(By David Giarrizzo)
God’s Word is clear:
“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:17
Seeking the will of the Lord does not have to be a mystical part of the journey of life. In fact, the mystery of God’s decretive will is revealed when God opens our eyes to His written Word which he has given us to teach us and guide us within His will. Too many well-intentioned people are looking for answers to life’s biggest questions in all the wrong places (visions and dreams, signs and wonders, open and closed doors, feelings of the heart, false teachers, self-help books, random Bible verses, etc.). And too many poor-intentioned preachers are leading others astray through these and other means. But I appreciate how straight-forward Kevin DeYoung is when he writes, “Apart from the Spirit working through Scripture, God does not promise to use any other means to guide us, nor should we expect Him to” (Just Do Something, p 68). This principle (sola scriptura) is important for Christians to uphold and remember, not just for theological conversations and apologetic debates, but also for answers to the questions and challenges of life, large or small.
- Live a Christ-centered life. The focus in a Christian’s life must never be taken off of Jesus Christ. It’s been said, “Keep the main thing the main thing.” Well, folks, Jesus Christ is the “main thing” in a believer’s life. There is nothing more important than to follow this Savior in humble obedience that stems from a grateful love of God. Remember the first and second greatest commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). Keep Christ at the forefront of your life, and everything else will fall into place.
- Be rooted in the Word. In order to know God’s will, we must know God; and in order to know God, we must know His Word. Read it. Dig in deep. Mine the divine wisdom that is contained between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21. Know God’s Word in order to know God, and as you get to know God, you will learn more of God’s will for His people.
- Chase after wisdom. Don’t spin your wheels seeking answers anywhere other than Scripture. Solomon compares true wisdom to the most precious of jewels, as important as life itself.
“My son, do not lose sight of these—keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. …For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” (Proverbs 3:21-23, 26)
- Maintain an attitude of trust in God. Trusting God should not merely be an action that a Christian engages in on occasion. Trusting God should be a natural, basic part of the Christian’s thoughts and attitude. Kevin DeYoung writes about maintaining a daily trust in God: “We don’t have to say ‘If the Lord wills’ after every sentence, but it must be in our heads and hearts. We must live our lives believing that all of our plans and strategies are subject to the immutable will of God. Therefore, we should be humble in looking to the future because we don’t control it; God does” (p 47).
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15
1. God’s Word
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification…” 1 Thessalonians 4:3
“Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13
“I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:9-10
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” Hebrews 1:1-2
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…” Ephesians 1:11
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:28-29
2. The Church
God has given us the blessing of the church to point us back to our dependence upon Him for all things. This is what our brothers and sisters do for us—they point us to that which is most important: Jesus Christ. As we strive to become more like our Savior, we should be interacting with the beloved saints of God. The church with its members exists, in part, to sanctify God’s elect. If it is God’s will that we be sanctified, shouldn’t we seek to do God’s will and utilize the means of grace through the blessing of the local church? Of course! Additionally, a healthy church has healthy leadership who give sound, biblical advice to believers who are genuinely seeking God’s will. Go to your elders, seek their counsel, and learn from them.
3. Good Books
There have been many great books written on the topics of God’s will and decision-making. But here are a few on similar topics that have proven beneficial to me in my life:
- Just Do Something (Kevin DeYoung)
- Don’t Waste Your Life (John Piper)
- Do Hard Things (Alex and Brett Harris)
- Business for the Glory of God (Wayne Grudem)
- A Guide to Christian Ambition (Hugh Hewitt)
- Boy Meets Girl (Joshua Harris)
- Manly Dominion (Mark Chanski)
- The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment (Tim Challies)
br>*Please add any other good resources in the comment section.
I pray that as we walk through this world we will keep our feet planted in the Word and our eyes fixed on the Hope that is to come (Matthew 6:33); then we will find comfort and confidence and joy in the fact that our Shepherd guides us wherever we may walk. And when we come to those metaphorical forks in the road of life, I pray that we be not paralyzed but press on towards the goal.
…At least do something!