Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Will of God

Our family is in a holding pattern of sorts and to be honest, it has been a struggle for me to keep my emotions in check at all times.  Often I have to remind myself to just look to Jesus and then force myself to do so, because things just aren't happening the way that I would like them to and on my time table!

I wanted to write something but what I was working on just wouldn't come together. It doesn't help that I am terribly homesick.  This happens about this time every year, no matter how much I try to fight it.  I love New England, it is my home and I miss it the most in the fall.  I'll get over it - I always do!   Anyhow, I thought I'd revive the entry below because if nobody else needs to read it, I do. 

ETA (9/16):  God is always right on time :)  I am sitting outside, on a lovely fall day!  It is 57* and breezy.  Just what the Great Physician ordered!
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(originally written 7/15/10)
It's kind of funny. Every week I pray and ask the Lord if just maybe this week, He'd let me post something a little lighthearted. Every week, He gives me something different from what I'd like to post! Such is the case this week as well, as the Lord has put on my heart to talk about following His will.

I had a friend ask me earlier this week how she could know if something was God's will or her emotions. I can certainly relate. Over the past thirteen years, there have been many occasions where I have asked myself the very same question! Being a pastor's wife (and I'm sure a missionary or evangelist's wife too) is not easy. Just being a godly wife takes consistent pursuit of God's will and a close walk with the Savior.

I'm going to share with you a few things that came to mind while attempting to answer my friend's question. Let me first share with you what the will of God is NOT.

The will of God is NOT:

  • based on feelings or emotions. There are many things that tug on my heartstrings. A good Hallmark commercial could bring me to tears. My middle daughter cannot stand to see an ad for the Humane Society - it breaks her tender little heart. Our emotions are fickle. How well do we each know that depending on the date on the calendar, we could very well weep over something so insignificant that at other times of the month we would laugh over! Emotions cannot be trusted. Determining the will of God cannot be based on how we feel, because feelings change.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:  
who can know it? 
Jeremiah 17:9
  • based on circumstances. I mentioned several posts back that we lost a baby earlier this year - one that we'd prayed more than seven years for. When I first found out I was pregnant, a well-meaning friend said, "well, it would be hard to think you weren't in the will of God with how He's been blessing you!" The statement was made in a moment of excitement but the point is that if God's will were based on His blessings, what was I to think when He took the baby away? No, God's will cannot be based on circumstances, whether blessings or trials.
Was not Job in God's will? What about Joseph? Daniel? That is why Romans 8:28 is in the
Bible! Matthew 5:45 says that God sends rain to the just and the unjust. We must not
ever let our circumstances be the guide to what is or is not the will of God for our lives.

  • contrary to God's written Word! This one is very important. The will of God will NEVER go against what God has already commanded in the Bible. God doesn't make exceptions for any of His children. I cannot stress this enough. I wouldn't begin to even try to count how many times I've heard, "the Lord led me to do x,y,z...." and I sit there and think, "but that goes against what God says!" God's will never leads outside of his Word!
So, how exactly then can we determine the will of God?  God guides each of us in different ways. Sometimes we may read a passage of Scripture and have the Lord direct through it. Sometimes we might be led through prayer. God may speak to our heart through a sermon, a song or some other venue. It may be in a still small voice or (for the hard-headed amongst us), in grander fashion :) In the end, there are a few similarities.

The will of God:

  • will not change. It is something that you just won't be able to get away from or ignore. Malachi 3:6 says For I am the LORD, I change not; Jonah tried to run from the will of God, but he found that he couldn't out run God! You may try to ignore God's will and hope it goes away but God will still be there when you're done running.
  • always lines up with the Bible. We covered this above, but it bears repeating. If what you think is God's will does not line up with his Word, than you have all the proof you need that it is NOT God's will!
  • brings a prevailing peace. I think this is the most important thing of all. You may be uncertain as to "how" you will accomplish what God is asking you to do. You may have "fear" of the unknown, but wayyyy down deep, below all of your emotions that are stirring, there will be peace.
It is very much like salvation. When you know, that you know, that you know you are
saved, there is peace. The devil may try to cause you to doubt, but still there is peace.
You may get off-track in your walk with God, but there is peace. You may even commit
some big sin and know just how wicked and wrong it was, yet amidst the conviction and
the sorrow, this is peace in knowing that you are God's child.

The will of God is the same way. No matter how much fear or questioning or uncertainty
there is over how you might accomplish it, there will be a peace in knowing that you are
in God's will.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

Finally, if you are still unsure, just be still and wait. Do not move forward in something that you aren't sure is the will of God. Sometimes, the Lord just wants us to be patient and wait on Him. The prize is not in reaching the destination, it is in being faithful on the journey!

4 comments:

  1. Karen, thank you for this. It was a much needed encouragement tonight.

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  2. I feel like we are in a holding pattern, too, but a new church start is like that. S-L-O-W. I know we are in God's will, but we don't know all of the "why" yet, and we may never know. It's all rather puzzling.

    I'm sorry for making you cry. :) Minnesota is definitely not the Northeast, but there might be enough liberals in the Mpls/StPaul area to compete with that area! It is true that there is a tremendous need for scriptural, KJB-believing Baptist churches here. We are north of the outer ring of Twin Cities suburbs by about 35 miles. There are MANY so-called Baptist churches, and people have asked why we are starting yet another one. (Um, God told us to.) But the gospel is weak or non-existent, and except for two or three that we know of, they have all gone the way of the emergent churches. In this area the Baptist churches are more like reformed Lutheran. They keep the "sacraments" and observe Holy Week including Maundy Thursday. That is so strange to me, when that is some of what the Lord saved me out of. People are VERY Bible ignorant.

    I answered your other comment at my blog. :)

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  3. Praying for your heart...

    (and my contact info is on my about page)

    Blessings-
    ali

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  4. Thanks, your post was a blessing, encouragement and added confirmation for me to stand and patiently wait on God's will and timing.
    Have a blessed day, : )
    Julie

    ReplyDelete

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