Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bob's Thoughts: How do I know the Will of God? Part 1

A couple weeks ago, in our small group, a question was asked, “What experiences have you walked through that have prepared you with something you can help others with?”. One of the things that came quickly to mind was how God works in guiding us as we travel through this life. I don’t want to sound like I’m boasting of special communion with God that allows me to see His purposes with clarity, because I truly don’t, but I feel pretty confident that we have been led by Him to where we are now.

“How do I know God’s will for my life?” It seems to me that few questions are more often preached about, discussed and pondered by young Christians, and understandably so. Most of the time I’ve heard it presented it sounds too abstract (“read the Bible!”) or mystical (“abide in Christ”) to be practically relevant. How does God’s leading actually work for real people?

Of course, the final answer is that there isn’t one answer; God leads people in many different ways, as He shows us in the Bible (talking donkey, still small voice, burning bush, angels appearing, etc). I feel, though, that the dramatic examples I just mentioned are the exception: they can happen, but don’t be expecting them. None of the Bible characters who saw them were.

In my quiet time devotions in the morning, I often ask God questions in my mind if I don’t understand a part of the Bible, or something that’s happening, and He often answers with a thought that has such clarity and is so obviously something I wouldn’t have thought on my own that I feel confident that they’re from Him. Interestingly, I also often ask Him about the future, or what’s going to happen next, and I never get an answer. I think an important part of living is taking things as they come without knowing what’s next, and I think that’s God’s plan.

Maybe you’re thinking that people might say the same things I said above about voices they hear in their heads telling them to kill people and stuff, but that’s where we check our thoughts and leadings against God’s Word and what we know of God’s character. What I’m describing has never been weird or questionable, by those standards.

Anyways, this is an introduction: In Part 2 tomorrow I'll share some examples from our lives and how I felt confident that God was leading me. Hopefully some people who've always wondered how to break into the big, mystical secret of knowing God's will can relate to the things I can share from our lives.
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