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FINDING GOD'S WILL

What is God's will for your life?  Does God have a perfect will for us?  Are we in danger of missing God's perfect will for our lives?  Do we have any freedom within God's plan for us to make our own individual choices or must we seek in every decision to find God's perfect will for us in that decision?  In this study we will seek to understand what the Bible has to say about how we are to find God's will for our lives.  We will be looking at three aspects of God's will for us: (1) God's sovereign will; (2) God's moral will for all people; and (3) God's individual will for our lives.

GOD'S SOVEREIGN WILL

1. God has a predetermined plan and all that happens is God's will (Dan 4:35;     Ps 139:16; Rom 9:19; Eph 1:11)
2. God's sovereign will is not always made known to us (Rom 11:33,34; Deut     29:29): It was not revealed immediately to Job why he suffered; though it     has been revealed to us.  Through prophecy God has revealed His will to us.      There is, however, still much about God's plans and purposes that have not     been revealed to us.
3. It is okay for us to make our plans (Proverbs 20:18; 11:14); but God is charge     of what will happen to us (James 4:13-16; Prov 16:9).

GOD'S MORAL WILL FOR US

1. Though God's sovereign will is often secret, He wants us to know 100% of His     moral will.  It is found in the Bible (Ps 119:105; I Thess 4:1,3, 5:16-18; I Pet     2:15, 4:1,2)
2. God desires that we know His moral will for us (Col 1:9,10; Rom 12:1,2; Eph     5:17,18; Hebr 13:20,21)
3. When we walk in the Spirit we have the desire to do His will (Gal 5:17; Rom     8:5).

GOD'S INDIVIDUAL WILL FOR OUR LIVES - TWO VIEWS

VIEW#1:  SEEKING GOD'S PERFECT WILL FOR OUR LIVES
     Description: God has a perfect plan for each of our lives and it is up to each of us to find out what it is.  He, therefore, has a chosen mate for each person (or no mate), a chosen vocation, a chosen ministry, and even a chosen plan for each day.  We must learn to be able to read God's signs, so that we will not miss His leading and will be able to determine His plan for us.  We must become like a skilled pilot who is able to read the lights in a city, and know which are the lights leading to the runway and which are not.

           Preliminary steps: (1) Surrender (self-emptying) (Rom 12:1,2); (2)              Separation from the world (I Jn 2:15-17); (3) Spiritual mindedness            (Matt 6:6); and (4) Time (so we can mature in our communion with            God). 
           The guiding signs: (1) The Word of God; (2) The witness of the                      Spirit (Rom 8:14-16; Acts 13:1,2); (3) Providence (Ruth 2:3); (4) Open              doors (I Cor 16:9); (5) Peace (Col 3:15); (6) Our desires (Ps 37:4);              (7) Mature counsel (Prov 20:18); (8) God speaking to us through              impressions (I Kings 19:12) (9) Common sense (Tit 1:5); and (10)              Special guidance (Acts 8:26)

     Arguments: (1) God will guide us through each day, as a father daily guides his child.  (2) There are many biblical examples of God guiding His people toward His perfect plan: Jeremiah (Jer 1:5), Jonah (Jonah 1:2), David (I Sam 13:14); Paul (Acts 9:15).  (3) The Bible teaches that God has a plan for our lives (Ps 139:16).
     Problems: (1) What happens if the perfect mate for you marries someone else?  (2) Can someone ever be 100% sure about God's perfect will for his or her life?  (3) Most everyone abandons trying to find God's perfect will in the smaller decisions. (4) The perfect will of God in Romans 12:1,2 is God's moral will for us.  (5) The immature Christian is too unwise in God's ways to find God's perfect will.  (6) The Bible does not say that we are to be led by peace or a lack of peace.  (7) How can we know that our subjective impressions are God leading us?  (8) Even Paul was not guided by supernatural guidance from God all of the time (Acts 15:36, 20:16; Rom 1:13; I Cor 16:6).  (9) A good father gives his children more freedom to make decisions as they grow older (Gal 3:24).  (10) God's clear guidance in the Bible was given through miracles: visions (Acts 18:9), angels (Acts 8:26), audible voices (Acts 8:29).

VIEW #2: THE WAY OF WISDOM: HOW DO WE MAKE GOOD DECISIONS?
     Description: Just as God gave Adam and Eve the freedom to eat any fruit in the garden except the forbidden fruit, God gives us freedom to make our own decisions, as long as we do not do that which is forbidden by Him.  In moral decisions, we are to obey God's biblically revealed will.  In non-moral areas, we are free to seek after the wisest decisions.  We are to humbly acknowledge that God is working behind the scenes to accomplish His purposes.
     Arguments: (1) God desires to give us wisdom about His ways (James 1:5; Proverbs), but he does not promise to explain everything.  Job was not told why He was going through trials.  (2) God gives us a desire to be holy (Rom 8:5; Phil 2:13), but the Bible does not say that He guides us in other ways by our desires.  (3) Open doors are opportunities for ministry (I Cor 16:9; II Cor 2:12,13).  (4) Our emotions are to be a response to God's truth, not way to determine reality.  (5) We are to walk by faith (II Cor 5:7).  (6) Paul did not get direct supernatural guidance for every decision (Philemon 15,16).  (7) We have in the Bible all we need to make good decisions (II Tim 3:16,17)
     Problems: (1) God closed a door in Acts 16:6-10.  (2) God guided Abraham's servant to the wife of God's choice (Gen 24:12-14).  (3) It seems Deistic - that God is not intimately involved in our lives.  (4) It exchanges present tense direction for past tense revelation.  (5) God lead Israel on a day-by-day basis (the pillar of fire).

ASSIGNMENT: Which view does the Bible support?

RESOURCES: DECISION MAKING & THE WILL OF GOD by Friesen; THE PERFECT WILL OF GOD by Weiss; THE MYSTERY OF GOD'S WILL by Charles Swindoll; KNOWING GOD'S WILL AND DOING IT by Grant Howard