HOW TO KNOW WHETHER YOU'RE IN THE WILL OF GOD OR NOT
By: Bill Keller, Evangelist
Without a doubt one of the most common emails I get each day are from people concerned whether they are "in the will of God" or not. They are concerned if they are where "they are supposed to be." This should be a concern of every follower of Christ since it is our desire to serve and glorify the Lord with our lives, to please Him. Being in the will of God is important in being a loyal follower and servant of the Lord.
Before I could deal with this issue today, I had to lay the foundation yesterday in the Devotional on hearing the voice of God. Obviously, if we don't know how to "hear God's voice," it makes following Him very difficult. We need to be able to hear God to insure we are in His will and where He wants us to be. Don't forget that the four (4) most common ways we hear God is:
1: Through His Word
2: Through our time in prayer
3: Through others
4: Through our circumstances
God speaks to us in all these ways and is ALWAYS speaking to us. It is up to us to always be listening!
When it comes to being in the will of God, I find that most Believers ARE! They are right where God wants them to be for this season of their life. Most who are seriously trying to follow Christ are not living in wanton and purposeful rebellion to the Lord and are trying their best to honor Him with their lives each day. God knows your heart my friend. He knows your desire is to please Him. The message I want you to hear loud and clear today is to be at peace. Unless you are purposely living in rebellion to God, you are right where He wants you for today!
Who else but Satan is planting those seeds of doubt in your mind? Remember my friend, Satan is a LIAR! He wants you to believe that you are out of God's will, that you aren't where God really wants you and doing what God really wants you to be doing. Satan is so nasty that he will even lie to those serving the Lord that they are out of God's will in their service! Please, don't listen to the lies of Satan and let him rob you of your peace and joy in serving Christ. God wants you to be free as you serve Him each day, not bound up in confusion over whether you are in the will of God or not.
Listen to me, here is the key. It all goes back to the same things it takes to be in tune to hear God's voice as He speaks to you throughout each and every day, and that is your intimate, daily time with Him in the Word and in prayer. When God wants you to do something for Him, He will tell you. He tells you through passages of Scripture that you read. He tells you through that "still small voice" as you pray. It is God who gives you the inspiration to serve Him. Where do you think you get the passion for the things you care about? FROM GOD! God gives each of us the passions and desires we have in our life.
He may give one person a passion for the lost around the world, and out of that passion give them the desire to serve Him by taking missionary journeys. He may give another person a passion for communications, and out of that passion give them the desire to use the broadcasting industry to serve Him. He may give yet another a passion for the poor, and out of that passion lead them to serve him by working with people who are struggling simply to have the basics of life like food, clothing, and shelter. It is out of the passions and desires that God gives each of us, that He guides and directs us in our service for Him.
As we begin to pursue the things we are passionate about, God will open and close doors along the way to guide us. He will bring people of similar passions into our life. Opportunities will arise at church or through a ministry or some organization for us to serve Him. God will guide our steps, put us on the path He wants us to be on as we keep our hearts open to Him and are yielded and available for His service. God has called all of His children to serve Him. As we step forward to serve the Lord, He will use us to further His Kingdom and for His glory
I know that many of you are struggling with the question of being in the will of God, of being where God wants you to be and doing the things God wants you to do. Let me give you the assurance that unless you are willfully living in rebellion to God and His Word, you are for the most part right where God wants you to be! God is always tweaking us, moving us a little to the left, a little to the right, but for the most part you are right where God wants you for this season of your life. So have peace over that truth!
However, that is why it is so critical to stay tuned into the voice of God each and every day. You never know when God may be saying it is time to change. Change jobs, change where you live, get involved in some new hobbies, start going to a new church, start serving Him in different capacities. Like any good soldier, we have got to be ready at all times for new orders to come down from our Commander. But don't fear, God will clearly and over time show you when it is time for change. He will confirm it to you in many different ways and clearly open and close doors in your life as additional signs to guide you.
Listen my friend, there is NOTHING in this lifetime more exciting than being in the center of God's perfect will. It is that sweet place of indescribable peace and joy that makes waking up each day something you look forward to. You go through your day with great ease, not like you are carrying a baby grand piano on your back. You have the channel with God's voice open at all times and your choices, your actions, are all guided by the Sprit of God and not by you. It is that special place where you know deep down inside that you are fulfilling your purpose as you serve and glorify the Lord with your life.Let me encourage you today to never forget that God loves you so much. He DOES have a specific plan and purpose for your life. The fact is we often don't know exactly what that plan and purpose is. But we have the assurance that as long as we are living in obedience to the Lord, doing our best to follow His Word, and are yielded to His Sprit, we will be right where God wants us to be and doing the things God wants us to be doing. Your life matters! You are part of God's plan! As you wake up each day and give your life afresh to the Lord you will be in His perfect will!
Staff Note: I would like to add a few thoughts to Bill's excellent writing on this topic. God also will speak to us through our dreams, so be open to God giving you direction through dreams. However - Satan will ALSO speak to us in our dreams, and when he does ... it is NEVER the will of God! It is designed to keep us confused; fearful; doubting; get us doing something that gets us off the path of God's will for us. If you have a supernatural dream and you aren't sure whether it's from God or Satan, take it to the Lord in prayer when you are fully awake. Ask and trust God to reveal to you WHO the dream came from ... and be patient in getting your answer. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will reveal to you quickly WHO the dream came from. Other times - your answer may get delayed. If you have one or more Christians you can trust ... ask them what they think about your dream (or vision; or word of prophecy from someone).
Speaking of "words of personal prophecy". Be extremely careful about responding to personal words of prophecy. Test those words. Take them to the Lord in prayer and wait patiently for Him to reveal to you CLEARLY whether the word is from Him, and then what you are to do about it. Be WISE in asking other Christians you trust what they think about the word of prophecy someone gave you. Satan is using well-meaning Christians to impart "words of personal prophecy" to others in certain circles of the Body of Christ ... and if you have been given a word, be WISELY CAUTIOUS - WISELY DISCERNING - about whether it's from God or not.
Satan is out to try shipwreck (frustrate) your faith and peace in various degrees any way he can. Don't quickly believe everything you hear or read if it involves you personally ... yet if it's from God ... He will give you a settled peace in your spirit about the matter as you wait on Him to confirm or discard the "personal word of prophecy". And - let God bring things about, in His timing; in His ways. Let God open doors -- you don't need to personally break them down. Yet God will honor your passion for the cause of helping advance His kingdom, as long as your motives are right (you're not in for the money and/or having your ego stroked). Don't be so afraid of being out of God's will that you become paralyzed. God uses people who puts the car in drive and trusts Him to get the car to where it's suppose to go ... especially if your heart desires to see lost souls be reconciled back to God through Jesus Christ.
God also honors fasting along with our praying, when we feel desperate to know God's will about a given matter. But here again, be VERY discerning about WHO is communicating WHAT to you while you fast. You begin to become much more sensitive to the spirit world when you fast, and the wise Christian will be extremely cautious about responding to dreams and even visions while they are fasting. Again - when you come off the fast - the Holy Spirit can be trusted to reveal what REALLY was of God - and what may be counterfeit - from Satan.
Incidentally, it was through fasting and prayer that God gave me a very powerful dream four nights into the fast regarding His will for my life when I first became born again ... which was to publish testimonies that glorify Jesus Christ for evangelistic purposes, and to exhort OTHERS in the Body of Christ to do the SAME. Less than a week after I came off the fast, Satan tricked me into believing the dream during the fast was NOT from God, but from Satan ... and it took me nearly nine months of great frustration to come to the realization that it HAD BEEN GOD who gave me the dream afterall.
Satan tried many different times after that to try to get me to stop pursuing publishing testimonies that glorify Jesus Christ. I could easily write a BOOK on how persistent he has been over the years in trying to get my wife, Kathleen and I, from publishing testimonies, and probably more importantly ... to keep exhorting OTHER Christians to let God use THEIR testimony to touch the lives of others ... and to become publishers of testimonies THEMSELVES. The Internet has enabled Christians to help advance the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the lives of people unlike the Body of Christ has ever had available to them before. (Humanly speaking, the Apostle Paul may well have been envious!)
None of us fully can grasp on this side of eternity how truly important it is to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit that Christians publicly proclaim what Jesus Christ has done for them. A well-written testimony does just THAT: It glorifies our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ... and dear reader, Satan absolutely HATES Jesus getting any glory for anything! If you want to learn first hand just how much Satan HATES someone desiring to glorify Jesus Christ publicly by testifying of what He means to them - what He has done for them - write out your testimony; make copies of it, and start handing them out. "Peace of cake," you think? Take it one step higher. Begin to publish testimonies of OTHER believers that glorify Jesus Christ ... and you'll probably become fully engaged in active spiritual warfare unlike anything you've ever known in the past!
But oh the joy it brings to God. And THAT, dear reader, is all that is going to truly matter on the Judgment Day for Christians. How much JOY did you purpose to lay up in heaven to God while you were down here on earth? Satan won't even enter into the equation when that time comes.
Oh - and by the way - God is going to pass a lot of that joy around that you gave Him while here on earth, the Bible clearly states. Once a person gets a fuller grasp of what Matthew 6:19-21 is addressing ... wasting time and wasting finances becomes a much more sobering matter to Christians who are SERIOUS about wisely pleasing God.
- Norm Rasmussen; Director, Precious Testimonies
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