What the Bible Can Tell Us about Knowing God's Will - Bible Study Minute - December 7, 2017
What the Bible Can Tell Us about Knowing God’s Will
By Christina Fox
"The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Have you ever had to make an important decision and felt stuck as to what to do? Perhaps you stood at a crossroads with two paths before you and you didn't know which one to take.
GOD'S WILL AND MAKING DECISIONS
Theologians often refer to God's will in terms of his sovereign will and his perceptive (or revealed) will. God's sovereign will refers to the fact that he ordains all things. Everything is under his control, including every detail of our lives. Nothing can or will happen outside of his will. He is never surprised or taken off guard by what happens. Whatever choice we make, we can be sure it is God's will.
We don't know his plan for us for tomorrow, next week, or next year. His secret will is not for us to know. But, as believers, we can take great comfort in the doctrine of God's sovereignty. Whatever decisions we make, we can be assured that God will use it for our good and his glory (Romans 8:28-29).
God's perceptive will is his revealed will in the Bible. This is the will that God wants us to know. Everything we need to know for living in this world is written in those pages. There's no missing information we have to seek out in mysterious unknown places. It's not hidden somewhere, like in a scavenger hunt, and we just have to find it. It's all there.
When we struggle with making a decision and ask, "What is God's will in this?" often we want to know what pleases him. What he desires from us. We want to know his direction. We want to know if he desires us to choose A over B or B over A. This is an area where we often get stuck when we have to make a decision. What we want is to know the future before it happens. This is an area of God's will we can't know and don't need to know. We need to trust his sovereign will and obey his perceptive will and leave his specific plan for our life in his hands.
SEEKING GOD'S WISDOM
So what should we do when we have to make a difficult decision? First, we need to know where wisdom is found. God's Word tells us that wisdom originates in him. He is the source and fountain of wisdom. John 1:14 tells us that God's Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus is wisdom incarnate. Isaiah prophesied about him, "And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD." (Isaiah 11:2). Paul tells us that Christ is our wisdom, "And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30). He says something similar in Colossians 3:2 "Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
So when we have a decision to make, we need to turn to God's Word. As we read and study, we can ask ourselves: Is this choice sinful? By choosing this, am I doing something God has told me not to do or failing to do something God has told me to do? Does it conflict with God's calling on my life? Another question to ask is, will this choice bring God glory? Will it honor him? We can also ask ourselves, what does the Bible tell me about Christ, who he is and what he has done? We can be assured that as we study the Word, and as our minds are conformed to it, we will discern what God's will is.
Secondly, we should always seek God in prayer about our decisions. We should ask for wisdom and discernment. We should ask that our choices and actions bring him glory. As Jesus taught us, we should pray that God's will would be done.
Thirdly, we should ask others who are wise in the Word to advise us in making decisions. God has not left us alone, he's given us brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ who can give us the wisdom they have gleaned from Scripture. Many older and wiser believers have had to make difficult decisions in their lives and there is much we can learn from them (see also Titus 2). "Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed." (Proverbs 15:22).
I remember a college professor once talking to our class about choosing between A and B. In the example he gave, it was the choice between attending two colleges. He said that if a choice is not sinful, if we have prayed and sought God's Word for wisdom, as well as the wisdom of others, then we just make a choice. We simply move forward. We trust that God will use the decision for his glory. We rest in his sovereign control over all things. We remember the gospel and who we are in Christ, and know that nothing can separate us from his love for us.
Editor’s Note: Part of this devotional was taken from Knowing God’s Willby Christina Fox. You can read the full blog post here.