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Finding the Will of God - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
January 6, 2024 12:00 am

Finding the Will of God - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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January 6, 2024 12:00 am

Why do we sometimes have trouble discerning God's will?


Welcome to this weekend's In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley. Today's lesson launches an in-depth study on the book of Colossians. Let's immerse in the foundational truths the early church embraced in the first century after Christ's resurrection. Well, you can't go back and change the past. Now, you can do something about it, but you can't change it. But I want you to remember this, the decisions you're making today are decisions that are going to determine where you're going to be tomorrow, five years from now, ten years from now, so that the decisions we make are very important. They may appear to only affect us at the moment, but the truth is they affect us tomorrow, and next week, and next month, and next year, and somewhere out yonder in the years to come. They're those decisions that we make.

We wish we had made them differently. Well, what I want to talk about in this first message here in this series is finding the will of God. How do I know in making this decision that I'm doing the right thing? And so I want you to turn, if you will, to Colossians chapter 1, and I want to simply read one verse. And Paul said something similar to this in a number of the epistles that he wrote, and he said it very clearly, very simply, very authoritatively, very assuredly, and very certainly. He said in Colossians chapter 1, verse 1, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren Christ through at Colossae, grace to you and peace from God our Father. Paul says he is an apostle by the will of God.

Now, in this particular book, in this particular beginning, he's not trying to prove something. He's simply stating a truth, a conviction on his part that he is an apostle by the will of God. Now, when the Bible speaks about the will of God, what is he referring to? He's really talking about the purpose of God or the desire of God or the plan of God. We say, what is the will of God for his life? We're saying, what is God's plan? What is God's desire for that person's life? We ask, what is the will of God at this moment in this decision? What we're asking for is, Lord, what are you thinking about this? What do you desire?

What do you want us to do? So the truth is that God does have a will in all of our lives. Now, when we talk about what areas of our life the will of God covers, let me give you some big, broad, general areas.

Then let's bring it down to home. For example, the Bible says in the pattern prayer that Jesus gave us that we're to pray, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God has a will for his kingdom here on earth and in heaven. The Bible talks about the church, that God's purpose is that we might be presented to him spotless. So the Lord has a will for his whole church body. Likewise, God has a will for our individual lives. And if you recall that Paul said about his own conversion, he said that God chose him from his mother's womb to preach the gospel. So that God has a will for his kingdom, God has a will for his church, God has a will for us individually. Now, let's eliminate the ridiculous. For example, when you get up in the morning, should you ask God whether you wear brown socks or black socks?

No. And if I said to you that God has no will about what you wear, no, that's not true. Because I believe he intends for us to be modest in whatever we do. And therefore, we are to be conscious of the fact that we are representatives of Jesus Christ.

So it does make a difference. Now, there's some things that are not moral issues. And so if you decide to go to this grocery store or that grocery store to buy this kind of bread or that kind of bread, this kind of milk or that kind of milk, I don't think God's up in heaven checking that off. But now on Monday morning, tomorrow morning, you go to work and your boss says to you, I hate to have to tell you this, we're going to lay off some folks and you're number three on the list.

So Friday's your last day. Well, does God say, well, it's up to you. It's your thing. You know, I got you going.

That's up to you to figure all this out. No, God is intricately involved in and interested in every aspect of our life. I want to tell you something. If God wrote it in this book, your name, dear you, your name is here. This is God's instruction book. This is God's book of of directions, how we live our life.

Every instrument built has some kind of instructions to go with it to tell you how to operate it. God has given us the Bible as the instruction book as to how to operate in this life in order to have a right relationship with him, a right relationship with other people and be in a position to grow up in the Lord and be blessed to the maximum of our potential. Now, when you don't read the instruction book, you waste your life and you miss that on God's blessings for not seeking his will and his mind. Now, there's some things, as I say, we don't have to ask the Lord about it all.

We know exactly what to do. Now, some people, they just simply want God to confirm what they're doing. They're not asking the Lord to show them direction of their life. They just want somebody to confirm what they've already done, because they've already made up their mind either what they're going to do or they've already done it. So what they're asking for is some kind of justification and some kind of confirmation.

They're not seeking any illumination from God. Lord, show me the next step in my life. There's only one person who's got all the facts. There's only one person who knows all the truth about your situation, no matter what it is. And that one person has committed himself to giving us direction and guidance in our life no matter what the situation is. He has committed to showing us what to do.

Now, you think about this. Do you realize that God has made a commitment to little old you and me to tell us exactly what we need to know? We're trying to make wise decisions. God doesn't want you making foolish decisions. Read the book of Proverbs.

Wisdom, wisdom, wisdom, wisdom, wisdom, wisdom, wisdom. Because He wants us to make wise decisions. Now, parents, listen.

You have an eleven-year-old daughter, sweet, wonderful little gal, and you have a fourteen-year-old son. Do you want them to make right decisions? Sure. Do you say to them, well, now, it's up to you, you know, we brought you into the world and it's up to you. You do your thing. You make up your own mind.

No wise parent's going to say that. You're going to be in on their decision-making. You want to know what they're doing. You're there to warn them about oncoming dangers in their life. And you see that if they make this decision, they're going to be headed for trouble.

They're going to make a terrible mistake. And so what do you do? You guide them, and what you want your children to do is to be wise enough to seek your godly counsel before they make some decisions. And that's why parents need to be open, sensitive, listening, giving time so that those kids will come and say, Dad, I really don't know what to do at this point.

Now, you think about this. Here's the way Jesus put it. He says, if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him? If you and I make ourselves available to give godly guidance to our kids, how much more is God interested, intricately involved in directing and guiding our whole decision-making process? Decisions in your life that matter, who you're going to marry, what you're doing in your vocation, how you're going to spend or invest your time, what you're going to do with your money, what about your relationships to your family and other relationships, all of these things.

What about your retirement? And let's get this straight in the very beginning. Remember this. We don't belong to us. We belong to God. He says you're not your own, bought with a price. We don't have any rights.

So let's settle this right now. The truth is you and I as believers do not have a right to make up our mind what we're going to do and how we're going to do it independently of the will, the purpose, the plan and the desire of God. You forsook that right the moment you said, I receive the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior. Because in that moment, He became the Lord of your life. Whether you acknowledged it or not, whether you understood it or not, He was in charge and in full possession of all that you are.

So when you say, well, I'm going to make up my own mind, well, my friend, you're acting in rebellion. God has a will for your life. And in those major decisions in your life, God has, He has His will, His plan.

And if we are wise, we're going to seek that. So with all that in mind, how does God really show us His will for our life? What does He do? How does He go about it? Well, let me give you five words if you'll jot these down. Not anything that you don't know, but to refresh your own memory and maybe somebody out there who does not know. Well, how do I know when I have the Lord's will?

How do I go about this? First of all, meditating upon the Word of God, the Scriptures, the Word of God. Now think about what He says. The Bible says about itself, God said it, the entrance of Thy Word giveth light. It illuminates me. That is, it gives me understanding of the ways and the will and the purpose of God. The entrance of Thy Word giveth light. Thy Word is a lamp under my feet and a light under my path directing me, showing me which way to go. So that God has given to us in His Word, cautions given to us in His Word, these admonitions that through the Word of God, searching the Word of God, asking God to speak to our heart through these different ways, that God will work in such a way that He will give us understanding as to what His will is.

For example, He says again in Psalm 119, He says, Thy statutes act as counselors to me. That is, God counsels us through His Word. When you are walking in the Spirit, which means that as best you know your heart, by an act of your will, you have brought every area of your life in submission to the will of God, in submission of the Holy Spirit, you're walking in the Spirit. It is natural and normal for a person who is walking in the Spirit to know the will of God. And you see, if you and I will bring every area of our life in submission of the Holy Spirit, we'll make a lot of decisions quickly.

We'll know instantly what to do because we are walking in the Spirit. And the Bible says we have the mind of Christ. Last verse of 1 Corinthians chapter 2, He says we have the mind of Christ. Now, having the mind of Christ and being able to discern the mind of Christ and appropriate that is different. If I have sinned in my life, disobedience in my life, I won't be able to discern the mind of Christ about a lot of things. If I'm walking in the Spirit, everything in submission of the Holy Spirit, it'll be natural and normal for the Spirit of God to give natural, normal direction so that it is just natural and normal for us to make the right decision.

But that's not where a lot of folks are. Secondly, then there are those major decisions when suddenly we're confronted with several alternatives that we don't know instantly what to do and major decisions that sometimes it'll take a little while. But first of all, we get in the Word of God. Secondly, it's a matter of prayer.

You can't separate these two. We're talking about prayerfully being in the Word of God. Now, listen, the only way for me to know the mind of God is to find out what the mind of God says. Where do I find the mind of God? To find the mind of God and the Word of God. This is the mind of God put in print so folks like us can understand how God thinks. Now, as you and I open the Scriptures and we begin to read the Word of God and we do what he says, he says we're to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all of these things are going to be added to us.

Ask and it shall be given you. This is the confidence that we have in him that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know he hears us, we know that we have the petition that we desired of him. It is his will for me to know his will.

Therefore, if I ask him to show me his will, I'm sure I'm going to receive it. So it is praying, God, I want to know what to do at this point in my life. In the Word of God, feasting upon the Word of God, and here's what happens. Here's a mind that is a little muddled and does not know what to do. And so that mind begins to absorb the Word of God. What happens when that mind absorbs the Word of God is this. The Word of God begins to sift into that person's thinking.

It begins to sift out and identify areas that are not important. That is, on the basis of the decision you're about to make and you'll think, oh, my goodness, what will they think? God will show you what they think is not important.

Well, Lord, suppose this happens and God will show you what that's not even important. So the Word of God absorbed into your thinking sifts out and purifies and clears up your thinking process so you're able to think like God. That's why He says, the entrance of Thy Word giveth light. Thy Word is a light under my path and a lamp under my feet. Now, but thirdly, not only in the Word, not only on our knees praying or praying, but also in our circumstances.

Now, you can't always go by your circumstances, but sometimes God will use circumstances. That is, here's a fellow and he is looking for an opportunity. And here are three good opportunities. And he says, Lord, I'm available to your will. Whatever you want is what I want. I want you to show me your way.

Within three or four days, two opportunities close. And he has the perfect peace in his heart. Here's what God wants me to do. The circumstances aided him or her in making that decision. Then there's a fourth thing and that is others. That is, sometimes God will give us very wise counsel through others. Now, if that were not true, He would not have said in the book of Proverbs, for example, that there is wisdom in many counselors. But it's interesting that he also says in another verse, don't believe all the counselors. You want to be sure that you're getting wise, godly counsel. Now, before you seek somebody's counsel or you listen to someone's counsel, first of all, you want to look at their life. Is that person living a life of obedience to God? Is their lifestyle one of submission to the will of God?

Are they just doing their thing here and yonder? Oh, man, you ought to do what you want to do. And sometimes you'll get counsel from people who love their own acceptance, and they don't miss this, who love their own acceptance more than they do you. And so they're going to tell you what they think you want to hear because so you will like them. Now, a godly counselor is going to tell you the truth, whether you like it or not.

If somebody loves you, they're going to be honest and open and truthful with you. So counselors are God's ways of giving us direction. Number five, you can't leave Him out in any of these. That is the Holy Spirit. Now, look, if you will, in 1 Corinthians chapter 2, and there are lots of verses on all of these here. 1 Corinthians chapter 2, he says in verse 12 of 1 Corinthians chapter 2, and this is a verse you need to underline because it's a word of assurance to us in seeking direction. He says, verse 12, Now we have received not the Spirit of the world, little s, but the Spirit, capital S, the Holy Spirit, who is from God that we, listen, he says this is the reason now that we might know the things freely given to us by God. He says now one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to show you the truth. Remember what Jesus said in the upper room? He says the Holy Spirit is coming.

He will guide you into all truth. Look in Romans chapter 8. You know what verse 28 says. Most of you know what verse 26 says. Another good word of encouragement when we are trying to find out what he wants us to do. Verse 26, listen, he says, And in the same way, the Spirit, that is the Holy Spirit, also helps our weakness.

Now, we have lots of different kinds of weaknesses, one of them at times. For some people not knowing how to discern the will of God. What do I do at this point, Lord? In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words in order that we might know what God is saying. Now, listen, there will be times when all of a sudden we are faced with a decision and we're walking in the Spirit. We know the mind of Christ. In that moment, in that major decision, we are not certain as to what to do.

Which way to turn at this time? He says the Spirit of the living God has as one of his prescribed designated divine responsibilities, is that living within you to unfold and unveil for you by interceding in your behalf with God the Father, to show you what is the mind of Christ in that given issue. That's the work of the Holy Spirit. To unveil for you so that you will know what to do. Now, if you'll notice that I've mentioned five things. The Word of God, prayer, others, counselors, and the Holy Spirit.

Guess what I didn't mention? Feelings. Because, my friend, you can't trust them. Do you know that if I want to do something badly enough, I mean, I really want to do it badly enough.

I really want to make this decision to suit me. I can manipulate and finagle and reason around to finally I can get myself the feeling, well, that's all right. And that does not say you're not going to have any feelings. And it's not to say that when the Holy Spirit confirms the will of God in your life that there won't be some feeling. The Spirit of God is going to give you a sense of confidence, of assurance. This is the will of God.

But it isn't some feeling you get. It is the witness of the Holy Spirit, the testimony of the Holy Spirit to your spirit. This is the will of God. Now, when something is a violation of the Word of God, forget it. You may be able to convince some people it's the will of God. But what you have to ask is, does it coincide with Scripture? Thank you for listening to Finding the Will of God. For more inspirational messages like this, visit our online 24-7 station. And if you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-06 03:12:46 / 2024-01-06 03:21:09 / 8

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