The Importance of Discerning God's Will
When I was growing up, I remember wanting so badly to do God’s will but was never sure that I knew what it was. It can be a tricky matter. “God, did you really tell me to do so and so?” As I have become more mature in my faith, I am still striving to do what God has called me to do—whatever that may be. God is probably speaking to me in the same ways that he did while I was growing up, but I now have my ears and heart tuned to Him to really hear what He speaks to me.
Since my husband has been in the military, it has been a great test of faith in God. We are both striving to do what He has called us to do (him to fly, me to be by his side) and to listen to where He is calling us for the future. In a way, military families have a unique way to practice having faith in God and His will for our lives. Since we basically have no control over our lives, we are forced to be at the mercy of the military and what they tell us to do and where to go. As Christians, we know that God is in charge of everything, even the military. While it seems that the military is ruling our lives, God is ruling the military. He is using the military as His tool to place us where He wants us to be in order to advance His kingdom in the world. We can’t argue with military orders, especially when we know that God has orchestrated those orders.
As believers, God calls us to follow Him in His ways and to do His will for our lives. That’s a really nice saying, but what does this actually mean? By digging into God’s word just a little, we can find out. By digging into God’s word a lot, we will be amazed at what God specifically speaks to us.
It’s a Sign
* Read Romans 1:5 to find out why we are called to do God’s will.
“Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among the Gentiles to the _________ that comes from _____.”
Seeking and doing God’s will is a sign of faith in our Lord. It’s that simple. One of my favorite verses in all of scripture is Hebrews 11:8: “By faith Abraham, when called to go…obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” During our first year of marriage, we thought we would be in Quantico, VA for 6 months…it was closer to 9. We thought we would be in Pensacola, FL for anywhere between 6 weeks and 2 years…we stayed 3 months. We now live in Corpus Christi, TX and can expect to be here anywhere between 4 months and a year. It’s hard to live in the military lifestyle, not knowing where you’ll be in 6 months. But God has called each of us to follow Him where he directs us, no matter where he sends us or for how long.
* Read Matthew 7:21-23.
Who will enter the kingdom of heaven?
What about those that appear to be doing God’s will? Will they enter the kingdom of heaven?
Why or why not?
Following God’s will for your life is a sign of faith in Him. But on the other hand, having no faith and pretending to do God’s will (like the Pharisees and other “posers”) is pointless. Jesus calls these people “evildoers” and casts them away from His presence.
Think about your own life. Are you following what you believe to be God’s will as a sign of faith and worship to the Living God? Or are you “following” God’s will just to impress those around you?
You want me to do what?!
* Read Philippians 2:14.
“Do everything without ___________ or _______.”
“Everything” includes God’s will. Following His will for your life does not mean that it will be easy or pleasant, but we can be assured that God knows what He is doing.
Have you ever complained to or argued with God about the things He is doing in your life?
We are to accept and follow God’s will for our lives regardless of how strange it may appear or how little we want do it. Orders to 29 Palms? Rest assured that God has called you there for a specific purpose. Embrace it and discover how God will use you.
Jesus is the ultimate example of doing God’s will.
* Read Philippians 2:5-11.
As believers, we are called to have the same attitude as Jesus. Verse 8 characterizes Jesus’ attitude as one of submission and obedience. Knowing that God’s will for him was to suffer and die a violent death, Christ was still steadfastly obedient to God’s will. Jesus knows what His mission is. He has “come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38).
* Read Matthew 26:36-46.
How was Jesus feeling? (v. 37)
What did he do as a result of feeling this way? (v. 36 39, 42, 44)
What did he pray for? (v. 39, 42)
Jesus was fully man, so it would follow that upon knowing his fate was death on a cross that he would be “overwhelmed with sorrow.” Sometimes God’s will and desire for our lives is not always pleasant, but God has promised that He “works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Towards the beginning of His ministry, Jesus taught us how to pray. Matthew 6:10b says, “Your will be done.” Jesus fully takes this to heart and practices this prayer throughout his ministry, including the example we see above. When he is overcome with sorrow in Gethsemane, He prays for God’s will to withstand, not his own.
God? Is that you?
The concept of hearing and knowing God’s will can be a tad intimidating. God will speak to those who are really listening for Him to speak. Throughout the Bible, God’s will is “spoken” to his followers in several ways. In what ways does God make His will known?
* Read Judges 7:9-15.
How did God’s will come to Gideon? (v. 15)
*Read 1 Samuel 6:7-9.
How did God’s will come to the Philistines? (v. 9)
* Read 1 Chronicles 14:10.
How did God’s will come to David?
* Read Jeremiah 21:1-2.
How did God’s will come to Jeremiah?
* Read Acts 10:10-20.
How did God’s will come to Peter? (v.17)
What is the subtle distinguishing factor between God’s communication in Judges and Acts?
* Read Romans 12:2.
According to Paul, what must happen so that we can know God’s will?
What does this mean?
Has God ever spoken His will to you in any of these ways?
Which way do you think God uses the most to speak to believers that serve in the military?
God also speaks to us through His word, the Bible, to tell us His specific will for believers. From the following verses, what does God specifically tell us to do?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
1 Thessalonians 4:3
Wrap it up!
* Doing God’s will is a sign of belief and faith.
* We are called to do God’s will even if we don’t like it.
* God speaks His will to His people in several different ways. It is up to us to hear Him.
“Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.” –Jeremiah 7:23
"I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” -Psalm 40:8
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” -Psalm 143: 10