I’ve been saying since the beginning of this blog that you need to follow God’s will for your life rather than your own will. But I haven’t addressed the issue of how to figure out what His will is for you. I’m going to address that issue this week and next. This week is only a short overview because I’ve had a stressful week with a lot of things needing my attention. Next week will be a more in depth study of working with God. Here are the pointers for this week:
Pray constantly: This is important. Prayer isn’t just talking to God, It’s talking with God. And, it’s not only asking for things. It’s asking God what He wants for you to do, how He wants you to do it and when. It’s intercession for others, asking God to help someone else or the nation you live in.
You need to pray for the same reason you talk to your boss at work. You can’t just show up and do whatever seems like a good idea to you, what you’d like to do rather than what the company need for you to do. You wouldn’t last long in a job if you didn’t follow directions from those above. That’s only common sense. It’s the same with God. You need to follow what He wants you to do because he’s the boss.
On earth Christians are God’s ambassadors. We represent God here on earth and Christ’s light shines through us to the world. That light can’t shine unless you know what you’re supposed to do. Christ lives inside of Christians and we inside Him, and the Holy Spirit helps us stay on track.
The question is how do you hear what God has planned for you. In Old Testament times prophets and His chosen people heard God’s voice directly. In the Gospels Jesus told people how they should follow His lead because He is God. At that time He was God in the form of a man ( John 1:1-3,14 ).
Since Christ’s returning to heaven after the crucifixion very few people, if any, directly hear His voice. Those that do claim to hear Him directly are most often scammers or crazy. They end up in prison or become institutionalized, or dead. Sometimes their followers end up dead as well. So you need to know how to find out His will for you, and prayer is a major way for you to find out. You probably won’t hear God’s voice in your head, but God will give you answers to your prayers in other ways.
Know the Bible: The Bible is God’s word to us. It sets the framework and foundation for knowing what God expects from you and how He expects you to do it. Nothing He wants you to do will be outside of what the Bible tells us to do. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never varies as to what He expects of His people. The Bible is our Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. If something comes into your head, or you get a strong urge to do something that doesn’t align with what the Bible tells you, then that something isn’t of God. Don’t follow it. So, it follows that to follow God’s will for your life you need to know the Bible well. That’s true because what God says about something is often spread out through the 66 different books of the Bible.
To completely understand His will four us and specifically for you it is necessary to understand the complete position God takes on a subject. For example, I’ve heard many so-called Christians say that you need to follow the Mosaic law. This is false. The Old Testament was God’s old contract with His people. The old contract expired with Christ Jesus dying in your place on the cross and His resurrection from death. John 3:16 says that Christ died on the cross so that anyone who believes in Him will have eternal life in Christ. Jesus said that God’s people need to follow what Jesus taught. To completely understand what He taught you need to know both the old and new testaments because the old is the foundation for the new contract with people.
God will guide you: he will direct you on the path He wants you to take. You may not understand why something is happening in your life at the time it happens, but you will later. Some years ago my ex wife, Carol, contacted me by letter. She said she had a strong feeling that she should find me and write. We corresponded and talked on the phone for over a year, and she came to visit me once. We decided to get remarried. We decided that I should move to New Mexico where she lived, and I began shipping my stuff to her.
During the course of our correspondence I kept up with Bible lessons for her, telling her what the book says about salvation and the Christian life. I put a special emphasis on all the aspects of salvation. Carol said she’d never heard this before even though she’d been raised Catholic and had attended a Catholic high school. She said not to stop the lessons.
Shortly before my planned move to New Mexico Carol died. She was a diabetic. She had a heart attack when she was in the hospital to have a leg amputated. She was too weak for the operation, so the doctors kept her hospitalized. I planned to move right away, but before I could get there Carol had another heart attack which left her in a coma. She died before I could get there.
Eventually I realized that God had directed her to contact me so that she would understand salvation and make a commitment to God before she died. She did accept Christ as her personal Savior before her death. She wouldn’t have been a Christian if it wasn’t for our letters and phone calls. God knew when she was going to die. And, He provide the means for her to be saved before her death so she could be with Him in heaven. Neither of us knew that at the time. I do now.
Why doesn’t God provide the means for salvation to everyone before they die? He does. It’s just that most people either don’t recognize His calling, or refuse to follow His lead. Many are called, but few are chosen. In other words, He calls everyone in one way or another, but only a few make a conscious decision to accept Christ as their Savior. That’s unfortunate, but it’s true.
A little over a year ago I was waiting for a friend to pick me up to go to a birthday party for one of her great grand daughters. A neighbor in the apartment complex struck up a conversation with me, and I directed the conversation towards salvation. A week later the person living next to him told the manager he hadn’t seen the man for almost a week. The manager checked and found him dead in his apartment. I don’t know if he died the night I talked with him or later, nor do I know whether or not he accepted Christ before he died. I hope he did. He was given the opportunity through me. And, I’m sure he heard the Gospel preached to him in various other ways during his life.
Listen to what God tells you to do: Jonah tried his best to run away from God’s commandment, and ended up in a whale of a fix. God sent him right back to the people he was supposed to preach to. He hated those people, but he preached to them and they repented, which irritated Noah. He wanted God to destroy them, but instead he was their means of salvation. The point is that what God wants us to do may be the farthest thing from what we want to do. God may very well direct you to help people you hate, or to a job you can’t stand. But you can stand it with God’s help and guidance. Jesus tells you that in this world you will have tribulation, but to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. And your living in Christ and He in you provides the means of your overcoming the world.
Follow the Great Commandment: Jesus’ commandment to His disciples was to go out into the world and teach people everything He had taught them. That’s your directive also. Everything in the Bible from the first words in Genesis, “In the beginning”, to the last word at the close of Revelation, “Amen”, is somehow connected to bringing people to God. He wants everyone to come to Him, but He forces no one. Those who become Christians must do so of their own free will. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by you, among others. Bringing others to Christ is your primary responsibility as a Christian.
It doesn’t matter if your worldly job is a ditch digger, a doctor , janitor, teacher, YouTube video presenter, police officer, butcher, baker or candlestick maker, your job can indirectly be a platform for bringing others to Christ primarily through setting an example, but also by words. When I was the general manager of a rescue mission several highway patrolmen and police officers would bring transients to the mission. And, this happened with more frequency during bad weather.
So now you have the basic guidelines for finding out what God wants you to do. This will be explained in more depth next week. You can put the basics to work in your life today. So, I’ll stop here and let you get started. See you next week.