Ephesians 5:17- Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. NKJV
Searching for God’s will is not always easy, but there are some things that we can do to be able to hear from God and understand what His will is for our individual lives. As I have already stated, some predetermined things are His thélēma for our lives; however, He has specific plans for each of us. That puts me in mind of one of my favorite scriptures:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV
Yes! God knows those plans, and it is up to us to seek Him and discover them. Prayer is most definitely a vehicle in which we seek the plan of God for our lives, but today’s blog is on how to understand how God shares His will for our lives.
When Joseph discovered that Mary was carrying a baby that wasn’t his, he decided to divorce her privately. However, that was not God’s will for his or her life. So God shared His will for Joseph’s life through a dream.
But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”Matthew 1:20-21 NKJV
Joseph’s will was a divorce because it didn’t make sense to him that a woman could be telling the truth about being pregnant without being with a man. But God’s will was that Joseph and Mary have earthly responsible for Jesus; therefore, He made His will known to Joseph through a dream. The wise men had a similar experience. After they visited with Joseph and Mary, they had purposed to revisit Herod to tell him where the King was. However, in a dream, God told them that wasn’t the plan that He had. (See Matthew 2:12)
Dreams are throughout the pages of the Bible and are a wonderful way to hear the will of God. However, we need to exercise caution with dreams, making sure that they line up with God’s word. Sometimes, we need to bounce them off of others we respect in the faith to ensure that we are indeed hearing from God.
Another way to discover God’s will for our lives is through a vision. A vision differs from a dream in that you are awake when you experience the vision and asleep when you have a dream. Ananias had a vision when the Lord wanted him to go to witness to Saul. Saul persecuted the believers and was headed to Damascus to continue his attacks on them, so they were not trying to befriend Saul. Therefore, the Lord knew that Ananias would need extra encouragement to visit Saul.
Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”Acts 9:10 NKJV
He had already called Saul to be one of His apostles, and He needed Saul to understand what the gospel message was really about. It was His will that Ananias would personally minister to Saul, and He spoke to him in a vision, giving clear directions and assurances to Ananias. I’m sure we would all love to experience a vision to hear His will for our lives.
When God’s will to bring the Gentiles into the fold was ready to manifest, He had to get Peter’s attention in an undeniable fashion. So in a vision, He spoke to Peter about not calling things unclean which He had cleaned. It was His will that Peter would personally go to the home of Cornelius, a Gentile, to share the gospel with him.
While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”Acts 10:19-20 NKJV
Have you ever heard of a man’s man? Well, Peter was a Jew’s Jew! Talking to the Gentiles, fellowshipping and eating with them, and embracing them into the kingdom would not have crossed his mind. But it crossed God’s mind because it was His will for Cornelius, for all Gentiles, and He purposed to use Peter to open the door.
Another way to know God’s will for our individual lives is through His written word. David wrote:
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.Psalm 119:105 NKJV
How does this even work? Aren’t we all reading the word? I remember my husband sharing with me how he knew I was to be his wife. He said he was reading about Samson in the Bible, and he ran across this verse:
Then his father and mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” And Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for [she pleases me well.”Judges 14:3 NKJV
As he was reading this verse, my name flashed across his mind, and he believed that God was telling him that we would marry and I would please him well. We had only met once before in an airport in Sicily and had only spoken on the phone once afterward while I was stationed in Italy, and he was waiting on a friend in Turkey. That took faith! But God made it happen when he couldn’t see how it ever would.
Another way the will of God has been made known is through the leading of the Spirit of God. Jesus had to experience the wilderness. The devil wasn’t responsible for Him going into the wilderness; the Spirit of God was ( Matthew 4).
When Saul and Barnabas partnered together, it was because the Spirit of God put them together.
As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”Acts 13:2 NKJV
And at a later time, the Holy Spirit forbade them to preach in certain places:
Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.Acts 16:6-7 NKJV
They desired to preach in Asia, but the Spirit said no because it wasn’t God’s will for them. They wanted to preach in Bithynia, but again the Spirit of God said no. Many people have experienced God’s direction through the nudgings of the Holy Spirit and have been grateful.
What I am trying to share with you is that there are many different ways that God reveals His will to us. But none of them will be contrary to His word. What I mean by that is that it was God’s will for Saul to preach, just not in Asia. That was obviously someone else’s field of ministry.
If you say that God’s will for your life is to be married to a leader in your church and that leader is married, then I can assure you that God isn’t speaking to you. That spirit is not of God because it would be contrary to His word regarding marriage, divorce, and coveting. If you tell me that God wills for you to remain at home and watch any pastor you want on live stream because you can get a more rounded teaching from the word, I would say that is in violation of His word that encourages us to assemble with one another and to be a part of a local church.
Anyway, I hope this helps you to realize that God the Creator is creative, and He uses any means necessary to make His will known to us. Don’t waste another year wondering what His will for your life is. Get busy praying and reading the Bible to discover His will for you! Love you! Wonderful Jesus!!