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Discerning the Will of God

prayer
Your kingdom come,

your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10

Wow, can you believe this study is just about over! It’s crazy how fast time can go by. Well let’s dig into our last verse.

Do you ever struggle with knowing the will of God? I do. Should I buy a used car or a new one? Should I attend this conference or another one?  Should I homeschool my kids? Should I have more children? Should we adopt? Should I marry this man? How should I discipline my children? Which church should we attend? Should I change jobs? What should I study in college? Should I eat these Cheettos? The list could go on and on.

We have a lot of questions throughout our lives–goodness, just throughout our day!–and we all want to know, “What does God want me to do?” The questions is good. But some of us have a tendency to think it’s really hard to know the will of God. As if it is something hidden that we must dig for. As if it is something we might miss.

I want us to take a step back and consider the two primary ways God’s will is taught in Scripture. There is his will of purpose and his will of precept.

God’s Will of Purpose

“But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.” (Psalm 115:3)

God’s will of purpose is his sovereign control of all things. We will call this his “sovereign will” or his “will of decree.” In other words, what God has determined to do he does. He cannot be stopped and this will cannot be broken. It always comes to pass. This will is sometimes called God’s “secret will” (Deut. 29:29) because we do not know what it is until it happens, unless he tells us what he is going to do. ie. the return of Jesus Christ.

God’s Will of Precept

God’s will of precept are the things he commands us to do. Think–the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, all the commands in the New Testament, etc. This is God’s will for us to obey. This will does not always come to pass, as we disobey God all the time.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 says, “This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.”

Here we have a very specific instance of what God commands of us: holiness, sanctification, sexual purity.

Phil 2:14 says,” Do everything without complaining or arguing.” This is another example of God’s will for us. For me. For you. It’s also an example of a command that we disobey.

Keeping in mind the two ways we should be thinking of God’s will (purpose and precept) let’s take a look at verse 10 in the Lord’s Prayer. When it says, “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus is talking about God’s will of precept (commands). He is saying that in heaven God’s will is always perfectly carried out and obeyed, but it is not so on earth. Our prayer should be that earth will be made more like heaven. That we would not pick and choose which of God’s commands we feel like keeping, but that we would be willing do anything God asks of us. Anything!

Now back to the question about how do we know what the will of God is for our lives? The simplest and truest answer is we find it in scripture. Does the Bible tell us which house to choose? Yes, and no. No, it won’t give you the address, but we are given guidelines regarding how we should handle money, love our neighbors, etc. So we can ask ourselves questions like:

What are our motives for buying this house?
Is it a need?
Are we trying to keep up with the Joneses?
Do we have the money or will we live above our means?

While the Bible is filled with precepts and principles we will often times still need to wrestle in order to figure out what we should do in certain circumstances. But remember that God has promised to give us wisdom if we ask him. He has given us his word, his Spirit, and a counsel of godly people in our churches. He has not left us alone or ignorant.

The Gospel

While the Bible carries with it many commands, it is not primarily a book of precepts. It is a book of promises. The promise of God is that all who are united to Jesus by faith are made holy and blameless. It is only after we are rescued from our rebellion and cleansed from our impurity that we can delight in God’s will.

When you pray the Lord’s Prayer, and say, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” you are not only praying that righteousness would reign in the world, but you are offering yourself to God, embracing his will, and committing yourself to delight in his ways. You can do this because you no longer fear being condemned for your sin. Jesus has cleansed you. You are now free to follow God with the assurance that even when you fail, Jesus is your righteousness. So pray your “anything” prayer and see God work in amazing ways in your life.

Looking To Jesus,

jen-sig

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Ladies, I have now been involved in 3 of your studies. I look forward to number 4. You have all truly blessed me and I pray for you as do the work of our Lord. I know you are touching and changing lives. Now I know that you are not able to save people but you are able to point them to our Lord. May God Bless you and give you the strength and courage to keep going!!

  2. Diane reyes says:

    Hi, I have been struggling for quite awhile now whether to leave full time employment to better care for my family and my home and to have more time to work in ways ministering to others. I have several friends who are also struggling with this same issue. Is there any guidance in the Word that addresses this? Thank you for any advice you may have and may God bless you for the work that you do!

    • As a mom, I can imagine the struggle of your heart vs. your head. I can’t offer advice, but I will certainly pray the Lord reveals his path for you and your family. Especially in a clear cut way. Take time to pray hard, in silence and don’t ignore His whispers. Prayers, patience and trust.

    • Sweet Diane,

      As a mother of three, I totally relate to this. This summer, I have “worked” full time at our churches day camp to minster to kids whose parents can’t be with the because of work. It has been HARD! (I work part time during the school year from 9-12)

      I think the Bible speaks to both accounts…. Proverbs 31 we see the virtuous woman who planted a vineyard, who made clothing, who took care of her family. She was BUSY! Now, most would say all of that was her family, but here is the verse I cling to… “she looks well to the ways of her household”…. for some families, for some seasons, that may mean momma needs to work. For many others, it means making a tighter budget to be able to be home with your kids. They are only little ONCE! I stayed home till all three were in school.

      I think that it is a matter to pray on. I know many who would say a woman’s place is only in her home. Many women find jobs they can do while working at home (Pampered Chef, 31, etc… etc…)

      I think you need to pray and seek God and HIS WILL. Read His word. Be still and listen and KNOW HE IS GOD! I will be praying for you as well.

      Lord, I pray for this sweet daughter of yours. Lord, give her the wisdom to know what you would have for her to do – to know where she can invest for you. I know you have a plan just for her. Please show it to her tonight. In Jesus name, AMEN

      I will continue to pray for you!

      {Mandy, GMG Leadership Team}

  3. I struggle with knowing the purpose of what God wills for our lives. I have 4 children. My oldest was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at age 1. My next oldest was failure to thrive as a baby and last year was diagnosed with an intellectual disability. Now my 17-month-old was diagnosed with hydrocephalus as well and will be having surgery in 2 weeks. I know that in all things God is Sovereign. That all things work for the good of those who love Him. That His glory is manifest through even suffering. At times I just wish I could see His purpose and to know what it is He is doing through this.

    • In every struggle and circumstance, I’ve never known his purpose until after the fact. Sometimes years later. It would be so nice to know his plans for our lives, but then when would we be able to strengthen our trust and faith muscles. :) I can only imagine how strong yours already are. Hang in there. Prayers for you and your family through everything.

    • Oh Lord, I pray for this sweet family. God, please show yourself in a mighty way for them. We thank you for their beautiful children. We ask that you would use them for your glory. In Jesus name, Amen

      Mandy {GMG Leadership Team}

  4. Hi ladies. I have recently found this site and am already feeling blessed by the daily posts. I enjoy seeing the comments too. Makes me feel…well not alone in all of this life stuff! I feel like I never know if the decisions I’m making are part of His Will or not. But I’ve never really thought of those two types of “God’s will”and now it seems a lot clearer. On one hand, I can think of how my decisions directly relate to his precept will and be sure to honor those. On the other hand, God’s purpose and will are already determined by him anyway, so my patience and trust is is really the heart of the matter and only time will tell if it is His Will anyway. Not sure if that made any sense at all. Lol. Recently I applied for a PT job, freaked out not knowing if it was really something I wanted to do or if it were God’s will for my family…I still don’t know the answer as I sit by the phone waiting to see if I will get an interview, but after much prayer, I decided that IF I did get this job, then it would be only by God’s hand and I would take it and just trust Him. With a happy heart too. Scary! I gotta believe I won’t get the job if its not part of his plan for my life. Right?! Ahhh discernment!

    • So glad you found us Amber! We are so blessed to have you here!

      Lord, I pray right now for Amber. Lord, I pray for wisdom and discernment for her as she is pursuing this job. Please help her to know what it is you would have her to do, and help her walk obediently in that! Work in her life in a mighty way Lord! In Jesus name, AMEN

      Mandy {GMG Leadership Team}

  5. Melanie harper says:

    Hey, I really have enjoyed the summer study session on Anything! My accountability partner and I went through it together and God did some amazing things in our hearts through this study. We are looking foward to the fall session, however we notice it looks like a series… Living like Jesus, Living and leading like Jesus and now this fall is Love like Jesus! Do we need to go through the other 2 studies before beginning Love like Jesus? We are just wondering what was best! Thanks. In His Grace, Melanie

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