Where do we find what the will of the LORD is? Can we always be a hundred percent sure of what the will of the LORD is? Are we not busy with spiritual soothsaying when we say that we know what the will of the LORD is? These are just some of the questions that spring to mind when one wonders about this subject.
Many people have been devastated or disappointed in their lives because what they thought was the will of the LORD, turned out not to be his will. They then stand on one side and are very cynical when people start talking about this subject.
How many times in my own life have I experienced the same situation? The more I searched for the will of God, the more it seemed to dodge me. I was so convinced at times that I needed to know what the LORD’s will was that I can now stand back and laugh at myself.
Maybe you also had an experience or two like this in your life. I would like to highlight one of my own experiences. We were living in Port Elizabeth at the time, and had to find a new home as the one we were renting was required by its owners for their own people. We were offered a home in Sea View, 20 kilometres west of Port Elizabeth, with the aim of starting a congregation in Sea View, as nobody knew of a local congregation.
Even before we could move, did we find that the people that invited us there were not keen any longer to start a congregation as they could not agree on anything. I still believed that we should start a congregation in Sea View that I sent a flyer out to all the households that we wanted start a congregation and serve the community. I was very surprised to get feedback that four different groupings were already active in the area, and decided to through my weight behind one of these groups.
The house we got there was basically right on the edge of the land. One could throw a stone from the living room into the sea. I know, because I actually did it. Instead of starting a congregation, I sat down in the living room behind my computer and started writing the original version in Afrikaans of this book. I sat there for hours writing and just watching the sea, the dolphins and the whales. So what actually transpired was that the LORD gave me a holiday at the sea for three months, for free. It was also His will to teach me so much about the Bible that it empowered me to write this book. That was His will for us. What I thought was His will, and what His will was, were two worlds apart.
Is that maybe your experience?
Back to the original question. How do I find out what the will of the LORD is for myself? My first step would be to ask myself why do I need to know what the will of the LORD is for me. Many times one wants to know in order to make your life easier, or to know what decision to make regarding questions in one’s life. Maybe I want to know it because I want to save myself a lot of heartache and suffering.
Let me use an example again. A while ago we went to a service at a local congregation, and the pastor said he wanted to pray for some of their members as some lost just about everything they owned in an investment scam. Apparently some of the people even heard directly from the LORD that this was a good scheme and they would double their money in a short space of time. The prayer of the pastor was that the LORD would show them which schemes were good and which were not.
How do we reconcile this with the will of the LORD? What does the Bible declare should our attitude be towards finances? Hebrews 13 verse 5: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” And Solomon in Proverbs? “Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.” (Proverbs 23:4). “A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.” (Proverbs 28:20) “He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.” (Proverbs 28:22)
That is what the Bible declares. We should not exert ourselves to become rich. Why not? Jesus gives us the answer in Matthew 6. “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:28-34)
Jesus declares in this passage that we must live in faith, in complete dependence on Him. I know this is not the way we want to live. We want to be in control every moment of the day, make all our own decisions and not allow the LORD to share our lives. I will even go to someone else who can tell me that what I am doing is the will of the LORD. I do not want to take responsibility for my life. If something goes wrong, then I know that I can blame the LORD, as He told me to do this. Or maybe I can blame the person who told me that it is what the LORD wanted. It is impossible, and I mean totally impossible for me to do something wrong.
What is the correct thing to do then? Can I still ask the LORD what His will is? Absolutely yes. We all know that the LORD wants everyone to have the opportunity to live for Him. This is the starting point. The next thing is that we know that we must all grow to the full purpose of Christ.
But what about His will for my life? Depending on the circumstances, the LORD still wants us to live our lives dependant on Him. What about my investments? The LORD supplied us with a common sense to investigate everything, to prove all things; and to hold fast to that which is good. Should I make a wrong decision, I have to take responsibility for it. What about my choice of a husband or wife? If you can make the same decision without taking finances and physical appearance into consideration, then that person is more than likely your mate. Just remember the basic guidelines of the Bible: Do not marry with an unbeliever in the hope that the person will change to your belief. No, the LORD will bring one to you that you do not have to meddle with. Someone who will respect you for who you are, and not someone who will attack you with his fists every night.
Can I still ask the LORD for specific guidelines? Of course you can. The prayer Jesus taught us, contains a very important phrase: Mat 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” This passage actually declares a very important point, in that His will is the same on earth as in heaven. He always wants only the best for us. Even when we think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, where He asked that the cup can pass Him, He still asked that the Fathers will be done. If He forced His will on the Father, the whole plan of redemption would have been gone. But we know that the Fathers’ will was done, so that you and I can be saved. This will then lead me to the point where I know that when I ask the LORD for His will in my life, that I have to use His perspectives on the issue, and not mine.
Sometimes we claim that we will do so much for Him if He only does this one little thing for us. Remember, He doesn’t need our works or promises to accomplish anything at all. He wants for us to be saved, and even that is by grace. So when we ask something from the LORD, we have to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with His will.
If you ask Him for a new job, think about it before asking. Think of the impact it will have on your life. Maybe your request will make you less dependant on Him whereas His will is that He will provide for us. If what I ask will have a negative impact on my relationship with Him, do not bother asking, as He will not give it to you. All I am asking is that you examine every aspect of the situation before asking Him, and not to look at the financial benefit only. Maybe He wants to bless you with a job that will give you more free time with your family, so look at all the aspects before deciding. I am not asking you to stay in poverty, no, the LORD wants us to have enough. But, He also doesn’t want us to go astray. He still wants us to look at Him as our provider.
The same applies to all aspects of life. Before asking the LORD, I have to examine my reasons for asking what I want. Many times He will not tell you what His will is in your life as you will not be able to bear it. When these unbearable times do arrive, the possibility is that it is not because of sin in our lives. No, many times it happens to draw us closer to God. The following scriptures will provide us with reasons why these times do happen.
Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. (Daniel 12:10)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)
What is the will of the LORD in my life, and where do I find it? Know the Word of the LORD. This will give you His answers on just about every subject in life, your work, your partner in life, etc. Remember that the LORD also speak to us through our circumstances. Maybe He will give you a dream about something you asked Him. This might only come to pass later in your life, or maybe you realise that He actually showed you what to do when you are in a certain situation. All we have to do is use all our senses, including our spiritual sense, to listen to Him.
Let me use my own life as an example again. When we reached the end of our time in Port Elizabeth, we were in a rather precarious situation. All the people we could minister to, could not provide for themselves, let alone give us something. I tried doing what I could, but this only brought in about sixty percent of the rental for the house we were renting. I asked the LORD that morning to provide for us in a way that He knows how to. I felt that the answer was for us to return to Pretoria, as I would have a better chance there of doing some business. I did not mention it to Hettie, as I wanted the LORD to speak to her and tell her what we should do. After lunch she came to me and told me that she felt the LORD told her to go back to Pretoria.
She phoned the one ministry in Pretoria where she worked as a counsellor earlier, and was told to pack up and move back, as they really needed her to help with the ministry.
Was that the will of the LORD? For sure. We packed, arranged for the removal people to come in, everything within a 10 days including finding a place to stay in Pretoria again. We also could not believe the way the LORD provided for everything. The Sunday morning at the service, a person that I spoke to once while worshipping there, walked up to me and gave me all the money we needed for the move. He told me that earlier that morning the LORD told him to stop at an ATM on the way and draw the money and hand it to the person the LORD would show to him. As I got out of my car, the LORD told him to give it to me. Nobody knew that we were moving before that day. When we arrived in Pretoria, Hettie was so fully booked that for the first four months her fees covered all our expenses.
I want to end of this subject, by quoting from Matthew 6:24 “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34)
Let us examine the Bible, the Word of God, and do everything that is required of us, before we worry about His will for my life.