Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Will of God (Part Four)

How can we prepare for doing God’s will? Consider the following three characteristics:
Be ready to stretch—God’s plan for us is bigger than our plan. Someone once said, "God doesn’t give us challenges to match our strength; He gives us strength to match our challenges." God wants the best for us and He is willing to help us get it.
Be ready to dream—When God reveals His will for us, He doesn’t give us a blueprint, He gives us a sketch and we fill in many of the details. Our dream or vision needs to be consistent with God’s plan and purpose for our lives. We need to learn to visualize ourselves doing God’s will. Most significant actions are conceived before they are achieved.
Be ready to roll with the punches—We need to be flexible. Many rigid people frequently miss God’s will because they miss valuable opportunities for ministry. The way in which we react to success and failure will have a significant impact in the kind of people we become. We react to failure by not letting it get us down and we react to success by not letting it go to our head. Regardless of the circumstance, we should react in a manner that would please or glorify God.
What is spiritual discernment?
Discernment of sound judgment is the ability to perceive reality as it really is. The opposite is deception and/or delusion. Spiritual blindness is inevitable for all unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4) while believers have a discerning spirit given by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:12-14) In the Old Testament, Solomon asked for a discerning spirit to distinguish right from wrong. (1 Kings 3:9) The writer of Hebrews says that discernment results, in part, from consistently obeying God’s Word. (5:14)
What guiding lights has God given us in order to help us discern God’s will?
If we are on a river at night we must follow the guiding lights in order to stay in the main channel. Here are twelve guiding lights for knowing God’s will:
1. The Bible: what principles apply to our specific situation? How do they apply?
2. Prayer: be specific about your needs. (Distinguish needs from wants)
3. Godly Counsel: people who love us and have a good grasp of God’s Word.
4. Proper Motivation: Is our decision selfish or will it please God and encourage others?
5. Providential Circumstances: God gives the resources for what He calls us to do.
6. Inner Conviction: Involves a settled disposition by being persuaded by the facts.
7. Peace of Mind: Am I uneasy or anxious about a particular course of action?
8. Clear Conscience: Is our conscience clear toward God and others? (Acts 24:16)
9. Personal Desires: Rejoice in the Lord and He will give you your heart’s desire.
10. Common Sense: Wisdom involves common sense and sound judgment about how to live.
11. Anticipated Results: What are the likely consequences of a particular course of action?
12. Personal Experience: What lessons have we learned that might apply to this decision?
Our responsibility is to weigh the input we receive from these sources and arrive at a wise and godly decision. Our decision is only as good as our best option. Sometimes the best option may be to wait for more definitive information. Sometimes we may have to choose between the lesser of two evils.
What are some characteristics of spiritual discernment?
It is rooted in: the truth of God’s Word, objective reality (facts), as well as a sound evaluation of circumstances and experiences. The Spirit of God helps us understand to Word of God so we might know the will of God and become more like the Son of God. (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 3:18)

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