Knowing God’s Will
Knowing God’s Will
By: Winkie Pratney
“How can I know the will of God?” If you haven’t asked this question openly
or secretly, you are probably not a Christian.
Walk through the halls of time and you will see the men of God who changed
history. Look at them carefully. They were not special men. You will not often
find the naturally gifted among their ranks. But all had one thing in common
they knew and did the will of God in their generation, and God did a work
through them to shape the course of history.
Those that God used in the past were just ordinary people with an
extraordinary Master. They were not all champions of great faith, but little
people who saw their own need, and put their small faith in a great God. The
driving force in their lives was the sure conviction that God had called them
to His work-and that as long as they were faithful to that call, He would work
with them and through them against impossible odds to victory. They KNEW His
will! Living in HIs purpose, they could be natural and let Him be supernatural.
Scripture is a record of common people who found the will of God. Jacob met
an angel. Joseph with is multi-colored coat had a dream. Paul saw a blinding
light. Samuel heard a voice. John had a vision. God is wholly involved with us
as human beings! He spoke to men then, and He has not changed. At every point
of history, He waits to show the way.
God is looking for willing hearts-those who whole-heartedly decide to do
the will of God. (2 Chron. 16:9) You can know God’s will! God has no favorites.
You do not have to be special, but you have to be available. You do not have to
be clever, but you must be willing to learn from Him. You do not have to have
to be talented , but you must be willing to obey whatever He commands. You do
not have to possess much, but you must give everything you have.
Has the “will of God” been a mystery to you? Have you longed to know what
He wants for you, but somehow never found the way? Then read on. If you will
faithfully apply these Biblical principles of guidance to your life, you can
know the voice of God and do His will, as surely as any man or woman of God
that ever lived.
Goal and Plan
God’s will for your life is a GOAL, not a blueprint. His one ultimate
goal, or purpose, is for you to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus.
God’s goal NEVER changes. A goal is the point you are trying to get to-it
sets your direction. While on your way to this ultimate goal, you will
encounter many smaller goals and purposes along the way.
Guidance is a lifelong process. God will reveal goals, help you reach them,
then set new, higher ones. Therefore, knowing God’s will for your life is a
continued discovery of the present most effective plan to help you eventually
reach (through a series of sub-stages) His ultimate goal for you. Should you
miss God and make a wrong decision at one of these sub-stages, all is not not
lost. However, many times there are consequences to pay. Sometimes you may
miss an opportunity that may never again come your way .. and many times good
years that belong to God are simply wasted. But the moment our self-
dependence or mistakes are confessed to God, and His pardon obtained, He
will take you where you are at and work with you, daily pointing out the
best course to take in order for you to reach His ultimate goal for you-to
be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus.
You cannot expect to hear from God until you are fulfilling these
essential conditions for knowing His will. Check you life against these
before you ask for guidance:
1. A Desire To Know And Do All The Will Of God.
Don’t ASK for guidance unless you are prepared to ACT on it! God
is always willing to make His purpose known. If you “cannot” find
an answer, it may be that you have some secret reservation in your
heart. God will not show you His will if you are merely
considering doing it. Unless you are prepared to trust His wisdom
and love, and DO what He shows you, don’t ask Him. Many say they
can’t get God’s guidance, when they really mean they wish He would
show them an easier way. God promises to show us only if we are ready
to act on His revelation. (John 7:17)
2. Be A Love-Slave.
God guides the meek, or those with yielded wills. If we have unyielded
rights or stubborn wills, we cannot expect His guidance. A love-slave
lives to serve, not be served. He owns nothing of power, possessions,
or personal rights. He has no plans of his own that are not subject
to the command of His master. God does not guide those who want to run
their own life. He only guides those who admit their need of His
direction and rely on His wisdom. (Matt 10:24,37-39; Phil. 2:5-8).
3. A Willingness To Be Counted A Fool.
Doing God’s will often conflicts with what’s going on in our
surrounding selfish world. Some Christians don’t really do anything
for the Lord, excusing themselves by saying they are “not sure of Gods
will.” We need not always expect a voice from the sky when the path of
service is clear. God gave gave us common sense, and He expects us to
use it. Most of the time, His will makes sense to our reason and
intelligence. God’s will is usually an area of general direction,
within which He leaves us relatively free to work for Him.
(Proverbs 6:20-22,22:3) However, sometimes His direction cuts across
all human reason, and even goes totally contrary to it! When the inner
voice of God speaks clearly, obedience may be counted as madness in
the eyes of the world. But if you are willing to be God’s fool, then
you will see His power. (Matt 11:25; Acts 26:24-25; Mark 3:21;
1 Cor 3:18-20)
4. A Clean Conscience From The Past
Guidance will always be hindered or misunderstood if there are still
sinful things in your life that God has urged you to get right. How can
He show you more if you have not obeyed the things He has already
shown you? Luke 16:10) Every time you kneel to pray, the finger of His
Spirit will point back to that thing He wants you to get right. A Clear
conscience is absolutely essential for distinguishing between the
voice of God and the voice of the enemy. Unconfessed sin is a prime
reason why many do not know God’s will. It is the “pure in heart”
who will see Him. (Matt 5:8, 23-24; Psalms 24:3-6)
5. Regular Time Of Prayer And Reading The Word Of God.
God’s will is expressly revealed in His Word. It is indeed a foolish
and inexcusable thing to neglect the Scriptures if you have access
to them. Bible study shows us what God expects in daily living. No
guidance will ever go against Scriptural principle. Prayer teaches
us by experience what the presence of God is like, and how His voice
sounds. Many do not recognize the call of God simply because they
have never taken the time to really talk with Him long enough to know
what He is like. It is not enough to know about Him-you must know
HIM! (Proverbs 6:23; Isaiah 58:9-11; John 17:3)
God speaks and has spoken in many different ways. Guidance breaks down
into three basic categories-personal, corporeal, and supernatural. Study
the following examples in Scripture.
(Individual Direct Guidance)
1. The Word Of God – The Holy Scriptures, the foundation of all guidance.
A. Regular Bible Reading – The “jigsaw” principle. You fill in a portion
of a “puzzle” each time you read a section of the Bible. A key
piece fitted in will suddenly reveal a whole picture.
B. Open Page Method – Definitely not to be abused! Ask God in faith
to guide you to the right Scripture for your need. Open the Bible,
trusting Him to speak to you from it.
C. Mental Suggestion – In prayer God will sometimes bring to mind
a verse, a chapter, or a book of the Bible. Turn to the place
and begin to read until God speaks to you.
D. Recalled Memory Verse – Often, during a time of temptation or
difficulty, God will bring to your min a verse of scripture that
will give clear instruction. It is your benefit to know and memorize
parts of the Word of God. (Psalm 119:9-11, 15-16, 33-35, 65-68,97-105
Proverbs 2:1-20,3:1-6,4:1-13; 2 Tim. 3:14-17)
2. The Witness Of the Holy Spirit – An inner voice known by all
true children of God.
The Holy Spirit is able to “check” you inside as to whether or not
something is of God. You must NEVER act on a doubtful impression,
especially if it is accompanied by haste. God leads, not pushes!
Rushed urgings are usually of the enemy. There is never a feeling
of worry or fear with the voice of Good Shepherd. His Voice is gentle
familar-sounding, loving, and leaves you with a sense of spiritual
uplift and rejoicing, never fright. (John 10:3-5,14-16,27-28) Test
all of your spiritual leadings by the Word of God, especially whenever
you feel a sense of uneasiness or fear. (Rom 8:14-16;John 14:16-17;
1 John 2:27, 4:1-3,13; Col 1:9-11)
3. Waiting On God – Listening to Him in prayer and getting to know His Voice
God has three answers in guidance-(1) “Yes” (2) “No” and (3) “Wait.”
We cannot have a demanding attitude towards God. Sometimes there
be delays. Our lives are bound up with others, and many times God
has to wait until they are ready (or until we are), before giving
us the go-ahead. “Wait” is the most difficult of all answers, but
sometimes it’s the most necessary. Here is the test of a love-
slave. (Psalm 62:1,5 33:20, 25:5, 27:14, 40:1, 130:5; Isiah 40:31,
49:23, Hosea 12:6; 1 Cron. 28:9)
Although God greatly desires to speak to each of us personally, He also
likes to use other members of the Body of Christ to pass on needed pieces
of the “puzzle” to us. This helps teach us gratitude for His work in the
lives of others, and the needed lesson that none of us are law or light
to ourselves. We can learn a lot from other Christians, although in the
end, we are responsible to no one but Him.
1. Godly Men And Women – The advice of experienced Christians sought
as conformation. Counsel from those who are known to have a pure and
trustworthy walk with God is often of great value when is seeking
further light on some major decision. This counsel should be more in
the area of principles, not pronouncements. carefully concerned and
loving suggestions aren’t necessarily final or direct statements from
the Lord. True godly counsel will of course always line up with the Word
of God and Scriptural principles. (Proverbs 15:22, 12:15, 13:10,
11:14, 24:6 1 Thess. 2:11-15)
2. God’s Servants In The Ministry – Preaching under the guidance of
the Holy Spirit. Sometimes God will use a message or sermon anointed
by the Holy Spirit to bring needed light when you are facing a difficult
decision. Perhaps the word you need to help give you direction is
waiting for you at the next meeting! (Exodus 4:10-12 I Samuel 3:10-21;
Isiah 6:8-9; Rom 10:14-15; 1 Cor 2:1-2; 1 Pet 4:11)
3. The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit – In line with the previous leadings
from the Lord and the Word of God. Scripture records incidents where
God has confirmed direction through such gifts in His Body as prophesy,
words of knowledge, and words of wisdom. Study their function in
Scripture. Such words are simply spiritual parallels to individual
godly counsel and preached messages, and should not be looked on with
more authority than any of the other means the Lord chooses to use.
Never act solely on a “word” given to you by another. Remember, the
key is individual responsibility for our own actions, and it is you
that must make the final decision, and not someone else for you.
(Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cron 12:1-12,27-31, 14:12,26-33,39-40; Eph 4:8-11;
2 Tim 1:6)
The instances of “supernatural” guidance, or special Divine Intervention
in our lives are more rarely recorded. These cases are rare, but not because
there are only a few who ever reach the “exalted height” of such direct
contact. In fact, God may sometimes choose to act in this way because those
on the receiving end are so spiritually insensitive and dull that they might
otherwise never hear or understand! Although it is not wise to generalize
principles from such occasional interventions, it is certainly clear through
Scripture and history that men and women have received authentic direction
from such Divine channels of contact.
1. The Audible Voice Of God. God can and has spoken to people audibly.
I know a very trustworthy person who became a Christian as a result
of God answering his prayer for help in this way. He described the
voice like this: “Like everyone I had ever loved in my life all
my life, yet I knew I had never met.” As in the case of Saul and the
crowd that witnessed the Lord’s baptism, it is apparently a real
sound and not just a mental impression. Examples: Samuel
(1 Samuel 3:1-10); Elijah (1 Kings 19:9-13); Saul (Acts 9:1-7);
the Lord Jesus and the multitude (John 12:27-30)
2. Visions And Dreams. The early Church gave much more attention to this
subject than do most Christians today. A dream is like a spiritual T.V.
comercial-short, easy to understand, and given at the time when our
whole attention is undistracted. Visions, on the other hand, are
superimposed over the normal visual reality around us, and do not have
to happen when we are asleep. If you believe that God may be trying to
speak to you in this way, prayerfully consider the details of your
dream or vision, remembering that they may represent symbols or
principles-not necessarily absolutes. And finally, talk it over with
a trusted and mature friend in Christ. Both dreams and visions, when
inspired by the Holy Spirit, can be powerful means by which God speaks
to His people. Examples: Peter (Acts 10:9-16); Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-8);
Daniel (Daniel 8:1-27, 7:1-28, 10:1-9); John (Rev. 1-20); Elihu
(Job 33:14-18); Joesph (Matt. 1:19-21).
3. Visitation. It appears that angels in Scripture do not “guide” in the
same way as the Holy Spirit Himself does, but they have been sent to
warn believers of danger, as well as provide for their physical needs
and safety. They also have made significant announcements, as in the
case of Mary. Many believers throughout history have had authentic
visions or visitations-and many numbers of Christians have seen either
Jesus or minstering angels at their deathbeds. Examples: Abraham
(Genesis 18:1-33); Moses (Exodus 33:19-23); Joshua (Joshua 5:13-15);
Jacob (Genesis 32:24-30); Manoah (Judges 13:2-23); Zacherias
(Luke 1:8-20); Mary (Luke 1:26-38).
A Word Of Warning before we leave this area. Young Christians can easily
become fascinated with the “special cases,” and exalt these above the more
simple and ordinary daily ways God uses to speak to us. To deliberately seek
or glorify any form of guidance is an outright invitation to spiritual
deception. We are not to seek or specify how God should speak, but only seek
Him in any way that He wishes to make Himself known. And as previously
mentioned, for God to have to use such methods is no guarantee at all of our
superior spiritually-it may instead be an indication of spiritual immaturity.
The following method of receiving guidance combines most guidance
principles into three basic steps.
1. Give Up Your Own Desires. Take your own desires to God in prayer and
place them aside for the LOrd to crucify. In prayer, give your desires
to Him, and ask Him to give you His desires. Tell Him that you are
willing to “die” to the things you want most to do, in order to do the
things He has for you.
2. Resist The Devil. Be on guard against the tactics of the enemy, and the
temptations that mat come your way. Each child of God has been given
power over sin through Christ. Standing in His authority, drive back
the enemy’s voice. As Jesus did in the wilderness, you can quote an
approoriate Scripture, and like the thrust of a sword, it will force
the enemy to retreat. Do it simply and clearly, trusting that the
power of Christ will back you up. (Proverbs 18:10; Eph. 1:17-23;
James 4:5-10; 1 John 3:7-8; 1 Peter 5:6-9).
3. Listen To The Voice Of God. The Lord wants to speak to you-He doesn’t
want to hide or make you play guessing games. If you have fulfilled His
conditions, the lines of communication between you are open. Ask God to
show you, in faith, expecting Him to answer. Look for an immediate,
definate impression. Do what He tells you to do. If nothing comes
immediately-thank God for His answer of “wait.” Be faithful to what the
Lord has shown you, and patient as you wait for futher guidance. If you
are being tempted, cry out to the Lord, for it is through Him that you
will find your strength to stand firm in righteousness.
Ahead of you is a generation that desperately needs a voice of authority.
Men are tired of the constant failure of human wisdom-what they need most of
all is to hear from Heaven. Can you be His vessel to proclaim “Thus saith the
Lord!” to a lost and dying world? Dare YOU be guided by God? Will you accept
the challenge to hear His voice and do His will?
From Last Days Ministries
P.O. Box 40
Lindale, Tx 75771-0040