Updated: Sep 9
Does God have a plan for your life?
This set of teachings is a modified version of a course delivered by Pastor Paul Meiklejohn assisted by Charles Green as part of a 'Digging Deeper' module. Any changes and amendments have been made exclusively by the second author.
Almost every Christian would like to know what the will of God is for their lives. What is the will of God? Does he have a specific plan and if so, how do we go about finding out what it is? It can be frustrating when we don’t have a clear sense of direction. God spoke to Moses through the burning bush, to Gideon through a damp fleece, and to Paul with a big burst of light. However, it would be fair to say that these are atypical methods of God talking to people.
Proverbs 3:6 "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
Psalm 37:23 "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord...."
Isaiah 30:2 "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left."
From the above three scriptures, we can see that God's word clearly is saying that God will help us find his direction, but how does he do it?
Defining the ‘Will of God’.
Do we mean the ‘will of God’ or the ‘will of God for my life’? There is an important difference, the former is God-centric and the other is self-centric. When we talk about the will of God for my life, then we become the subject of the enquiry and the focus is on ourselves rather than God. When we talk about the true will of God then he becomes the primary subject and we become consequential. This is a vital aspect in the study of God’s will; his will needs to overshadow our lives. If our lives are the subject of the study, then it’s necessary for God’s will to ‘fit around our lives’ and not the other way around. Keeping God central is paramount if we are to discover and do God’s will.
So, we start with God, not us. If you are making decisions based primarily on what makes "me" happy, then you have your priorities backwards and you will stumble at every turn. We are first and foremost studying ‘God’s will.’ Matthew 10:39, "If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me" (The Message).
Motivation is also an important aspect to our study. Many people want to find the will of God so that they can decide whether or not to do it! God will not reveal his will to people who are undecided as to be part of it, he only reveals his will to those who have already committed themselves to doing his will. If our motivation to finding God’s will is merely for information’s sake, then God will not answer our enquiry.
James 4:2-3 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
1 John 3:22 We have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
What is your motivation for finding out God's specific will for your life?
Next time in Part 2 we consider the need for relationship when we try to discover God's will for our lives.