The other day I was walking downtown with a friend and I saw the above license plate on the front of a car. As I began to digest the phrase, “If it is God’s will, I will”, I started to ask myself the question, “How do I really know if something is God’s will?”
Lots of decisions are made under the auspice of “God’s will”. Sometimes I wonder if people are really discerning the will of God or just experiencing a case of really bad gas…After all, wars are started, marriages are dissolved, debt is accrued, lives are taken, and so many other poor choices are made, all under the guise of “God’s will”.
When someone says, “This is God’s will for my life!”, it’s a very bold statement. In essence they are saying, “God has spoken to me and I know for sure what He wants me to do!” But, sometimes our wires get crossed; somewhere between God’s mouth and our ears, the message gets distorted.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you just knew God called you to do something, but it didn’t pan out quite the way you thought it would? I have. So, how does this happen and how can it be prevented? Unfortunately, I don’t have all the answers. But, here are a few things that I’ve learned along the way to help me as I wrestle through life’s many choices:
- Don’t just take the advice of your biggest cheerleaders. Seek the counsel of those who are further along in life’s journey than you are.
- If you want to arrive at a particular destination in life, don’t take detours that keep you from getting there. However, if you do take a detour, remember that God can still use that experience to shape you.
- Don’t make decisions impulsively. Always allow a period of germination in order to reflect and examine all of the options. Beware of people who want to coerce you into making quick decisions; their future is not at stake, yours is!
- God’s truths do not change. If something doesn’t line-up with Scripture, or if it goes against the precepts of God, then it’s wrong. No matter how you try to justify it!
- If something is too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Be patient, be picky, and don’t settle.
- Beware of shortcuts. Live with the tension and work through the process.
- Be very careful about publicly declaring, “Thus saith the Lord.” God does not change, but plans often do.
- Remember, confusion is not of God, nor is fear.
- Pray. Pray. Pray. And then pray some more. Spend the majority of your time listening, NOT talking.
Often we view the will of God as if it’s the center line on a highway. But what if it’s not? What if it’s more like our interstate system? After all, you can serve God on one road just like you can on another. Maybe we limit ourselves, and in doing so, we limit God’s ability to use us…just a thought.
Discerning the will of God is not always easy, and sometimes the voice of God and the voice of the enemy can sound a lot alike. Therefore, it’s imperative that you take your time and don’t usurp the process. And finally, we are children of God which means that He wants the best for us. He wants us to succeed; by His definition of success, not our own.