How can circumstances inform the will of God?
Circumstances and events will sometimes indicate God's direction for us. Paul wrote about such a circumstance in his life in 2 Corinthians 2:12, "Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord."
Sometimes God opens the opportunity for making something possible, but at other times the door is firmly closed to us. Finances, family, church, travel regulations, health, world events can all be factors that facilitate or hinder the choices that we make. God wants us to be aware of our surroundings and circumstances. The are not the primary means of God talking to us, but they are however, crucial factors as we weigh up all the information.
Phil. 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
1 Thes. 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
God has made us rational creatures (Gen 2:19-20). He has given us the ability to think, communicate, teach, and invent. We are intellectual beings with rational thought. This intellectual consciousness is what makes us unique. A number Christians believe that they have to stop thinking for themselves and let ‘God do their thinking for them’. God wants us to be down-to-earth common-sense people. Sadly common sense is not that common!
Prov. 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Prov. 19:8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul.
he who cherishes understanding prospers.
Does the proposed course of action glorify God?
We are God’s ambassadors, and our lives should be a living representation of his nature and character. All too often people convince themselves that what they are doing is in the will of God. Most often than not in these situations God is not being glorified, they individuals are merely doing what makes them happy or brings attention to them.
1 Cor. 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Processing God’s Will
God often reveals his will to us in two or three stages. Initially we may get a ‘sense of direction’ in our spirits. The next thing that we should do is to be praying over that matter to see of we ‘sense anything different’ (Luke 11:9-10 Ask, Seek and Knock). Often his word will bring further confirmation; perhaps a verse will standout and really grab our attention (Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet). Our friends and Christian leaders can be praying with us and advising us in the way we should be going.
This kind of ‘searching’ is often much more beneficial to those who are really serious about ‘seeking God’s will’, it’s deliberate, well thought through and immersed in prayer and bible study. The alternative to this is a ‘quick flash in the pan’ idea that people rush into without thinking through the consequences of their actions.
When God Doesn’t Speak?
God does not always speak to us in a direct manner. Christians often feel that they must be doing something wrong, because God is speaking to everybody else apart from them.
God primarily wants us to live a life of faith. It is a quiet confidence that God is wholly and completely in charge – He is sovereign.
Hab. 3:17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
If we had all the answers and knew God’s will with pin-point accuracy then there would be no place for faith, because faith is being certain of what we do not see…
Heb. 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Seeking is as important as finding God! Through the process of seeking, we are learning to wait upon him, to depend entirely on him and to trust in him.
The most crucial factor in this process of waiting is that we learn to live a life that pleases God (Eph 5:10).
Heb. 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
It help to remember that is God is always speaking to us through his creation, his word, and his Son. This may not always mean a specific word, but his always trying to communicate his wonder and his love to us.
People often wonder what they should while they are waiting for a specific word of instruction from the lord.
- Be faithful.
- Be patient.
- Be holy.
- Be joyful.
- Be consistent.
- Be available.
This series of teachings was originally delivered as part of a 'Digging deeper' course by Pastor Paul Meiklejohn assisted by Charles Green. Any modifications to the original text were performed by the latter.