Week Three ~ Understanding the Will of God
Week Three of our Bible study blog finds us studying the will of God for our lives. Jesus' perfect will was to come to earth and shed His blood so we may live forever with Him. He is the lamb who was slain, so we could have an abundant life here on earth. His resurrection made that a sure thing!
~ God's Perfect Will vs. His Permissive Will ~ God chose us before we chose Him. It is a divine concept that we humans have been given a free will to run our own lives. God wants us to choose Him, not by force or coercion, but by love. One of the many ways he shows us His love is by giving us the freedom to handle our destiny (this amazes me, given the mess that I sometimes find myself in!) For Christians, the Bible tells us that our steps are directed by the Lord.
Man's goings are of the Lord. Proverbs 20:24
We can do good deeds and good works. We can live morally and properly. We can reach people in helpful ways. Actions that are under God's permissive will may be good, but it is different than acting in God's perfect will. To follow God's perfect will, we must take the time to listen, then hear, and then to act.
~ Self efforts are deceiving, though they may look and feel wonderful ~ By choosing to wait for God's perfect direction, the Lord can be glorified in us, and self becomes dead. It takes greater wisdom to seek the Master for divine direction. This wisdom lifts up God so that others are drawn to Him. When God's perfect will is carried out in our work, our family, and our daily tasks, it is anointed. Non-believers marvel at the results, and believers bask in the glow as they see the touch of God on the task.
Why has God given us a free will? What is the difference between God's permissive will and His perfect will?
~ Waiting on God's direction brings clarity to confusion ~ How do you perform God's will in your daily tasks? You must wait on Him for even the smallest tasks. Waiting allows harmony among your workers, among your family, and it allows perfection for the task-at-hand, as God's perfect will flows.
God gives His glory to those who wait. You'll know it is the Lord as He arises within you, for He is the One who anoints.
In 1991, Rob and I were convinced that God's perfect plan for us was to move to Sweden to attend a year of Bible school, so in planning, we made a two-page to-do list, and then presented it to the Lord. There were times when the list looked impossible, but daily, one item after another was checked off: our visas were processed in record time; two round-trip airfares were paid in full; school tuition were paid; warm coats for Sweden's freezing winters were donated--remember, we lived in southern California!
One night when I was packing boxes of clothing for storage, I blurted, "What are we doing?" I plopped myself in the middle of the bedroom floor and asked, "Lord, are You sure this is your perfect will for us?" As I sat awhile and quieted my spirit, I heard a familiar voice answer, Yes. That's all I needed to pick myself up and continue packing.
Our faith in God increased before we ever set foot on Swedish soil, because we had to listen and trust God, and exercise our faith each step of the way.
Have you had one of those Are you sure, Lord? moments lately? What did you do?
The WHO Test to find God's Will
Call unto me, and I will answer, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3
"WHO do you say I am?" and "WHO do you serve today?" are the questions that help us know if we are drawn to God's perfect plan. Do you see it? W--wait; H--hear; O--obey. You can use the WHO test to find where you are in God's will on a specific matter. In Psalms, David spoke of how he had fellowship with God. This usually comes by having a personal experience with the living God. I refer back to my dear old babushka. If I had hurried out the door, I would have missed my divine reason for being there. You see, I received more from the encounter with that sweet little Russian lady than she did.
How can you apply the WHO test to a current situation in your life to stay within God's will for you? When has God positively affirmed an optimistic outcome to you? How did it make you feel?
~ Prepare for Service ~ There are many gestures of kindness we can give to those around us who are in need. Look around. Listen. Hear. Obey. We many never know how that kind word or gesture changed the atmosphere of that person in need.
Can you recall a time when someone reached out and touched you? God knew you needed that touch, that encouraging word. He asked someone to come to you, and that person listened, heard, and obeyed. That is total teamwork!
Recount an instance where you have committed to serving someone in their time of need.
Whenever I am tempted to run the other way when God asks me to reach out to someone, I stop and think of what Jesus did for me. That puts it all into perspective, especially during this Resurrection season.
Until next week, may all of you WINning ladies experience the glory of Easter in your hearts.