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What I want you to do now is, if you would please, take out your bibles and turn in them to the book of Daniel in the Old Testament. It’s a little bit to the right of Psalms; Ezekiel precedes Daniel, and turn to Daniel chapter number 4. We’re going to look at a verse toward the end of Daniel four in just a moment.
You know, there’s a question that arises often in the minds of those in the believing community. It takes several different forms, but we often find ourselves asking the question, “What does God want me to do?” Or maybe, “Where does God want me to go?” We’re asking the question, “What is the Will of God for me?” Now what I find fascinating are some of the methods that we in the believing community come up with when it comes to determining the Will of God.
I read this one story about a Christian young man who fell deeply in love with a young lady that he met when she came to his country on a short term mission’s trip. And after just a few days together, he was just thinking, “What is the Will of God; I wonder if we ought to get married?” Well, she left and she returned to America and he wrote her a letter. And he said, “I know now that it’s God’s will for us to be married.” And he told the story of how he determined that. He said, “Well, I was walking along and I looked up in the sky and I saw up in the sky, a white bird and a black bird flying together”. And then he said, “Not only that, but I was walking along this body of water, this stream, and I saw these two fish swimming together. And is I watched them, it was almost as if they seemed to kiss each other. And so I know that God wants us to get married.” I mean, what an amazing, and what more clear evidence would you want than that?
And I also read about Doug, who was a teenager, and he was trying to figure out, “What is the will of God when it comes to my social life here; about who I’m supposed to date?” So he came up with this little system for Friday nights. This is what he came up with. He said, “I’m going to make a list of all the girls that I might want to go out on a date with. And then if I want to know what the will of God is, what I do is this; is that when I start phoning, I start at the top of the list. And if the line is busy, that means that God is saying, ‘No, that is not My will.’ If, on the other hand, no one answers, that means that God’s will is that I wait and I try again later. And, if the phone rings, and she answers it, that means God’s will is for me to date that particular girl.” Isn’t it amazing the things we come up with when it comes to determining the will of God?
I read about another college student who was looking for a car. And he was saying, “I wonder which car would be the will of God for me to purchase?” And so he wanted to come up with some way to determine that. And so he had, one night he had this dream, in fact, it was a series of dreams. And he noticed that everything in his dream was colored yellow. And he woke up and said, “I have my answer about my car”. And so he went round looking at used car lots and he finally found a yellow car that also had a yellow interior. And he said, “That’s the will of God for me.” And so he didn’t even take it for a test drive. He just bought it. And of course, you know happened. It turned out to be a lemon. Yeah. Exactly.
Knowing the will of God; how do you know the will of God? There’s a tremendous amount of interest on our part to know the Will of God. Am I supposed to marry Mary or am I supposed to marry Melinda? Am I supposed to live in Oklahoma or am I supposed to live in Texas? Come to think of it, that’s not really much of a mystery about the will of God at all. I know what the will of God is there. But you know, when it comes to knowing what the will of God, there’s a tremendous amount of confusion that exists. How do we determine the will of God? How do we get a grip on the will of God? Do we go by impressions that we have? Do we go by looking in the Bible? Do we go by what other people have to say to us? Do we look up into the clouds and see what kind of shapes that we see up there? I mean, how do you know the will of God? There’s a lot of confusion, and I think frankly, if we’re going to be honest, there’s a lot of frustration about how to know the will of God. Sometimes we feel like, you know, we’re on this a cosmic game of hide-and-seek. You know, I want to know the will of God and He’s hiding it somewhere. And we want to just stand up and say, “Just give me the formula God. Just tell me the formula so I can know the will of God and I will follow it.”
Well what we want to do in order to help us to get a grip on how to know the will of God, we want to launch a new series of messages we’re going to be doing. We were going to launch these last Sunday, but guess what? We had no church last Sunday due to ice. And a part of the series involves the words “divine GPS”. You know GPS is; it stands for Global Positioning Satellite System. You know; those navigation systems. Some of you have newer cars have a GPS in your car. Some of you are maybe hikers or hunters and may have a hand-held GPS. But you know, the GPS points the way you are to go. And I’ve entitled this series of messages we’re going to do, “Divine GPS: How To Get A Grip On The Will Of God”. What does God want me to do? How can I get a grip on that? How do I discover His will for me? That’s what we want to tackle in the series of messages we’re going to do.
Now today’s plan involves three things that we want to do. First of all, we want to make a clarification regarding the will of God. And then we want to look at a misconception about the will of God that a lot of times we don’t really talk about. And then, we want to begin to look at the foundation of getting a grip on the will of God. We’re just going to begin to look at that today. So, we’re going to look at a clarification and then we’re going to look at a misconception and then, thirdly, we’re going to begin to look at the very foundation of knowing the will of God.
So let’s begin by making a clarification. And what’s important for us to understand is when we talk about that phrase, “the will of God”, we need to understand that the will of God is used in two senses in scripture; two different ways; two different aspects. I like to call one aspect “The Determined Will of God”. And the Bible talks about that. But there’s another aspect that I like to call “The Desired Will of God”. And we need to clarify the difference between the two. So let’s begin by looking at the determined will of God. What is the determined will of God? Well, the determined will of God describes what will happen. The determined will of God is the sovereign decree of God. The determined will of God is what’s going to happen. It’s what has happened. That is the determined will of God. It is inevitable, it is irresistible, it doesn’t make any difference what you say or what I say or what anyone says. The determined will of God is going to happen. It is what will happen.
And if you have your Bible open to Daniel chapter 4, I want you to notice something there in verse 35. Now this is a statement that comes out of the mouth of Nebuchadnezzar, and if you’d like to go back later, earlier in the chapter you can read the little adventure that God put him on. But he makes this statement in verse 35 of Daniel chapter 4. He says, “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He (God) does according to His will in the host of heaven, among the inhabitants of the earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, “What have you done?” He is here describing the determined will of God; what will happen; it is inevitable; it is irresistible; what God determines, in terms of His determined will, will indeed happen.
You can jot down the reference Ephesians 1, verse 11, where Paul talks about how God works, listen to the phrase, ALL things after the counsel of His will. That’s talking about the determined will of God. God determines it’s going to happen; it happens. Now, the determined will of God is actually a source of great encouragement and comfort to us because it tells us, while I’m not always in control, Someone is always in control; while I always do not necessarily have a plan or know the plan, there’s Someone who has a plan. The determined will of God would make a great course of study for us. In fact, probably sometime in the near future we will take a greater look at the determined will of God and the amount of encouragement that can bring in our life. I want you to know that one of the greatest sources of encouragement in my life is the whole Biblical teaching on the determined will of God.
But that’s not what we’re really going to look at in the series of messages we’re going to be examining. We’re not going to really be looking at the determined will of God; we want to rather look at the desired will of God. And the desired will of God is what God desires to happen. His determined will is what’s going to happen. His desired will is what He desires to happen. I’ll just give you some passages. 1 Timothy chapter 2, verse 4 says that God “desires all men to be saved”. Not all men will be saved but God “desires all men to be saved”. 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 9, “God is not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”. That’s what He desires would happen. But the truth is that there are some who will perish, there are some who are in the process of perishing and there’s a number who won’t come to repentance. But His desired will is that “all would come to repentance” and “that none would perish”.
And then He even has desired will; what He desires to happen in your life; in my life. Titus chapter 2, verse 12 says that “God instructs us (He instructs us; this is His desired will for your life and mine) to deny ungodliness, worldly desires, to live sensibly and righteously and godly. You see, that’s what His desired will is. But the reality is, is that I don’t always do His desired will. I don’t always choose to deny ungodliness in my life. I don’t always deny every worldly desire. Sometimes you don’t live sensibly and righteously and godly. But that is what He desires to happen; that is His desired will for our life. See, here’s what’s interesting about His desired will. His determined will; nobody can stand up against it. It is inevitable, it is irreversible, it is irresistible. But His desired will: ah, that can be followed; or that can be ignored. It’s a different dimension of His will. And what His desired will really is; is God directing us and He is, by giving His desired will, He is revealing His heart to us.
He is seeking to lead and guide us in the way that we live and in the choices that we make. Now usually, when someone’s wrestling with the question of, “What is the will of God”, primarily they’re wrestling with this aspect of the will of God; “What is the desired will of God?” “What does He desire would happen? What does He want me to do? What is God’s will for me? What does He desire for me?” And so, because that’s the thing we most frequently wrestle with, that is going to be our focus in this series of messages that we’re going to do. We’re going to focus on the desired will of God. And so, it was just necessary, before we get too deeply into this, to make that clarification. We’re not addressing the determined will of God. We are addressing the desired will of God.
Now, the second thing I want to do is I want to address a misconception and I really believe this is a misconception that is often not talked about. It’s more emotionally felt by people and a lot of times they don’t feel free to actually express what they’re thinking about the desired will of God and knowing the will of God. And the misconception really is just this; that when it comes to knowing God’s will, God doesn’t really care. Or, it goes like this, “God is a little bit weird; He has kind of a twisted sense of humor”. And the reason why we have that misconception is because we’re struggling. We’re saying, “I want to know the will of God for my life. I keep asking Him for the will of God. I don’t see the will of God. I can’t find the will of God.” And so therefore, we start to think, either He doesn’t care, you know, or He’s got a weird sense of humor, you know. That He just thinks it’s funny that I can’t find it.
Bruce Waltke wrote this, he said, “Many Christians talk about the will of God as though it is a version of the old con man’s ruse the 3 shell game. You remember the game; a pea is hidden under a walnut shell and two other walnut shells are placed on either side of the first. Then all three are quickly moved around the table and the con man asks you, the spectator or the “mark”, to guess which shell the pea is under. And no matter which shell you guess, you’re always wrong. And you can watch as carefully as possible, trying to unlock the secret of the manipulations, but you can never quite keep up with the manipulator.” And he goes on to say, “When I hear Christians talking about the will of God, they often sound like marks. They use phrases like, ‘if I could only find God’s will’, as though He’s keeping it hidden from them. Or they might say, ‘I’m praying that I’ll discover His will for my life’, because they apparently believe God doesn’t want them to find it, or wants to make is as hard as possible to find so that the individual can prove his worth.”
You know, sometimes we almost get the idea that God is up there sorta hiding behind a bush saying, “You’re getting warmer.” [A game where a person is seeking to find something or someone and they are told “colder” when they move away from the target and “warmer” when they move closer] He’s kind of going [Bruce makes a muffled tone like God is laughing under His breath]. Listen; that’s not the way God is. God is not some kind of a cosmic jokester who has His will for your life and He’s just hiding it. He’s not some kind of uncaring monarch, who’s playing this celestial game of hide and seek and thinking it’s funny. I mean, why would he do that? When He wants us to know His desired will, why would he do that? Why would He hide it from us? You know what’s interesting about the desired will of God? That He wants us to know His desired will even more than we want to know it.
I just want you to see a few passages of scripture. Turn to the middle of your bible to The Book of Psalms. I want you to see a series of statements in The Psalms that emphasizes how He wants to lead us; He wants to guide us; He wants us to know His desired will. Look at Psalm 48. Psalm 48. Psalm 48 and verse 14. Notice the heart of God. The Psalmist writes, “For such is God”, in verse 14, “Our God for ever and ever; He will guide us until death”. I think the NIV says, “He will guide us even to the end”. You see, He wants us to know His will. He wants to guide us. That’s His commitment. Look over at Psalm 32, a few pages to the left. Psalm 32 and verse 8. God is speaking in verse 8 of Psalm 32, he says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you”. I want you to know My desired will. I am going to lead you. I am going to guide you. Look at the previous Psalm, Psalm 31 and verse 3. David says of God, “You are my rock and my fortress”, verse 3, “for Your name’s sake You will lead and guide me”. See, that’s the heart of God. He wants us to know His desired will.
And then if you’ll turn over to Psalm 23, a familiar Psalm to many of us, The Shepherd’s Psalm, I just want you to notice it again. It says in Psalm 23, verse 1, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures”. Notice what it says next, “He leads me beside quiet water. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”. You see, that’s what a shepherd does. A shepherd leads and guides. And the whole idea of a shepherd and a flock is that the sheep can count on the shepherd as being dependable and being trustworthy. I mean, it’s really an absurdity to think that He would shirk from leading and guiding us and showing us His desired will; that He would run off and hide somewhere and start laughing, “We cannot find….isn’t it funny……Bruce can’t find that”. You know, that’s just a misconception about God totally. So we needed to make a little clarification between the determined will and the desired will. And I just want to clarify. God’s not in the business of not leading us and guiding us and communicating His desired will for our life.
Now, what we want to do is; we’re going to do a series of messages here. We want to lay a foundation today on how we get a grip on the will of God. And that foundation really involves two pillars that support the foundation. One pillar is the Living Book and the other pillar is the Living Person. And we’re going to talk about both of those pillars. If we’re going to get a grip on knowing the will of God, it means that we need to be in the Living Book; we need to be searching the Scriptures. If we’re going to get a grip on knowing the will of God, it means that we need to be in a fresh relationship with the Living Person. We need to be deepening our relationship with the Savior. That’s the foundation of knowing the will of God.
Now, what we’re going to do is today, for the rest of our time, we’re going to take the first pillar and going to look at it. Then next time, if we don’t have more ice and more storms, we’ll look at that second pillar. And then, even ahead, we’re going to look at some additional guidelines and principles on how to get a grip on the will of God. But if we’re going to look at the foundation of how we get a grip on the will of God, it begins with the Living Book. We do it by searching the Scriptures.
Now here’s where I want you to be careful, because some of you are thinking right away, “I already know that. I already know that. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.” But I want you to know, we tend to vastly, I mean these words very carefully, vastly under estimate what this Book is telling us about the desired will of God. We tend to do that. We underestimate how much about His desired will that He has revealed in this book. Psalm 119:105, the Psalmist says, “Your word, God, is a lamp to feet, a light to my path”. What is the picture that he is drawing there? When I’m trying to go down and follow the path of the desired will of God, the word of God is what lights the path. It shows me where I need to go and where I need to walk. And when we want to talk about knowing and getting a grip on the will of God, we need to be looking at the foundation and the pillar of the Living Book.
This Book, shines on our life path and shows me where I need to go, where God desires that I go and what God desires for me to do. Now, if I want to know the will of God, wouldn’t it be neat if I had a clear statement in scripture that says, “This is the will of God”. Well, the truth is, there are three times in the New Testament where we have that direct statement given to us. It just flat out says it; “This is the will of God”. It’s not talking about the determined will of God; it’s talking about the desired will of God. Let’s look at all three of those passages real quickly.
Turn with me first, in the New Testament, to First Thessalonians. You have Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and then you have Thessalonians. 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and verse 3. So if I’m going to try to get a grip on the will of God by searching the Scriptures, a good place to start is when He just says, “This is the will of God”. So, chapter 4, verse 3, here it comes; “For this is the will of God”, this is what I want you to do and live out in your life, “your sanctification; that is you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel”, his own body, “in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion like the Gentiles”, like the people in the world, “who do not know God”.
Men and women, this is the will of God for your life and mine. It involves our sanctification. Sanctification refers to us being set apart in a special realm to God. It refers to our holiness; our consecration to God. You want to know what the will of God is? Here’s part of the way; we’re to be consecrated to God. We are to (and this is really pretty blunt language here) we are to abstain from sexual immorality it says in the New American Standard. The word in the original text is the word “porneia”, p-o-r-n-e-i-a. It is the general term for all sexual activity outside of sexual activity between a husband and a wife. God says, “This is the will of God. You want to know what it is? I’ll tell you. That we, as believers in Jesus Christ, abstain from porneia. Porneia includes premarital sex, porneia includes extramarital sex, porneia includes pedophilia, porneia would also include homosexuality, porneia includes, frankly, the majority of what we see, in terms of sexual activity in TV and the movies. Those things, He says, are not the will of God. The will of God is, in essence, our purity. That is the will of God.
Richard Strauss put it this way, he said, “A fellow really never needs to question whether or not God wants him to have sexual relationships with his girlfriend (that never even should come up as a question because) God has already made His will known in the matter. He always desires purity.” He goes on to write that, “Some young people are trying to decide whether a certain special member of the opposite sex could be God’s choice for a life partner. Yet when they are together they are much too free with each other’s bodies. The temptations they arouse in each other are more than they can handle and I”, he says, “can assure them, on the authority of God’s Word, that they are not meant for each other; at least not so long as they are involved with one other physically.” The Bible says, “Flee fornication” and more than that, it says, “Flee also youthful lusts.” If someone has become a source of sexual temptation to you, then God’s will for you is to run in the opposite direction as fast as your legs will carry you. Get away from that relationship. It is not part of God’s plan for your life. God’s plan is purity.” Isn’t it interesting, again, how we can say, “I want to know the will of God for my life”, and yet He’s made it very plain.
I want to look at a second passage where you have the phrase, “This is the will of God”. It occurs in the same book actually, in chapter five, in verses 15 and following. What we have in verses 15 thru 18 is a whole sort of rapid series of commands that are thrown at us as believers in Jesus Christ and I just want you to see them. In verse 15, he says, “see that no one pays, or repays, another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Do you see the structure of all of that? He’s giving command, command, command, command, command and then he says, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.
This is the light for your path that we are to walk. You know what we really have here is a gold mine. I mean this is a gold mine of guidance from God. It has broad application in all of our relationships and even in our response in circumstances. What is God’s will for me? Well, I’m not to return evil for evil. Someone does wrong to me, I’m not to turn around and do wrong back. I am to seek that which is good for one another and for all people. We are to rejoice always, knowing that He is on the throne, and who I am in Christ, and that He has a plan. We are to pray without ceasing. It doesn’t mean you never stop your mouth from moving but the picture is like having a cough that, you know, you cough here and you walk a little more and you cough and then you walk a little more and then you cough; that’s how we’re supposed to pray. When we’re walking through our day, we pray, and then we walk a little farther and we pray again and then we pray again. That’s the will of God for us. And then he says, “In everything, give thanks”. Give thanks. That’s an opportunity to grow. It’s an opportunity to trust God.
I’m in the process of trying to buy a different used car. And I want you know, that kind of thing drives my flesh nuts. I don’t like car dealers, in general. Excuse me, for those of you who are. Some of you are great people, who work there, but, generally, I don’t like them; I don’t like the games; I don’t like playing these silly games [played at automotive dealers] about this and that. [these are sample things a car salesman might say] “I’ve got to go talk to the manager, and gotta do this and I’ve gotta do this, and I can’t eat if you don’t buy this car. I mean, come on. I don’t even like to go through that stuff. But in everything I am to give thanks. I was just thinking about that this week when I was grousing a little bit about this whole process. That is the will of God. See, what is the will of God for me? Well you see, He has let us know.
The third place that direct statement comes out is found in 1 Peter chapter 2, so turn with me there. You gotta go past Hebrews and past James to get there; 1 Peter chapter 2. Very clear statement; this is the desired will of God. Verse 13; “submit yourselves, for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as one who’s in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evil doers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” This is the desired will of God, particularly when it comes to relating to authority and relating to governmental authority. He says, here’s what my will is, I want you to do what’s right. I want you to submit to the human institutions that are there.
And so as we are, many of us just be beginning to do this, some of us are going to do this a couple of months later and some of us are going to take extensions, but we’re going to be working on taxes. And so when we’re working on taxes, and we begin to wrestle, wonder or not whether I ought to just sorta fudge [misrepresent] on the figures just a little bit? See, God has expressed His will. No, what you do is you do what is right. And you submit to the human institutions. How do we know the will of God? Well, the will of God for my life and your life is that we live in sexual purity, that we never pay back someone evil for the evil that they have done to us, that we seek good for all men, that we are rejoicing, that we are praying, that we are giving thanks and we are submitting to the government authorities, and we do what’s right. That’s the will of God. That’s the desired will of God in my life, your life, all of our lives.
Now we have those three direct statements from scripture, but we also have something else in the Bible that is given to us. And those of you who have studied language know, that there is a thing in language called (sometimes if you’ve just learned English you don’t even think about this, but if you’ve studied language, you know there’s a thing called) the imperative mood. The imperative mood refers to commands that are given. It refers to directives that are given and the Bible gives us not only these three statements, direct statements, it gives us all kinds of commands and all kinds of directives which are reflective of the desired will of God for our life. And not only that, but we also have principles that come out of Scripture. And so, when we begin to think, “I wonder if it might be God’s will for me to marry this unbelieving person (they don’t know God). I wonder if it could be His will?” We have answers for that. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says we’re not to be bound up together, sort of wrapped in this deep relationship, with unbelievers. And 1 Corinthians 7:39, it says that if you have a spouse who dies, you can remarry, but you are to remarry only in the Lord. In other words, you only marry someone who’s a believer in Jesus Christ.
We ask ourselves the question, “I wonder if pornography could be wrong? I wonder. You know, I don’t see pornography; internet pornography; addressed in the Bible so I wonder if that’s wrong?” And yet, we have Jesus saying in Matthew 5:28, “if you look after a woman with the purpose of lusting for her, you’ve already committed adultery with her in your heart. See, the Bible has a whole lot more to tell us than we maybe would imagine. If I, if I see another believer who is consistently doing the wrong thing; they’re consistently involved in committing some kind of a pattern of sin in their life and everything, I mean, what am I supposed to do about that? What is God’s will? I mean, do I just sit there and watch that? Do I talk to all my friends, “Did you see such and such do blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?” Do I complain that they seem to get away with things and no one is doing anything about it? Do I tell someone else about it? What’s the will of God?
Well, Matthew chapter 18 verses 15 to 17, gives us a whole pattern of what we’re to do with something like that. There’s a process we’re to go through. You see, that’s what I’m saying. This book tells us a whole lot more about the desired will of God than we tend to give it credit for. How am I to perform in my job? I mean, do I do like a lot of the other employees when the boss isn’t watching and we just sort of goof off? I mean, do I spend a lot of extra hours on the internet on the computer when I could be doing my work? I mean, how do I, what’s the will of God about all of that? Let’s go there; Colossians chapter 3. Colossians chapter three tells us the answer to that question. Colossians chapter 3, verse 23. If we wonder what the will of God is; I mean how am I supposed to be performing on my job; what’s my perspective to be at work? Notice it says, verse 23, “Whatever you do”, that means whatever the job may be, part-time, full-time, whatever it may be, “do your work heartily”, it literally means from deep in the soul, “do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men.” It means that we not be looking at our boss only, but we look at the person who’s the boss of our boss. And when we’re really doing our job, whether again it’s a part-time job or a full-time job, we’re really working for Jesus Christ. He is ultimately our boss. “Knowing it’s the Lord Christ whom you serve, for he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong.” How am I to perform on my job? Am I to coast or to not coast? The Bible tells us. See? You see what I’m saying?
Listen to what Ray Pritchard has written, he says this, “Often when we say, ‘God, show me your will. Show me your will.’ What we really mean is ‘Lord, give me some kind of a feeling; give me some sort of spiritual revelation.’” And God wants to say back to us, “I’ve already shown you my will. Would you just get up and do it?” What is God’s will for a student? God’s will for a student is to do his or her homework. What is God’s will for a doctor? To get up and do your rounds early in the morning. What is God’s will for a pharmacist? Take extra care as you fill those prescriptions. What is God’s will for a banker? Take care of the money that’s been entrusted to you. What’s God’s will for an accountant? Take care of the books. Do your job right. What’s God’s will for a teacher? Do your lesson plans and come to class ready to teach. What’s God’s will for a salesman? Know your product. Make your contacts. Move the merchandise. What’s God’s will for a football coach? Get the team ready to play on Friday night. What’s God’s will for an assembly line worker? Show up on time. Show up sober. Show up with a good attitude. Show up ready to work. That is God’s will.” Too often, you see, men and women, I tell you, we underestimate, see what I’m saying, we under estimate what this Book has to say to us about the desired will of God in our life.
Now, another interesting thing happens in my mind when it comes to knowing the will of God in the Bible. It just seems like sometimes we like to treat the Bible like it’s a holy Ouija [divining game] board you know. Kinda like, “Ah, I wonder what the will of God is, ah [Bruce makes a bumping sound like a finger dropping on a table to point to an open bible] Oh, I’ll read that verse. Oh, that’s the will of God for my life.” You know, like we’re just going to dip down in to the promise box and see what jumps out at us. And you’ve got to be very careful with that because if you’re going to just do this, and read that verse, and your going to just do this and read that verse. It may come out something like this, “Judas went out and hanged himself. Go and do likewise. What you do, do quickly”. Very dangerous way, you see, to jump around into the Bible.
Doing the will of God, men and women, starts with what has already been revealed in this Book. You know, while we’re off and looking for the will of God, you know God’s looking for? You know what God’s looking for? In Acts 13:22, He talks about David and He said, “David was a man after My own heart, who will do all of My will”. See, that’s what God’s on the hunt for. The one who takes what has been revealed about His desired will and has a commitment to do all of His will. What was the example that Jesus set for us? Remember, Jesus was our pattern. John 8:29, what did Jesus say? He said, “I always do the things that are pleasing to My Father”. He says that’s the commitment that I have. What He’s taught me and revealed to me about His desired will, that is what I’m about to doing. I want to please Him by doing what He desires of me.
If we’re going to get a grip on knowing the will of God, men and women, we have to understand this, this is very important, it’s not a passive thing. It’s not like, I want to know the will of God, so I’m just going to sit here, waiting for the revelation to come. No, that’s not, that’s not the way you get a grip on the will of God. It’s an active thing. It’s an active doing. It’s a moving out. How are we going to get a grip on the will of God? We get a grip on the will of God by searching the scriptures. That’s part of the foundation of knowing the will of God; the desired will of God, one of the pillars.
Now, I want to give you a life step; that you can take, something that will help, okay? Just to implement this–getting a grip by searching the scriptures. And here’s the life step that we can all take. This is just a way; this is something you can start doing this week, okay? Not next week, this week. And that is, if we’re going to get a grip on the will of God by searching the Scriptures, we need to read and meditate on the Scriptures. We need to read and meditate on the Scriptures. We need to find out what’s in the Book. See? Very important.
And a key to unlocking the will of God is this whole idea of “meditating on”. Psalm 119:97, the Psalmist says, “I love Your law God. It is my meditation day and night.” He says, “I see what it says and I think about the ramifications of that. What does that mean at work? What does that mean in my family? We got to look at it; turn to the very first Psalm, the very first Psalm, Psalm number one. It’s a really cool Psalm, by the way, because it describes what we all want to be and then it tells you how you get there. Psalm number one, verse three describes what we all want to be, you know, as we go through life. We all want to be a tree, firmly planted by streams of water. We want to be a tree that yields its fruit in season. I want my life to have fruit in it. And we want to be a tree whose leaf does not wither when things get dry and parched, we don’t just wither up. And whatever he does, he prospers. You know, whatever I do in my life, I’m going to have success by God’s definition of it. Now that’s what we all want to be, right? We want to be verse three. How do you get there? Well, by verse two. “His delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night and he will be like a tree, firmly planted, you see.
Joshua, when he was directing those moving into the land, to take over the land, in chapter one, verse 8 he says, “The book of the law should not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it, for then, then, then, then, then, then, you make your way prosperous and then you will have success.” We need to read and meditate on Scripture. I mean, how many times do we say, “I want to know the will of God” (said in a whining voice) and then we’re not reading and meditating on Scripture. This is how, foundationally, we know the will of God.
And I don’t mean meditate in the Eastern, mystical sense. Meditating, in the Bible sense, means that we ponder it, we reflect on it, we mull it over, we’re thinking about it. What does that mean for me, again, in all these various spheres of life that I live, how should I be doing things? So we need to read and meditate on Scripture. And, by the way, I think meditation and prayer are the two sides of the same coin. We’re mulling it over and we’re praying, “God, what does this really mean for my life at work? What does it really mean?
Now I want to leave you with; I want to challenge you to read and meditate on the Scripture. I want to leave you with a little tool that will help you. It will help you unpack the vast storehouse of His will that this Book is. And it’s an acronym; a little tool I’ll give you. It’s the acronym “space”, s-p-a-c-e. And as you’re reading and meditating on the Scripture this little tool can help you to unpack some of the will of God. “S” stands for a sin to confess. As we’re reading and meditating on the scripture we ask, “Is there a sin to confess that I need to deal with?” And we’re mulling that over and thinking about that. “P” stands for, “is there a promise to grasp?” Is there some promise that God wants me to get a grip on? “A” stands for, “is there an attitude that I need to change?” Bruce, your attitude stinks when you’re looking for cars. Is there a command I need to obey? And then “E” stand for, “is there an example that I need to follow? So “space” will be a tool to help us delve into this vast storehouse of His will. A sin to confess, a promise to grasp, an attitude to change, a command to obey and an example to follow.
And I’m going to put you to work right away. I’m going to give you a passage of scripture that you can take that little tool, even in the next few days, and you can apply it. I want you to write down the passage 1 Peter, chapter 3 verses 8 to 12. And I want you to read that and I want you to meditate on that. And if you’ll use this little tool of “space”, I can guarantee you God will communicate something to you about His desired will for your life. Now, some of you are thinking, “Okay, that’s a great beginning, but you know, I really just still don’t know if I’m going to move, I don’t know which job I’m supposed to take, I still don’t know who I’m supposed to marry.” Well, remember, we’re setting a foundation here. The first vital pillar of that is the Living Book. We’re going to talk about some of those other issues, but we cannot miss the foundation. We get a grip on the will of God by searching the scriptures.
Let’s pray together. Father, we thank you for just the refreshing time it is to be together as believers in Jesus Christ after we’ve been on a little vacation from all of that. And we thank you for this book. And Lord, I know, I know, I know I have under estimated how much of your will for my life is in this book. And I have to confess I have failed to be as consistent as I can be in reading and meditating on it. I pray, as you take us all through this process of better understanding how to get a grip on your will, we would pray that we would become men and women who read and meditate on the Word of God. Because in it is one of the primary ways that you tell us what your will is for our life. Change us through that process we pray, in Jesus name, amen.