DISCERNING GOD’S WILL FOR OUR LIVES

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DISCERNING GOD’S WILL FOR OUR LIVES

Humans are a curious kind. We whine, worry and complain when opportunities don’t come; when doors are closed and the road ahead is unclear. But when there are forks in the road; when opportunities come knocking; when doors are opened; we start to doubt if they are indeed means of provision and favor from God and wonder if they are acts of the devil.

But alas, this is a valid concern because Satan is always asking to sift us like wheat just like he did with Peter (Luke 22:31) and Job (Job 1:8-12), and because of that, “sin crouches at your door” (Genesis 4:7 [AMP]).

So discernment is important for us and we should equip ourselves with enough knowledge of our Father’s ways to be able to tell, beyond a shadow of doubt, which of the choices that are placed before us is from Him. How then do we develop this ability to discern provision from distraction?

“And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” Romans 12:2 [AMP]

Now, if you find this verse familiar, it is because the last time we studied this verse in detail, we saw how it helped us Break Bad Habits Jesus’ Way. But as with everything in the Bible, this verse is much richer than that and it can teach us so much more. So how does it help us develop discernment?

The first thing we need to realize is that Jesus has given us many signs. From His word, from His actions in our lives, even from the little nuggets of instruction that gets conveyed by the Holy Spirit through our ‘gut’, we have received many signs. And as long as we triangulate these signs, we will be able to know what the will of God is for our lives. Let me give you an example.

A promotion opportunity comes up. You will get a big bump in your salary and get closer to the powers that be. You will also get to meet, greet and rub shoulders with the movers and shakers in your industry, and beyond. Your reputation will certainly sky rocket and good things are going to happen for you. Is it God’s will that you take this up this promotion?

There is no doubt that many, if not all, of us will jump at the chance without even thinking, because no matter how we skin that cat, it can’t be bad for us. And even if we check it against our Father’s promises, it fits.

“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.” Deuteronomy 28:3-5

Yup, fits perfectly. That bump in salary and the movement up the social and corporate ladder certainly fits.

“Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you.” Deuteronomy 28:10

“And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath,…” Deuteronomy 28:13

Yup, perfect. And if we check it against our Father’s actions in our lives? If we see that all the training and experience we have had so far has equipped us with the skills, aptitude and attitude necessary for such as time as this, then that’s two segments that are in agreement. And finally, if we check with the Holy Spirit and we get a comfortable feeling, then great! Go for it! And that’s how we triangulate to check and see if that is God’s will for our lives.

But nothing is ever that perfect, nor that cut and dry, is it? What if, right at that time, your wife, children or parents needed you at home and you know that taking up this position will tear you away from them? Should you ignore the advice that the Holy Spirit is giving you through your ‘gut’ and merely hire a care-giver?

Or what if you know that you yourself have a propensity to stray in thought and flesh and taking up this position will mean that you spend more time with your secretary than your wife? Should you just pray prayers of protection over yourself and still jump into the fire, knowing that you are weak in this area?

Now, I know what you are thinking. Didn’t Jesus tell Paul, when he asked for the thorn in his side to be removed, that

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”…” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Yes, of course. But do remember that Paul was asking to get out of that situation. So should you hide behind this verse and jump in when you actually have a choice to stay away from temptation?

Doesn’t that make everything circumstantial and situational then? Yes, beloved, most definitely. You see, our Father is a personal God. He does not give ‘cookie-cutter’ solutions. Instead, Jesus Gives Customized Solutions. The situation that is presented before you may fit others like a glove, but it may not fit you. You have your own circumstances, you have your own situations, you are unique. And that is why when we seek to discern God’s will for our lives, we need to triangulate not only with what is said in the Bible, but also what He is doing in our lives and what the Holy Spirit is saying to us in our ‘gut’.

And honestly, because we have spent time with our Father, because we have the Holy Spirit working in us, teaching us all things and bringing to our remembrance all the things which Jesus has said to us (John 14:26), discerning our Father’s will for our lives is really very easy because we remember that

“…we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

And that is why our Father tells us that

“I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 [NIV]

And just in case we missed it, Jesus reminds us always,

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matthew 6:28-29

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:24

Anything that will profit us, prosper us, give us a hope and a future, is in line with our Father’s will. Yet, though

“As a Christian I may do anything, but that does not mean that everything is good for me. I may do everything, but I must not be a slave of anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 [PHILLIPS]

For “Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 [MSG]

So we need to face up to the fact that not everything that is good, is good for us.

Beloved, the hardest part of discerning God’s will for our lives is accepting when He tells us that the good thing before us is not the best thing for us right now. While we may look on with envy when we see another brother or sister benefit perfectly well from it, we honestly know that it would not have brought about the same benefits in our lives, just because our situation and circumstances are different.

So when we triangulate and check our opportunities against His word in the Bible, His work in our lives and the Spirit’s guidance in our hearts, we must also trust that if They say ‘no’, we should stay away; for that is truly when we are no longer conformed to this world’s superficial values and customs, and are transformed by our focus on godly values and ethical attitudes. And in the end, you will certainly see for yourself what the good, acceptable and perfect plan and purpose of God is for you. (Romans 12:2)

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