The question, “How can one know God’s will?” causes a great deal of anxiety in the life of many believers. Today’s devotional provides the key for relieving that anxiety and answering that question. God bless you.
Because of Calvary,
Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
“I have come to the conclusion that an enormous proportion of…time and effort…has been directed at trying to get God…to tell us what to do in a given situation. But God would rather confront us with the principles and commands He has already provided in Scripture…and leave the decision up to us. We want Him to make our decisions for us so that we can avoid the risk of making mistakes and come up with the perfect, infallible decisions that only God can make. Yet it is God’s will for us to remain ordinary human beings who make fallible decisions to learn wisdom and commitment by our mistakes. We want Him to take responsibility for our decisions, but He hand that responsibility back to us so that as we accept that responsibility we can grow into full maturity as His sons and daughters….
“Perhaps I can make the issue a little clearer if I…describe two different approaches to the problem of making God-honoring decisions. One approach I call the direction method and the other the wisdom method.
“In the direction method….the duty of the Christian…is to avoid any independent decisions, and at every point to seek and find that perfect…decision from God, and then to do what He says without asking questions…. It is assumed…that God is as eager to communicate His will in any given matter as we are to find it. He may speak to us through Scripture, or through sanctified common sense or through any one of a wide variety of ways. But it is usually necessary to wait for the still small voice of the Holy Spirit to give the final assurance in our hearts. If the voice speaks, all the experience or wisdom in the world should not turn us from the indicated path….
“In the wisdom method…the Christian goes to God for wisdom rather than for direction. He seeks to know and understand the principles that God lays out in Scripture, prayerfully uses the wisdom God supplies, arrives at the best course of action he can devise, and then acts…. God is sovereign, and He can, at any time He chooses, step into our lives and tell us, ‘Do this!’ or, ‘Do that!’ But ordinarily He does not…. He merely asks us to do all to the glory of God and leaves us to determine, under the authority of Scripture, what doing all to the glory of God will mean in any given situation….
“This may sound terribly unspiritual and mundane, but God is often much more unspiritual and mundane than we would like Him to be. He can do the spectacular thing, but He usually doesn’t…. (Interestingly, when God does give explicit direction in Scripture, it almost always comes unsought. It is not the product of anxious hours of prayer for guidance; it comes rather from God’s sovereign choice, unasked for, unexpected, and often even unwanted.) All that He promises us is wisdom….
“The key to the problem of making God-honoring decision may perhaps be found in the principle of stewardship. Remember the story Jesus told of the master who gave out the sums of money to each of his servants, with the expectation that each should make the most of what he had received (Matt. 25:14-30). Evidently no detailed instructions or advice was offered as to how to proceed. It was up to the servants whether they were to work in cattle, sheep, grapes, wheat, or in other business. They all took responsibility, did the best they could, and were rewarded for their diligence and faithfulness. All, that is, except one. He did not dare to make a mistake, for what would the master say if he decided wrong? So he hid his sum of money and returned it to his master unused. It was he and he alone who earned his master’s anger, and that was because he refused to take responsibility for using what the master gave him. He would not take the risk of choosing on his own.” [Joseph R. Cooke, Celebration of Grace, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991), p. 100-103]