How do I decide whether I am in the ‘will of God’ or not?

It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.

1 Peter 2:15-17 NLT

As I said in the last blog, many people today are finding harder and harder to make decisions. On top of that Christians can feel the‘pressure’ to make sure they are in the ‘will of God’. Yet this should not be a pressure or a fear,but a joy.

We want to live in God’s will, but what is God’s will?

God’s Will can be broken down into 3 parts:

1. His Headlines

Headlines = His high level purposes = The things God has determined and will happen whether we are on board or not.

For example:
This man (Jesus) was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge Acts 2:23.

God’s overarching purpose was to reconcile the world through Jesus. It would not have mattered who crucified Jesus, it was the purpose of God which would have come to pass one way or another anyway.

He found a way of getting Jonah to Ninevah regardless of Jonah! He was out to save.

Whilst God does not butt in on our lives like this very often, we do know some of His ‘highlights’ or ‘big picture activities’ that are on His heart. These we should throw ourselves into :
– to help people find a relationship with Him
– to build His Church
– to honour Him above all else

But how can I know more specifically what the will of God is?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
We prove to be in God’s will by a change of our lives and our thinking, by how we live not by what we do. We call this … ‘God’s Ways’.

2. His Ways

Show me Your ways, O Lord… Psalm 25:4,5 (Psalm of David) The Message interpretation of this verse puts it like this  Show me  you work, God; School me in your ways.
Watch how He works. Its more about how than the what and where.

His ways – we know we shouldn’t murder, look lustfully, cheat our boss,steal… We know we should treat to others as we would want them to treat us; and so on.
– what if God wants us to make the decision as to who to marry
– what if He’s more interested in how you treat your spouse than who
– what if God wants us to make the decision about what job to take
– what if His will is that we could do any job, but in His way. Which is clearly better than doing a specific job in my own way!

If you walk in His ways He will ensure you are walking in His will.

If God’s will is the A2 going north to Amsterdam and my car (the ways of God) is permanently on the A2 – as long as I am in the car I am on His track.
I have seen people doing the ‘right thing’, living for the ‘right cause’ but with the wrong attitude and not living right. This is not God’s will!
Other people are doing things that don’t first seem to fit them, but they’re living for God, loving people, have a good attitude and motivation – clearly this is God’s will.

Let’s loosen up our thinking a little – God’s will is more about how and less about what. Look what Ephesians 5:17,18
Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. (What, what Lord, what do you want me to do? Be an Accountant? Go to college? … what Lord?) verse 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit… (Paul goes on to tell us to encourage each other and be thankful … )
We are not told what to do as much as how to do it!

Love God and seek His ways and you will prosper. If you are in the ‘Ways of God’ you will always be in the ‘Will of God’!

But do I buy this house?  You can decide that.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3
Your plans, executed with the right motive and committed to God gives God something to work with.

3. His Works

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Psalm 37:23
Steps are ordered. What’s a step? Motion, action – DO SOMETHING!
His works are to take your plans, your steps and bring order to it. He calls us friends, not slaves or puppets – we are His partners.
He wants us involved, taking responsibility for our lives and enjoying the adventure.
“God tell me what to do” – no, if I do and you don’t like it you will blame me, get offended. You make the decision and I’ll come with you – you drive!

Take A step
When a rocket is launched no navigation is needed. The big round yellow thing in the sky is clearly the moon and it is clear what direction to go in. More specific navigation is only needed once it is in the orbit of the moon.
God works with our action. We need to get started, heading in the general direction of the things we know God wants of us. He can’t get you in His will if all you do is seek His will!
David decided to build a temple without hearing God on it!

God said He didn’t even need one, but God decided to help fulfill this person’s desire. But ordered his steps – not yet David, Solomon will do it.

Paul rarely seem to seek the Lord to discover whether it was His will to go & visit such & such Church to encourage them. Because to do so is of course a great idea. It’s empowering because Paul determined it for himself.
Now God will help him order his steps – in fact on one trip God stopped Him!
Whilst you are asking “God what do you want?” God is saying, “What do YOU want? What are the “desires of your heart”
Don’t paralise your future by indecision. Take a step. God works out all things for the good of those who love Him.

Assume you are in His will unless He shows you you’re out
The navigation in your car goes very quiet for a long time once you’re on the highway. It has no need to say anything for as long as you are on track.
Just because God has gone quiet doesn’t mean He’s not interested. Keep doing what He last said, keep on the general direction. To love Him above others, to treat others the way you wish to be treated, to tell others about Jesus, to build the Church community, to give of your tithe, to…
Its good to take wise counsel, do your research and pray when making big decisions. But take a step toward the moon!
His Highlights, His Ways, His Works – take these steps!
– Today what is in your hand – make a decision (don’t put off to tomorrow)
– Keep walking God’s way
– Change your mind – I can prosper, my marriage can be a success.
Walking in His will is not such a mystery after all!

Written by: Steve Warren