Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Matthew 7:21
When an architect draws a plan or blueprint for a building, he carefully sets forth exactly what he wants. Every detail is covered and all specifications are clearly marked. So it is with God, the great architect of the universe. He has a plan for the world. His plan covers all the ages from before the creation of the world into the eternity after the second coming of Christ. “From everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:2).
God not only has a plan for the universe throughout all the ages but also a plan for your life today. Every good builder tries to build according to the architect’s blueprint so that the finished construction might be perfect. To do this, he or she must study the plans carefully and know exactly what the architect wants. So we, too, must know what God’s plan is and then be willing to follow it in every detail if we would build strong, worthwhile Christian lives.
Isn’t it a thrill to know that God has a special plan for your life? The most important aspect of your life as a Christian is to know God’s will and what part He has for you in His great plan. When you know God’s will, your life is no longer a hit-and-miss affair. You have direction and know where you are going. You have a purpose and know what you are living for.
SEEKING GOD’S WILL
Of course, we should know God’s will at all times. But it is not always necessary to seek to find that will. Frequently, we will know God’s will without asking Him what He would have us to do, because we know in our hearts what God says about some actions. Thus, in many instances, we do not need a special enlightenment.
Jim and Bob, two friends, met together one day. “Let’s go to a certain place,” Jim said.
“No,” replied Bob. “That would not be right. I know my father does not approve of my going.”
“How do you know? Has he ever refused to let you go?”
“No, but I know my father.”
That is exactly the way that Christians often feel. They know what God’s will is on certain questions, not because there is as definite a command (as concerning stealing), but because they know God, their Father. There are times when the Holy Spirit speaks to us like this in our hearts.
Yet there are also many times when we have to seek to know God’s will. We have to find the answer to questions such as what church we should attend, what friends we should cultivate, what career we should pursue, or what we should make of our leisure time. These questions are not answered by direct commands in the Bible. Neither are they completely answered by knowledge of what God is like. So, how can we know the will of God in these instances?
Guidance of the Holy Spirit
A pilot, while flying his plane, hears a voice giving information and instructions. He sees no one and has contact with no one; he only hears a voice. So, if you are to be in line with God’s will, there must first be the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit speaking to you (1 Kings 19:12). God thus gives you an inward desire to do His will for you. This is the voice of conscience.
The pilot must also consult his compass to determine what course he should follow. It is possible that there has been a jamming of the airways, and he may misunderstand the directions that are given him. As Christians we dare not trust our impulses or our conscience alone. It is possible that we may misunderstand. It may be that our own desires have so jammed the airways that God cannot speak to us at all. We must check our compass, God’s written Word, to make certain that it is God through His Holy Spirit speaking to our heart.
We know that God’s will for our lives will agree with the Scriptures, for the Bible is the inspired and infallible revelation of God to us (see 2 Peter 1:21). So it is important when seeking to find the will of God to see how our personal desire lines up with God’s clear declarations in His Word.
Let’s see how this works. You think that you would like to be a missionary (see Mark 16:15). This desire is certainly in line with Bible teaching. But not all people are called to be missionaries, so there must be another test.
What about associating with a bad crowd? The answer is very clear: “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice” (Exodus 23:2). What about marrying a non-Christian? “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Since these desires do not line up with God’s Word, you do not have to look any further. You know God’s will in regard to these problems.
How utterly foolhardy and dangerous it would be for a pilot to go where he wanted without a compass! Yet it is far more dangerous for you to do what you want without the compass of God’s Word. You, like a pilot, must never rely upon your own ability to determine your course but always consult and trust your compass. Put your faith in the Word of God. It cannot fail!
There are times when the voice speaking to the pilot and his compass agree absolutely, but he flies into bad weather and he cannot proceed in the direction that has been indicated to him. In the same way, sometimes a Christian has the desire to do something that the Bible does not forbid—such as being a missionary— and yet circumstances indicate that it is not God’s will for that person to do that task. God often arranges circumstances so as to make a certain course obvious.
Sometimes the pilot is not equipped, capable or qualified to fly through the bad weather. In the same way, if some circumstance stops you from doing what you believe is God’s will, it may be that God is using this method to keep you from doing that which you are not qualified to do. For instance, you might want to be a missionary, but your health will not permit you to go to a foreign country. Or maybe you have responsibilities at home that make it impossible for you to leave. These may be indications of God’s will that He gives through circumstances.
Sometimes God works out, or changes, the circumstances that appear to block the way. In such cases, God’s will for you to proceed is obvious. Regardless, the strong inner assurance, the Word of God and providential circumstances should all agree. When all of these harmonize, it is safe to say that God has spoken and that you know His will.
DO GOD’S WILL
When you know God’s will and are convinced that you know what He wants you to do, then dare to act. Take God at His Word and step forth by faith. Yield your will to God’s will.
Yield to the Lord
The first step requires the dedication of your will. God gave you a free will, and now you surrender it back to Him. This surrender is of a voluntary nature. You yield yourself to God because you want to do so. David said it like this: “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). The surrender must be unconditional. “Not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6).
To hear God speak to your heart, to understand His Word, to evaluate circumstances and to make certain that these three are in agreement, prayer is essential. Pray with the sincere desire that the Lord answer in accordance with His will. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
We must be ready to do God’s will when He reveals it to us. Can you pray, “Not my will, but Yours be done”? It is necessary if you really want to know God’s leading. Preface your prayers with the words, “If it be Your will,” and then pray in faith, believing that the Lord hears and will answer (see Mark 11:24; James 1:6-7). After we know the will of God, we need to be taught to do His will. Then, too, we must pray for courage and strength to do what He would have us do.
“Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5). Trust the Lord to guide you and give you the ability to do His will. Remember, you need the strength of the Lord to accomplish anything for Him. Without Christ, you can do nothing (see John 15:5). But with Christ, you can do anything (see Philippians 4:13).
No matter how hard or seemingly impossible something seems, if it is God’s will, you can do it through Christ. It will not be you doing God’s will by yourself, but rather the Lord working in you and through you. It will be the Holy Spirit controlling and guiding you, with God’s almighty power at your disposal.
Are you ready to do whatever the Lord asks of you? Will you do it in whatever place He sends you? Remember, it will not always be the easy road or place. Sometimes, you will be laughed at. Sometimes, you may be lonely, but the Lord will be with you. You will never go alone, for He has promised, “’I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ ” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
If we obey the Lord, we will do His will whenever He asks us to do it. God’s clock keeps perfect time; His timetable is accurate. We may get impatient, but God will always lead us at just the right time. Remember the story of Philip in Acts 8:26-40? Here is an example of the leading of the Lord. God called Philip out to a desert place—a place that he surely would not have chosen to go to himself—because it was His will for Philip at this particular time. And so, Philip went to the desert south of Gaza.
“Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go near and overtake this chariot.’ So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah” (Acts 8:29-30). God continued to lead Philip. There must have been many chariots on the road that day, but God picked just one that Philip should go and join. Just think for a minute how important the timing was—if Philip had delayed just a few minutes, the chariot would have disappeared in the dust. If Philip had picked another chariot, the man inside might not have been reading from Isaiah 53.
There was just one chariot on the road that God had picked out for Philip to follow. There was just one man among all the people who traveled that road whose heart God had prepared for Philip’s message. Philip had to obey the will of God completely and act at just the right time.
SET OUT IN FAITH
Philip must have wondered why he had to go out to the desert, but God knew. Philip must have wondered why he had to join himself to one particular chariot, but God knew. So many times we cannot understand why God leads us in a particular way, but He knows. We cannot understand why certain things happen to us, but God knows. And we can be sure that whatever God does for us, it will be right.
Remember the words of Psalm 18:30: “As for God, His way is perfect.” Set out in faith and do what the Lord has shown you that He wants you to do. Dare to act! Trust yourself to the care of the One who never makes mistakes.
Here are the three related articles excerpted from the eBook God’s Plan by Henrietta Mears…
Henrietta Mears (1890 to 1963) was one of the great Bible teachers of the 20th century. While she served as Christian Education Director at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, she built one of the largest Sunday Schools in the world and wrote curriculum that was in such high demand that to publish it, she founded Gospel Light in 1933. Such notable Christian leaders as Richard C. Halverson, Luis Evans, Jr. and Bill Bright were among her students. Billy Graham said of Dr. Mears, “Her enthusiasm for the Lord Jesus Christ was contagious.”
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