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Six Steps in Finding God's Will



Chapter: 5.05
(Section 5: Finding the Elusive Will of God)
Copyright Michael Bronson 1997, 1999, and 2000

There are six basic steps in finding the elusive will of God. Following these six steps will not provide all of the answers you are looking for, but it will give you a good start.

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God does not usually show us His will by performing outward signs, such as a Gideon’s fleece. Rather, He usually speaks to us through His quiet inner voice. To hear this voice, we must tune our hearts to God’s heart. Our hearts are like soil that must be cultivated to be fertile and responsive.

I have six steps that will prepare your heart to be sensitive to God’s leading. Since cultivating your heart takes time, weeks or perhaps months, you may be performing many of the steps at the same time. Nevertheless, breaking down the process into six separate steps allows you to be able to visualize what’s needed. In summary, they are:

Step 1: Be obedient to what God has already shown you.

Step 2: Pray and continually seek God’s wisdom and guidance in everything you do.

Step 3: Rearrange your priorities so your primary motivation is to glorify God.

Step 4: Saturate yourself with the Word of God.

Step 5: Learn from the examples of others.

Step 6: Get involved in a variety of ministries.

Step 1: Be obedient to what God has already shown you.

The first thing we should do is become obedient to the obvious things, the things we know we should already be doing. These are the commonsense things clearly spelled out in the Bible. For example, we know we should not lie, cheat or steal. We cannot expect God to reveal more to us when we haven’t followed what He has already shown us.

Before God gives you direction in the "important" things, you must first be obedient with the small things he has already shown you. This is the area where most of us Christians fail. We don’t realize God has already revealed His desire for us in so many areas. If we are not obedient with the small tasks, how can we be trusted with the larger tasks?

Probably most Christians feel they are already obedient to the basic things God has shown them. Yet, in reality, many of us fall short. For example, do we always speak the truth or do we sometimes conveniently leave out vital information to mislead someone? Are we completely truthful when we fill out our tax returns? Do we report errors when mistakes have been made in our favor, such as being given too much change? Do we obey the laws of the land, such as speed limits? Do we tithe?

When we are at work, do we give our employers their money’s worth or do we take extended coffee breaks and make personal calls on company time? How do we treat our mates? Is the time and attention we give our family honoring to God or does our work or ministry command a higher priority? How is your thought life?

The list could go on and on, but I think you get the point. We must be faithful with what we already have. Obviously, because of our fallen nature, being perfect in these areas is an impossibility. Yet, to the extent we are faithful to what He has shown us, He will reveal more of His will.

Step 2: Pray and continually seek God’s wisdom and guidance in everything you do.

It has been said, "A Christian is no greater than his prayer life." We should continually pray and ask God to bless and energize each area of our ministry. We must commit all rights and control to God with every issue we encounter. Besides asking God for His power, we should continually ask God to give us wisdom and guidance in everything we do.

Many people make the mistake of thinking since God already knows my needs, He will automatically meet them. As I mentioned in earlier chapters, this couldn’t be further from the truth. God wants you to continually come to Him and be specific about all your needs.

An example of this is George Mueller’s orphanage. Although he had a deep love and concern for orphans, the main reason he started the orphanage was to show the world God still performs miracles that rival the miracles of the Bible. The orphanage was to be a showcase of God’s power. Therefore, he felt led of God to live financially one day at a time. When money came in above and beyond his current needs, he sent it on to missionaries. To ensure God would receive all of the credit and glory, he made it a policy to never ask for money or even tell others of his needs.

As Mueller prayed for the material needs of the orphanage, the supplies miraculously came in. Now, it was time to open the orphanage. To his surprise and frustration, no one showed up. He was deeply depressed. That night, as he and his wife talked, they realized a startling fact. They had not specifically prayed for orphans. They prayed for everything else, but they had assumed God would bring the children.

They prayed for orphans that night and the next day there was a line of people with orphans to drop off. Many of them had stories about how they had planned on coming the previous day, but were detained. We should never assume God will meet a need simply because He’s aware of it. You must do your part and ask God to meet it.

In every project you undertake you should continually seek God’s wisdom and guidance. The story of the nation of Israel in verse Joshua 9:1-18 emphasizes the importance of this. Israel had just entered the Promised Land and was enjoying tremendous victory. God had promised them victory as long as they remained obedient.

God had told Israel to destroy every nation within a certain set of boundaries, and many of the targeted nations were concerned. The people of Gibeon knew they were going to be destroyed, so they embarked on a plan to trick Israel into making a peace treaty with them. Their plan was to make Israel think that they were from a distant country and were not one of the targeted nations.

They rode up to Joshua in old, worn-out clothing. Their provisions included worn out sacks and stale, moldy bread. Without consulting the Lord, Joshua concluded they were not one of the targeted nations and made a peace treaty with them. Within a few days Israel found out they had been deceived. But, it was too late. A treaty had been made and they were not permitted to destroy this nation. As a result of Joshua’s error, this nation was a continual thorn in Israel’s side. In verse 14 the Bible specifically makes it a point to say, "The men of Israel sampled their provisions but they did not inquire of the Lord."

After the death of Moses, God made it clear He would lead the nation of Israel through Joshua. Although this godly man had a close walk with God and was privileged to information not available to others, he still was required to seek the Lord’s direction before making a decision. Joshua was careless and it cost Israel greatly.

It is easy to become careless and overconfident. The story of Balaam’s talking donkey (Num. 22:20-35) provides a sound warning about being careless. In this story, Balaam was instructed by God to meet Balak. On three occasions during Balaam’s journey, the Angel of the Lord stood in the pathway to kill Balaam. Each time his donkey took evasive action to stay out of harm’s way. On the third occasion Balaam became so angry he started to beat the donkey. This is when the donkey began to speak.

After the conversation with the donkey, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Balaam and informed him the donkey saved his life. God told Balaam in verse 32 that He was going to kill him because he was being "reckless." We have no idea what Balaam did to make God so angry. It is obvious there is more to this story than what was recorded in the Bible. However, we do know Balaam was on his way to do some work for God when he was chastised for being reckless. As we set out to do God’s work, we too should take care not to be reckless.

I try to make it a point at the beginning of each day to ask God to provide me with wisdom and guidance for everything I will encounter throughout the day. During the day, when I am faced with a new issue or concern, I ask God for wisdom and direction. Although I don’t seek God’s wisdom for everything I do, such as, "What gas pump should I use?" I try to cultivate my heart so it will be open to His leading even on small "insignificant" things.

Step 3: Rearrange your priorities so your primary motivation is to glorify God.

God created us for the purpose of bringing glory to Himself. Our primary goal and focus should be to bring Him glory. Everything we do should center around this. Even "important" things such as witnessing and world evangelism should not be our primary motivation. As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, it is much better to do God’s will than to do God’s work.

Step 4: Saturate yourself with the Word of God.

There is no better way of knowing what’s important to God than by reading His Word. The Bible clearly states God’s position on a large number of issues and a systematic Bible study will reveal many of these to you. However, there are still many other areas that the Bible does not address directly. To understand God’s will in these areas, you must have a good understanding of the whole Bible. A good way to do this is to continually listen to the Bible on tape.

Our spiritual walk is like a wheel that must be perfectly balanced. As the wheel is centered on the axle, our focal point should be centered on bringing glory to God. If our desire is to glorify God, then many of our priorities will automatically align themselves properly.

Picture a wheel on an old cowboy wagon. The hub keeps the wheel centered on the axle. The stronger the hub the greater pressure the wheel can withstand and still be correctly centered. The "hub" in our spiritual wheel is the Word of God. The more we saturate ourselves with the Word of God, the better we can stay centered.

Step 5: Learn from the examples of others

The Bible tells us in verse 1 Cor. 10:1-11 we are to learn from the lives of the people in the Bible. Study their lives and see how God directed them. Learn from their mistakes and victories. The lives of believers who lived after the Bible was written can also be a rich source of examples. Think of these people as great teachers who will enlighten you in their area of expertise. Remember, of course, anything in their lives that contradicts the Bible should not be followed.

Step 6: Get involved in a variety of ministries

Exposing yourself to other ministries not only increases your spiritual vision, but it also gives God the opportunity to open and close doors. If you look at the lives of powerful Christians, you’ll find many of them got their start by "temporarily" helping out in a ministry which later became their life work.

Even when you have found the ministry that you feel God is leading you into, you should still get involved in other ministries. This will help keep you fresh and will continually expand your spiritual vision. Some suggest a good mix would be to spend 90% of your time and energy on your primary ministry and 10% on other ministries.


Other Chapters in this Section

God's "Will" vs. God's "Work"
The Lord's Leading
The Many Faces of Motivation
Finding the Elusive Will of God
Six Steps in Finding God's Will
Stories of Great Christians
Time Line of Great Christians
God's Invisible Hand
The Answer Might be found in the Darkness
A Death of a Vision
He Only Asks for Obedience
Decoy to the Real Thing
God Working Behind the Scenes

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