One of the most significant questions many people ask pertains to finding God's will. For many people, discovering God's will for their lives seems both mysterious and extremely complex.
But it need not be. For some, God's will may appear to be easily found. Yet it is human nature to make things more difficult than they can be, like "straining at gnats" while others easily "swallow camels" as referenced in Matthew 23:24.
Therefore, I would like to summarize the process of finding God's will in one statement to show you how simple it can be, and then break it down into several components so that you can take one step at a time.
Simply put, finding God's will is found in this one command: "Delight yourself in the Lord" (Ps. 37:4a). Delighting in the Lord is the key to finding God's will for our lives.
In other words, delighting in the Lord is to take joy in the things of the Lord. God's question is, "Are we obedient to His command?" Therefore, we need to understand what it means to take joy in the things of the Lord. So, let's break it down. Taking joy in the things of the Lord can be summed up in these seven steps, which encompass much of life's activities:
- Be joyful in reading Scripture. Moses told Israel: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God. The Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (Deut. 6:4-9).
- Be joyful in prayer. The apostle Paul told Timothy: "Therefore, I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty" (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
Let's examine these four types of communications with God:
— Type 1: Supplications. Supplication is a form of prayer in which people sincerely ask God to provide for themselves or for others.
— Type 2: Prayers. Prayer is two-way communication with God. Not only can one speak to God directly, but one must also be silent before Him, and also be attentive to the spiritual realm throughout life when at any moment God may speak to a person.
— Type 3: Intercessions. Intercessory prayer is speaking to God on behalf of someone else. The apostle Paul told Timothy that intercession should be made for everyone.
— Type 4: Thanksgivings. The apostle Paul told the Thessalonians: "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
- Be joyful in godly relationships. The apostle Paul warned the Corinthian church about ungodly relationships. He said: "Escape from sexual immorality. Every sin that a man commits is outside the body. But he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (1 Cor. 6:18).
- Be joyful spending time with believers. The writer of Hebrews said: "Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but let us exhort one another, especially as you see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:25).
- Be joyful in sacrificing for others. The apostle Paul told the Ephesian elders: "In all things I have shown you how, working like this, you must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'" (Acts 20:35).
- Be joyful in God's provision. God told Israel: "It will be, if you will diligently obey My commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain of your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. I will provide grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be full" (Deut. 11:13-15).
- Be joyful in honoring your parents. The apostle Paul told the Ephesian church: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth" (Eph. 6:1-3).
When you rejoice in all the things of God, He will give you "The desires of your heart" (Ps. 37:4b). The reason this principle is the key to finding God's will is because God does not place desires in our hearts that are contrary to His will.
When we take joy in all the things of God, we can trust the desires in our hearts. We can trust that God placed them there as our roadmap to meaning and fulfillment in life, and know that we are meant to pursue these desires with all our hearts. The pursuit of the desires of an obedient heart will lead us on paths that cause us to be salt of the earth and lights of Christ to the people only we can reach.
The desires of our hearts will lead us to move by faith to fulfill His purposes for our lives. This is equivalent to God's "calling" on our lives. The calling is within our hearts. We discover that calling as we consistently take joy in all the things of God.
James F. Linzey studied church growth under C. Pete Wagner and signs and wonders under John Wimber at Fuller Theological Seminary, ministered under John Wimber on the Anaheim Vineyard's large ministry team and is the chief editor of the Modern English Version Bible. He served as a military chaplain for 24 years.
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