Finding God’s Will; 5. Others

In the last twelve to eighteen months, my family and I have been through some major changes. We had a second baby, added two four-legged friends into our lives, and we’ve moved house a couple of times. The biggest change for me was going from working part-time at the church alongside a full-time job in a local high school to working full-time at the church, taking over as the senior/solo/lead pastor (however you like to use those terms) in the summer of 2018.

Throughout the transition process, there were multiple people who would consistently and constantly tell me, “You’re going to do a great job as pastor, whether here or somewhere else.”, and “I am sure God’s plan for your life is to pastor a church.”. Hearing things like that at a time of huge change was reassuring, energising, edifying, but most importantly it was confirming. It was confirming of the consistent message I had been taking from God’s Word. It was consistent of what I had been hearing from the Lord in prayer. It was consistent with the circumstances and how God was moving in our midst.

Other believers within the church, and the church itself, can be vehicles through which God’s will for us is made known.

God’s global Church, capital C, the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, and all its local expressions, are God’s chosen vehicle to bless His people and to witness His Word, will, and ways to the nations in our time.

Considering this, it is only logical to think that God would speak through the church, through His church, to communicate His will.

When what God is saying to us through His Word, through prayer, through our circumstances, and through the Godly counsel of His church all line up, we can proceed with confidence that we are living within His will (Henry Blackaby).

Being members of a church family is so important, there is no independence when we consider our relation to other believers, only interdependence. All members of the body belong to each other, and all need each other.

Today, pray for your local church, the church family you are a part of. Pray for wise, Godly counsel to flow through it, pray the church is following God’s will, and pray for God to continue to speak through it.

When all four things we have talked about line up, it is hard to ignore the fact that God is speaking to you, He is revealing His will to you. When this happens, there is only one response…go for it! If you are not sure, reach out to someone who you trust for counsel. Counsel doesn’t have to be a scary word; lots and lots of great counsel is done coffee-cup counsel style, some is done face to face, some over the phone. But, if there is something you are not sure about, do reach out to someone to talk about it.

So, God reveals His will to us through;

His Word to us,

Prayer,

Circumstances, and,

Others.

Seek it, find it, and live in it!

Finding God’s Will; 4. Circumstances

If we truly believe that God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and sovereign, then we will trust that our circumstances can show us His will. That is to say, if we believe God is all powerful, all loving, and in control of His creation, then He can and will direct our lives.

However, circumstance alone cannot show us His will. What if we make a bad choice and get involved with some things that God’s Word to us tells us He would never be involved with, is that His will for us? No. Rather, like building blocks in the hands of a toddler, circumstance must be added to the tower of truth we are building, added to what God reveals to us through His Word and through prayer.

Circumstance can be a powerful thing, though. If you are 6’ 4” and 120 kg, you come from a family of international rugby players, love contact sport, your circumstances would suggest that a career as a ballerina or a jockey is not on the cards. If you have a inbuilt innate interest for biochemistry, choosing to study law at university is not for you, is it. Circumstances would suggest your future lies elsewhere.

What is going on around us, if we pay attention, can help to reveal God’s will to us. At each point of my life for the first 20 years, I thought I was making the choices, I was deciding where I would go and what I would do. Deep down I had this desire to pastor, but never really did anything about it. Then, when I let go and asked God to show me what I should be doing and where I should be doing it, circumstances moved in such a way that I could not have chosen, planned, or even dreamed. The combination of the circumstances, His Word, and much prayer (plus the final element we will talk about next time) helped me to see what God wanted me to be doing, and where He wanted me to be doing it. So, how do we do it, how do we look at our circumstances from a God’s-will-finding-perspective? Henry Blackaby offers this;

Ask God to show you His perspective on what is already happening. Look back at your situation through the lens of what you know about God. The Holy Spirit will help you go to the Word and see the truth of the circumstances from God’s perspective. You adjust our lives accordingly, and begin the process again.

Looking back can be so helpful, both physically and spiritually. In Joshua 4 stones are set up as a physical reminder, but we can also look back to times when God has guided us spiritually, the direction we took, the outcome, and this can then help us move forward more certain of His will this time around.

So, if we focus solely on the circumstances, that’s not the entire truth of the situation. Circumstances are important, to be sure, but they are the third piece of the puzzle so far, along with His Word and prayer. Next time, we add the final piece to this – other believers and the church.

Finding God’s Will; 3. Prayer

First, let’s share some big truths about prayer. It works. It is a relationship, not some stuffy religious activity that we have to do. It is something we get to to, not something we are forced to do. But, we are not talking about prayer, per se, we are talking about finding God’s will in prayer…fine difference, but important difference. So, rather than define what prayer is in any more detail than we just did, let’s talk about finding God’s will for your life through prayer.

A few months ago for Robyn’s birthday, we went to the BSPCA to adopt a cat. We prayed before going that God would show us clearly and obviously which cat is right for us. We saw around 20, but only 1 wanted to sit with the boys and that was our cat! This may be trivial in nature, but it’s really a simple example of one way to find God’s will; simply ask Him to show you clearly and obviously should we do A/B/C, make it obvious to us, Sovereign and Almighty God, show us with our limited human understanding something so simple we cannot miss it. That’s one way. But what about if what you what to discover is more than which cat you take home?

God has amazing things lined up for each and every one of our lives. He doesn’t need us to pray to Him, He does not live based on our praying to Him, but He wants us to pray to Him.

The Holy Spirit is the present and active member of the Trinity in the world today, and He is part of your prayer time. As He also illuminates the same Scriptures He inspired all those years ago, so He will guide your prayer time, too.

When we come to God in prayer to seek His will, this happens;

  1. The Spirit reveals God’s will to us through Scripture, through the still small voice, through circumstances, or through other believers.
  2. We then begin to pray in agreement with this.
  3. We adjust our attitudes, actions, and approaches based on what we perceive to be the will of God.
  4. We look for confirmation again through more prayer, more Scripture (properly read, in context, not single sentence stuff), more circumstances, and more input from those we trust.
  5. We begin to obey.
  6. God continues to work in and through us.
  7. We experience living in God’s will, feel energised by doing so, and the cycle starts again.

Sometimes the will of God for our lives is not what we wanted at all…but it’s better.

Sometimes the will of God for our lives is not what we would have chosen…but it’s better.

Sometimes the will of God for our lives is big, hairy and scary…but it’s better than living out of His will.

Prayer is, essentially, us getting on God’s wavelength about things. It’s about aligning our will with His will, our plans with His, our hearts with His. He wants this to happen, He will not refuse you in prayer. Even radio silence from the other end can be an answer in itself when coupled with Scripture, circumstances, and others.

Through the work of Jesus on the cross, His death, and His resurrection, we are able to go confidently to God in prayer…we can talk to the maker of heaven and earth, and He hears us. The Holy Spirit is on mission to help you to pray, to guide your prayer, to speak into your life via Scripture, via prayer, via circumstances, and via others.

Spend some time today talking to your Father in heaven, ask Him if you are on the right track, what you should do about A/B/C, then be ready!

Finding God’s Will; 2. His Word To Us

Have you ever been in a Bible study or some other Christian conversation and somebody says something like ‘I know what this passage means, because A/B/C happened to me last week and it makes sense now.’

The natural, kind response is ‘Ah ok *nodding along*, I see…’.

As polite as this is, it’s wrong; we should never interpret the Bible based on our lives, rather, we should interpret our lives based on God’s Word to us found in the Bible.

There is not a situation, dilemma, choice, struggle, temptation, or challenge that you could be facing that has not been covered, even in principle, in God’s Word to us. It is complete, and it is contributing to our being complete (2 Timothy 3.17). As we read in Ecclesiastes 1.9, there is nothing new under the sun, this has all happened before.


Whatever is on your heart or mind, God has spoken about it already!


The Bible is a collection of inspired, inerrant, infallible, and all sufficient texts that all bear the fingerprint of God, and it all communicates one connected, continuous narrative of God’s all-conquering love for us that manifested itself in the person and work of Jesus and His redemption of humanity. Simply, His Word to us is truth (John 17.17) from creator to creation. Along this narrative every question we could ever ask is answered, and the same Holy Spirit who inspired the original writers will illuminate the Scriptures for you and for me to understand. The Holy Spirit is in the truth-revealing business, and Henry Blackaby offers this as a process;

You read God’s Word, the Spirit takes the Word and reveals the truth within it to you, you adjust your life accordingly, you obey God, God works in and through you to accomplish His purposes, you come to know God in a more personal and real way.

As we read the Word of God, we are to listen for that still, small voice illuminating the Scriptures for us. We are to pay attention to what happened to the people, what they chose, what were the outcomes, how did God interact with them based on their choices, what does His Word reveal about His character and how is this seen in the particular situation we are reading about. As we read like this, we will see how we ought to adjust our lives, how we ought to be living, and where we need to make adjustments on the move Small changes made consistently over time will bring the big results we are looking for, and there is nothing bigger than being in right relationship with the maker of heaven and earth, knowing that what you are doing, the choices you are making, and the direction you are heading are all His.

When He does speak to us through His word, we must adjust ourselves to the truth revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, but what a great adjustment to make!

Finding God’s Will; 1. The Belgian Duke

13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. Romans 6.13.

In the fourteenth century two brothers fought for the right to rule over a dukedom in what is now Belgium. The elder brother’s name was Raynald, but he was commonly called “Crassus,” a Latin nickname meaning “fat”.

After a heated battle, Raynald’s younger brother Edward led a successful revolt against him and assumed the title of Duke over his lands. But instead of killing Raynald, Edward devised a sneaky solution. He had a room in the castle built around “Crassus,” a room with only one door. The door was not locked, the windows were not barred, and Edward promised Raynald that he could regain his land and his title any time that he wanted to. All he would have to do is leave the room. The obstacle to freedom was not in the doors or the windows, but with Raynald himself. Being grossly overweight, he could not fit through the door, even though it was of near-normal size. All Raynald needed to do was slim down to a smaller size, then walk out a free man, with all he had had before his defeat. However, his younger brother kept sending him an assortment of tasty treats, and Raynald’s desire to be free never beat his desire to eat (adapted from EnduringWord).

Crassus was certainly not using his members (his body) as an instrument for righteousness, was he?

On a very simple level, we should be living to please God, not ourselves.


Our bodies are servants to the master that is our will.

Simply, our will is greater than our bodies.


That’s how people can do extreme endurance events, function with no sleep, rescue others from dangerous situations, how there are stories of mothers lifting cars off children. The will is far more powerful than the body, and we are to choose to present ourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and our members, our bodies, to God as instruments for righteousness.

The will is far stronger than the body, and it is up to us how we use our bodies; in service to or in rebellion against the way God says we are to live. Our will is strong and will ultimately direct our path, but sometimes takes us places we ought not to go. But God’s will for our lives is always sure, always perfect, and, if it is sure and perfect for Jesus to follow (Matthew 26.39), then it is absolutely sure and perfect enough for us to follow.

This week we will focus on how to find God’s will for your life, how to see God’s guiding hand in your life. For today, think,

Am I presenting myself to God as one who has been brought from death to life, and am I presenting my will and body to God as instruments for righteousness?

Revelation 12.7-17 – Be careful what you wish for…

7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.

9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.

15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. 16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

Today we see what at first glance is a great thing, the great dragon was thrown down…the devil is cast out of heaven as there was no longer any place for them in heaven. Maybe you’re thinking, hang on, he was in heaven before? Job 1.6-12 tells us that yes, he was.

So he is cast down to earth after a tussle with Michael and his angels. Every time we see Michael in the Bible it’s in the context of a fight, he’s the go to guy, and he does it right, he does it in the name of the Lord, not in his own power. Consider that, the leader of heaven’s armies fights in the power of the Lord. Jude 1.9 says

But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said,

“The Lord rebuke you.”

There’s a lesson in there for us, isn’t there…

So the devil is cast out of heaven, great.

But then he resolves to pursue God’s people here on earth, bad.

First he pursues the woman who had given birth to the male child, and in the next section we will see that he then turns attention to the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. So cast out of heaven, good. Pursuing and making war on you, and me, and our loved ones, and all who hold to the testimony of Jesus, bad.

How often is that the case, we think that we are doing something great, but actually there are consequences. We feel we acting in the best interests of those we lead, but then it comes back to bite us, or even them. We try to be a Godly leader and example in our home, place of work, circle of friends, but then we end up providing a witness far from what it should be. Now, I’m not saying that Michael and his tribe wish they hadn’t cast the devil and his cronies out of heaven, far from it, but that when we make bold moves sometimes there are hidden results for others.

All this to say that we need to consider our actions prayerfully, thoroughly, and if possible, collectively. Think of others before making decisions, consider the possible outcomes for others before acting boldly. More important than that, stop, pray, seek God’s will for your life in that very moment, and the one after that, and the one after that…He knows what will happen, He is the God of our past, present, and future and exists in His eternal now, so He is already there; ask Him for wisdom, the wisdom He freely gives.

As Michael sets the example, let us do all we do in the name of the Lord, and let us at every step pause and pray Your will be done. Then we will know what we wish for is what He wills for.