already know that. The bible says the law of God is the best expression of God’s will, right? “I love to do your will: your law is within my heart.” That’s Psalm 40, verse 8. So we’re talking about in some of the other ambiguous areas of our life. “Lord, do you want me to be a fireman or a policeman?” I mean they may both be good careers and you’re asking for guidance. The bible says, Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Now, it’s not wrong to use other criteria in making a decision. I started talking about casting lots a minute ago and I left that subject too quickly. You know, in the bible it tells how they cast lots to find out who brought the storm in Jonah’s story, right? Did the lots tell the truth? It was Jonah, yes, absolutely. And here these were pagans casting lots. Did the apostles cast lots to pick a replacement for Judas? Acts chapter 1. Yes, nowhere in the record does it say they did the wrong thing. And so, there may be a place when you just say, “Lord, we need to make a decision. We need some indicator.” You know in the bible in the Old Testament the ephod that the priest wore, that golden breastplate had a stone on one shoulder and a stone on the other. Two different kinds of stones called the urim and the thumin. And that word means, those two words mean lights and perfection, urim and thumin. And you know when David fled from Saul, Abiathar the priest brought the ephod and David would enquire of the Lord. And they would ask yes and no questions. And the Jewish tradition tells us that yes, one stone on their shoulder, the right stone, would illuminate. A no with the left stone on the ephod would illuminate. And it was kind of like an oracle that they would consult.

Some people use the bible that way. They say, “I’m going to use the bible to make my decision.” And they pray and they flip it open and they put their finger down and they read. Now is that how we use the word of God to decide? Well, it’s not the best. And the reason I say that is God is merciful. Some people are a little more sensational than others and I know the Lord has spoken to some people like that. I don’t recommend it. I don’t recommend flipping coins when you’re trying to determine God’s will. Only after you’ve done the other 12 things I advise, then you can start casting lots and flipping coins, ok?

I’ve got another interpretation for urim and thumin. It’s “you’re a thumbin’” through the bible. If you’re a thumbin’ through the bible you’ll find out what God’s word is. I know a lady, she was married, she was thinking about marrying an evangelist and she was praying and she really didn’t know and he seemed like a good man, but she said, “Lord, I need some additional evidence. Please guide me.” She knelt by her bed. She opened her bible. She flipped it over and she prayed. She put her finger down and it said, “If he bid thee, go with him.” So she took that as a sign and she married the guy. And he beat her up everyday. No, that’s not true. He was a really good husband. He ended up being an evangelist. This is how some of you have heard of W.W. Simpson. He was an evangelist in the infancy of our message and that’s how Mrs. Simpson married him. Anyway, but I don’t’ recommend that until you’ve done everything else.

Number three. Consider providential circumstances. When you’re trying to determine God’s will sometimes you look for indicators in providence. Have you done that before? Can you see examples of that in the bible? How many of you remember when Eliazar the servant, the steward for Abraham was finding a wife for Isaac? He comes to the well of the city and he says, “Lord, boy, I’ve never been here. I don’t know where to start. I’m supposed to find a wife. I don’t know anyone here.” And while he’s there he prays and he, you can call this throwing out a fleece, he asks for providential, his fleece is asking for providential guidance. He says, “The girls are about to come out and get water and I’m going to ask some of them for a drink and let it be the one who gives me a drink that also offers to water the camels. I pray that she’s the one.” And the Lord, you know, when we’re asking for help and we’re willing to do His will He works miracles for us. First girl out is Rebekah. She’s a knockout. That was an indicator in itself, right? We all know, guys, that’s one of the criteria when you’re praying for God’s will about who to marry. She’s got to be beautiful, right? So she was beautiful, the bible says, and he asked for a drink and she says, “I’ll water your camels.” Do you know how much work that involves? They’ve just crossed the desert and there was a whole caravan. She was at that well hauling these pitchers of water for hours. She was a servant. That’s a good indicator and he had providential evidence.

I don’t remember if I ever told you the story when I was praying with Karen about how, whether or not to come to Sacramento. We had what we thought was a really good position with the Conference in Northern California. Conference evangelist. Pastored a little church, no problems. No traffic lights in Covelo. Got an invitation to come to Central. It was attractive, but I was scared. You know, this church had some challenges when I came. Karen and I were praying. School is getting ready to start. Micah and Daniel needed to go right into school. We had our house furnished in Covelo. I had no furniture. So we parked out there by the school and we said, “Lord, we don't know if we’re supposed to be here. We don’t know where we’re supposed to go. We could spend a lot of time looking around for a house.” We said, “Lord, if you want us here you need to help us find a house right away.” And I said, “Lord, it’d be nice if it had some brown brick in it.” Now I said that just because I like brown. Karen teases me because everything in our house in Covelo is brown.

So we said, “Amen.” We started driving. We prayed on Garfield. We started driving. We crossed Garfield. We took the first left turn into what looked like a housing development. It was Cameron Ranch. First right turn was Alexon. The first house on the right, it said, “For sale.” We said, “Hey, there’s a brown house and it says, ‘For sale.’” And I said, “Let’s go inside.” She said, “No, no, no, Doug. You’re supposed to call the number of the realtor on the front lawn.” I said, “Well, let’s see if we can look at it. Why call the realtor. We don’t know what it looks like inside.” So I knocked on the door and a lady answered the door. I looked suspicious, but then she saw Karen. Karen had little Stephen at that time. She thought, “Well, she looks innocent enough.” She said, “All right. Sure, come on in.” So she showed us the house. Built it herself. Raised her family there. Husband died. Kids were gone. She said, “I’ve got to sell it in one week. I’m moving to an apartment that’s disappearing soon in Escalon.” And she said, “I’ve got to sell all the furniture here, too.” We didn’t care for all of her decor, but she had a thing for Oriental decorations. But it was a really nice house and we said, “You know, would you be interested in maybe doing a package with the furniture?” “Oh, very interested.” And she quoted a certain price and we said, “Well, we’re sure it’s worth that, but we don’t have that much.” We went home. We prayed. Incidentally, I want to thank Helen Truscott because one of the members here was a realtor who helped with the whole thing. [We] said, “Lord, if you want this to happen you’re going to have to work it out.” Came down to our price. We were, escrow closed in one week. She was out and we were in a house furnished, washer and dryer and freezer, everything we needed, in a week.

For us that was indicator, providential indicator we were where we were supposed to be. And you know, have you ever had that feeling you’re doing what you’re supposed to do and you’re aware God wants you to be? Gives you a great sense of security. On the other hand, if you know you’re out of God’s will and you are wanting to be a Christian you’re miserable. And I hope you stay miserable. Amen? That’s God’s way of working to save you. So you look at providential circumstances. Ephesians 1, verse 1, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” How did Paul know that he was supposed to be an apostle? Well, having a vision on the road to Damascus helped. Went blind and then someone else came and prayed. His eyes opened up and God said, “You’re supposed to preach.” That’s a good indicator. Right? “By the will of God.” Genesis 24, oh, I already told you that about Eliazar looking for Rebekah.

Number five, how do we know the will of God? Seek Christian counsel. Can you say amen? “In the multitude of counsel,” Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Now I like to say Christian counsel because Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.” Get Christian counsel. Don’t go to all of your drinking buddies and ask them if you should be a Christian. You know, you want to get good counsel from good people. That’s what the Bible is. It’s Christian counsel.

Probably you’ve heard the story before about a young man who was a little excitable. And worked with his dad on the farm, but was sort of getting irritated doing that. One day he’s out there plowing with the mules at sunset and the breeze took the clouds and convoluted them a little bit. And he saw the sun hitting the clouds and it looked like a big P C. He said, “God’s trying to tell me something. P C. P C. Preach Christ. He’s calling me to preach.” And the young man went off to the minister and said, “Pastor, God’s called me to preach.” He said, “Well, how do you know that?” “Clouds formed P C last night at sunset. I know that God wants me to preach.” The pastor said, “You know, I’ve read the clouds before.” And the pastor knowing this young man was a bit sensational said, “That really says plow corn. God wants you to help your father around the farm.” And so you can be real, you know, sensational about some of these things so seek Christian counsel.

I’ve met people before who believe they have certain gifts they don’t have. And it’s sometimes difficult to tell these people. So if you believe you’ve got a gift to teach or to preach or the gift of music ask your friends. If you get a lot of people that say, “I’m confident that’s your calling.” You know that’s one reason I got into ministry, is several people said, “Doug, you ought to go into ministry. Have you considered ministry?” And when all these people, without me even asking them, offered that I began to think maybe God’s trying to tell me something through the counsel of other Christians. If you’ve got a lot of people that come to you and begin to question somebody that you’re dating and they’re saying, “Are you sure this is the right person?” Then that might be an indicator God’s trying to tell you something. Right? And you ought to listen to them instead of your own feelings. Can we trust our feelings? They’re probably the most unpredictable indicator when it comes to making a good decision.

Number six in how to determine God’s will. Fervent faithful prayer for guidance. Now I say that for a reason. James says we need to pray in faith. James 1, verse 5 and 6, “If any of you lack wisdom, let them ask of God, who gives to all men liberally, and without reproach. And it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” Pray in faith for wisdom and you’ll receive it. James 5, verse 16, “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” What kind of prayer? Fervent prayer. The Bible says, “Ask and you’ll receive.” That means, that’s an ongoing verb there, to be asking God, to fervently pray in faith and you’ll get an answer. Colossians 4:12, “Epaphras, who is one of your bondservants of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you might stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Praying that we might stand in the will of God.

Not only do we pray to know the will, then you need to pray that God will help you do the will. Amen? I remember when I went to this free school in Maine. I had a friend named Gary who was a Pesimaquaty Indian. That’s a just about extinct tribe up there in the northeast of the US. And Gary and I used to steel cars together. I remember one time we stole a motor scooter and we were afraid we were going to be caught. And so he was driving on a virtually pitch-black night through the main woods on these country roads with no lights on so nobody would see us. And I was scared to death. I was on the back. I had no control and he’s swerving back and forth in the dark. And it was totally black to me. Finally we got to our destination. I said, “Gary,” I thought these Indians had this mystical way of seeing in the dark. I said, “Gary, how in the world did you know where the road was?” He said, “I wasn’t watching the road.” He said, “We were surrounded by woods. I looked up and I followed the line of stars. I knew as long as I stayed under the line of stars I was on the road somewhere.” And you know, sometimes when we’re wanting to know what to do, that we’re on God’s path. That’s why the Bible says pray without ceasing. You’ve got to constantly be looking up and keeping reference if you want to stay on the road in the dark. Amen? So pray. Pray sometimes that God will close the wrong doors and open the right ones.

When you’re in doubt; you know, I remember one day I was ready to move from New Mexico to California. Truck was loaded. Wasn’t’ sure I was doing the right thing. In my heart I was uneasy. I had to move somewhere because here [I] started this church on the reservation. I was not a conference employee. I was working for La Vida Mission. They brought a pastor in. They said, “You’ve got to move out.” I didn’t know where to go. Had to go somewhere. I’m praying, “Lord, I’ve been working for you. Now what do I do?” The truck was loaded. I was going to California. Got a call that day before we drove away to come to Texas. Got my first Conference call from Cyril Miller who is now the evangelism coordinator for North America. That to me was a real answer for prayer. Got closed one door and opened another one at the last minute.

That’s another thing. It’s not in my notes, but sometimes God will make you wait until the last minute before He shows you what He wants you to do. Sometimes you’re right there at the borders of the Red Sea and you’ve got all these angry armed Egyptians charging down upon you, mountains on both sides and you’re going, “Lord, what do I do?” And the ocean parts. “Oh, well thank you very much.” You know what to do then, right? But He always waits until the last minute. You know why? Strengthens our faith. If God gave us everything in advance we’d start taking it for granted. It’s like when your cupboards and pantry are full you stop praying for your daily bread, don’t you? So God, sometimes to keep us faithful, He waits until the last minute.

Romans 8:27, “Now he who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” God’s Spirit will make intercession for you. I John 5:14, “Now this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will.” When you’re praying to know God’s will make sure you’re praying according to His will. Amen?

Number seven. Is this too systematic for you? I think this is real important stuff. How to know the will of God. This is basic Bible. Totally comply with obvious duties. Now, again, this ought to be somewhere up near one and two. Do not be asking the Lord to reveal His will to you if you are deliberately neglecting obvious responsibilities. If you’re saying, “Lord, I don’t know whether to buy the Ford or the Chevy. Help me know which one to buy.” And you’re living with someone you’re not married to. Take care of the obvious responsibilities before you worry about these ambiguous things, right? Some of us are neglecting really blatant things in our lives and we’re praying that God will guide us in minute specifics. “What kind of toothpaste should I buy?” You know, and here we’re hating our brother. Or stealing from our employer, praying for God’s will what kind of car to buy. You know what I mean? Take care of the basic things first.

Here’s some scripture. “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” Where is that? Proverbs chapter 3, verse 6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not in your own understanding, acknowledge him in your ways and he’ll show you his ways.” Did you get that? Do the things you know you should do and He will direct your path. God doesn’t promise to guide those who are neglecting other guidance he’s given them. Luke 16, verse 10, “He that is faithful in that which is least is,” what? “faithful also in much.” Jeremiah 12, verse 5. I like this scripture. “If you’ve run with the footmen, and they’ve wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?” If you can’t keep up with the footmen, you’re going to keep up with the horses? Don’t be praying about these big things if you’re neglecting the basics. Amen?

Jordan McDonald said, “I find the will of God, I find doing the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His plans.” Most of the time if we simply do what He has revealed we’ll know the rest. You’ve heard me quote Mark Twain before when he said; “It’s not the mysteries in the Bible that trouble me. It’s the good I know that I should do that causes me sleepless nights.” You know sometimes we think we can fool God with diversionary tactics. We wrestle with the Lord, praying to know His will about some minute area in our life and we’re wondering why there appears to be silence. We think that it’s religious and spiritual for us to do this and God is saying, “You’re neglecting something very important that you already do know.”

There are steps in progression in sanctification. Peter talks about these steps, right? Don’t’ try and skip steps. It’s not like jumping stairs on an escalator. You’ve got to take the steps that God gives you or you know what’s going to happen? That step will keep presenting itself. Amen? And you might find that when the Lord breaks through glory He’s going to say, “You know, you had this one thing you just refused to comply with. It’s still there.” I have found that when I go through some real trial and I’m being tested by the Lord I’ll say, “Lord, help me to pass this test now so I don’t have to keep facing it later.” Right? So do the known responsibilities.

Number eight. Humbly wait on the Lord. This is one of the hardest things about God’s will. Often when we’re praying about God’s will there’s this subtle insinuation. We’re saying, “Lord, I want to know your will right now.” Sometimes when you’re praying for God’s will part of God’s will is waiting for Him to reveal His will. Moses waited 40 years in the wilderness. Now, I’m not saying you’ll have to wait that long. Wondering how God was going to use him to deliver the Israelites. And finally when God got around to calling Moses, Moses had resigned himself, God had forgotten that prayer. “Who me?” He’d gotten used to doing nothing, taking care of sheep. Sometimes part of doing God’s will means learning to do what? Wait. That’s hard. Psalm 25, verse 9. And it means wait humbly. “The humble he guides in justice: the humble he teaches his way.” You know the word way and will are similar in the Bible. Psalms 37, verse 7, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.”

Now this is a sensitive subject. But a lot of people who call me or counsel with me about the will of God are wanting to know regarding big decisions. Sometimes it’s a job. Sometimes it’s a move. But you know what the most common thing is that people are wondering about? Marriage. Who should they marry? Their life partner. Some people are saying, “I’ve been waiting for years to find the right person. Is it a lack of faith for me to go to a Christian dating service?” You ever heard anyone wonder about that? I mean if God can do it in a dramatic way for Rebekah and Isaac then you figure He can do it for us. I lean towards that. I like to give God credit that His arm isn’t shortened and He can surprise you. I’m not saying it’s a lack of faith if you do that. But a lot of people here, some are wondering who their [going] to marry. Some have been widowed and are wondering if God still has somebody for them. Or divorced. I won’t take that too far. But a lot of single people are wondering, “Who is the mate for me out there somewhere?” I don’t want to embarrass you, but how many single people do we have? Hold up your hands. You may be widowed. Hold up your hands. All right, look around. There are some options right there. See? God can work in mysterious ways.

Number nine. Do what lies nearest you. Some people are waiting on the will of God wondering what they’re supposed to as their life work. And maybe they’re working at Taco Bell and they’re wondering what they’re supposed to do. Well, until you know what you’re to pursue in college you keep making burritos. You do what God has told you to do. Some people do nothing. Now this is important. Some people do nothing. You say, “What’s up?” “I’m waiting for God to show me His will.” And in the meantime do what lies nearest you. The Bible tells us that we’re supposed to pray on a daily basis that God reveals His will. Amen?

You know, sometimes we drive with our high beams and sometimes we drive with our headlights. And they’re making more cars now with something called fog lights. Have you ever seen what happens to your vista of the road when you turn on your high beams in the fog? It whites out the windshield. You can’t see anything. Your low beams are better. Your fog lights will at least give you a little road visibility of the road directly in front of you. And sometimes you’ve got to live as a Christian day to day just keep putting down the road, slowly, five miles an hour, taking up the road that’s right in front of you. And so, part of doing God’s will is just keep moving. Don’t’ move too fast. Walk in the light that you’ve got. Amen?

Listen to what Jesus said. “I still,” this is John 16, verse 12, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” Do you get that? Sometimes God doesn’t show us everything all at once because we can’t handle it. So He gives you what He knows you can do as fast as you can do it. And I’ve told you another reason sometimes God is silent is if we’re neglecting known duties. But in the meantime wait on the Lord and do what lies nearest you. “You ask what is the will of God, well here’s the answer true. The nearest thing that should be done that He can do through you.” Amen? “A glimpse of the next three feet of road is more important and useful than a view of the horizon.” That’s C.S. Lewis.

You know when we’re doing our video work here there’s a tendency to focus on the object that’s speaking. But good producers know that every now and then you need to get what’s called an established shot. Right, Tom? An established shot means the person who’s watching at home on TV or they’re watching the video, yes, they see Doug up there talking, but they’re wondering, “Where is he? Where is he talking?” Get an established shot for us now, Doug Hill in the studio, from Debbie or somebody. A good cross shot of the audience. OK. No, get more people. You’ve still got just me. Turn your camera over there. There we go. That’s a little better. An established shot shows, “Where are they?” It gives you the bigger picture. Often we go through life where we’ve just got what’s directly in front of us. Every now and then God in His mercy gives us an established shot. He wants you to see, “What is the direction of your life? What is your calling? What’s the big picture? Where have you come from? What are you doing here? Where are you going?” We all need that. But in the meantime you just keep going one length, one car length at a time and do what lies nearest you.

Number nine; I believe we’re at. No, number 10. Thank you. Someone’s writing them down. Ask, “Will this offend God or cause somebody to stumble?” When you’re trying to determine God’s will make sure that it’s not going to be offensive to God or to others. Mark 9, verse 42, Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around the neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” I Corinthians 8, verse 9, “But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours becomes a stumbling block to those who are weak.” I Corinthians 10, verse 32, “Give no offense, either to the Jews, or to the Greeks, or to the church of God.” Don’t do something that’s going to make somebody else stumble. Romans 14, verse 13, “Let no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”

There are a lot of things that I am biblically, spiritually and everyway perfectly comfortable doing that I don’t do. Because other people can’t handle it. There are some things that I’m hesitant to do here in church. Do you know the Bible says you can lift up holy hands unto the Lord? Biblical. But if I were to do that, if all of a sudden I started going, “Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus!” some of you might think, “Oh, Doug’s gone Pentecostal on us,” right? It might make you stumble. Incidentally, I probably wouldn’t do it like that. But there are some things that you don’t want to do that in themselves they might not be wrong, but it might hurt somebody else. It might cause a weaker brother to stumble. And a lot of things that I do I do very carefully. Matter of fact, I’ve had to tell my kids before, we’ve had certain people come over and the kids have said, “How come you’re different when they come over than you are when they’re gone?” And I said, “Because these folks have a special hang-up with certain things and I don’t want to offend them. I don’t want to make them stumble. So when they’re here I am very sensitive to their particular beliefs about this issue.” Do you know there are people, they come to your house and they’re upset if you’ve got pictures on the walls. They think it’s idolatry. Now I’m not saying I’m going to go so far I take all the pictures off my wall. You can go crazy trying to make everybody happy, right? But it’s something that you ought to consider when you’re deciding God’s will is, “Is this going to make somebody else stumble?”

Number 11. Ask, “Will this glorify God? Will this decision glorify God?” Or if you’ve got two good choices say, “Which of the two will more glory to God?” Amen? And do that which is going to bring the maximum glory to God. I Corinthians, here’s your scripture, chapter 10, verse 31, “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I Peter 4, verse 11, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.” Why do we live? “Hallowed be thy name.” We live to bring glory to the Father, right? What’s the great commandment? To love the Lord with all your heart. God, His name, His glory, His credit that should be premiere in our lives. There’s a temptation for us to get our credit and our glory confused with God’s. But the primary purpose for our existence is to bring glory to His name. So when you’re praying that God will guide you regarding what His will is say, “Will this bring glory to God?”

Number 12, and this will be the last one. Make and implement a decision. Some people are forever indecisive. God shows His will. They think it’s God’s will, but they’re afraid to do it. Some people say, “Yep, I know that God wants me to do this and I’m going to do it. One of these days.” Knowing God’s will is not a substitute for doing God’s will. A lot of people know the truth that don’t live the truth. God spoke to Solomon through David that he was supposed to build a temple. And David said, “Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary. Be strong and do it.” You know, Nike had this ad a little while ago. What was it? I see you listen to the advertising. “Just do it.” Now that’s not true with anything. But when you know God’s will don’t sit around looking at it. Implement. Be decisive. You know people who are successful, when they studied the characteristics of successful people; they’re not always waffling in the valley of decision.

During the Civil War, the first two or three years of the Civil War the North was blasted by the South. They won virtually every battle. And you know what one of the real problems was? The supreme general for the North was a man who was very indecisive. He was so afraid he was going to do something wrong that he just wavered and wavered until the last minute where Robert E Lee, he’d get in there, he could make a decision. He’d do it and he’d implement it. There was a decisiveness about it. Finally, Lincoln got him out of there and got someone else in who could make a decision. And that’s very important when it comes to the will of God.

Hebrews 10, verse 36, “For you have need of endurance so that, after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” It’s not enough to know the will of God and do it, but to continue doing it. Did you catch that? Endurance in the will of God. Some people are in the will of God and they get discouraged, they get tired and they step out of God’s will. Hebrews 13, verse 21, “To make you complete in every good work to do his will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” I thought that’d be a good scripture. “Lord, make me willing to follow your will. Have your own way in my life every day. When we see Jesus on Calvary’s Hill we want to be willing with His Spirit filling, willing to follow His will.” Is that your prayer, friends?

You know, we’ve talked, I think, about some very basic, but very crucial things when it comes to being and staying a Christian. Discovering and doing God’s will. The Bible tells us that this is going to separate the wheat from the chaff. Those who say, “Lord, Lord,” and those who do the will of His Father in heaven.

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Who Do You Think You Are? by Doug Batchelor

Who Do You Think You Are? by Doug Batchelor
God's Promises




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