My post title appears to be one of the most frequently asked questions in Christianity. It’s an important question and one that should always be on the forefront of our minds every moment of every day, but if we’re not careful, this question can render us ineffective. I think it’s easy to slip into perpetual spin mode. If we spend more time seeking God’s will than doing it, before long, spiders will spin cobwebs in our hair.
And most of the time, when we ask that question, we’re not looking for an answer to the here and now. We want the ten-year plan. We want reassurance that God will use us, or fix us, or fix the problem we’re dealing with. But as I’ve said before, I think God often operates on a “need to know” basis. Meaning, He shows us step B once we’ve completed step A. Why? Because He’s more concerned with the condition of our heart than our location on the journey. He wants us completely dependent on Him and knows if He gives us too much information, we’ll drop His hand and take off running.
So what do we do if we’re in the waiting stage? We draw near, pray, trust and obey.
We make it a habit to spend time with God, and in so doing, learn to distinguish His voice. We grow accustomed to His presence, allowing His Spirit to do whatever is necessary in us to bring about His good, pleasing and perfect will.
We make our communication with God our top priority, but we don’t pray just for ourselves. We pray for others and God’s kingdom. As we pray that God’s kingdom be expanded, God aligns our hearts to His kingdom goal.
Throughout Scripture God has promised to lead, guide, transform, and equip us. The question then is not, will God show us His will, but instead, will we obey it when He does?
Which leads me to my final step–We obey
I believe we know God’s will more than we care to admit. We want the big plan–the plan to lead a county-wide outreach event or a promotion or some other “one day” event, but God wants us to obey now, in the little things. And when we are faithful with the little things–showing respect, love and patience to our spouses; spending time daily in God’s Word; serving in areas we may never receive praise for–God begins to expand our boundaries and our reach. But never so we can become inflated. In fact, whenever our pride begins to grow, we can probably count on a dose of pride-dashing humility because pride gets in the way. Effectiveness comes from full, humble, surrender.
I’m going to leave you with a passage from Psalm. As you read it, lay your angst aside and go forward with your day, knowing God will guide you in His perfect timing. In fact, He is guiding you now. Make sure you don’t get so focused on the what-ifs of tomorrow you lose sight on what God is doing today.
And, as you ask God to show you His will, ask yourself this question: am I ready to obey without question or hesitation, no matter what God asks me to do? Because God doesn’t need more commandos. He needs more Toto’s.
Psalm 25 (NIV–emphasis, shown in parenthesis, mine)
In you, (not our schedule, ten-year plan or bank account) LORD my God,
I put my trust.
2 I trust in you; (If we truly trust God to do what He says He’ll do and be who He says He is, then what is there to fear or worry about?)
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame, (I believe this may be because as you draw near to God, He removes the “I” from us. When we have died to ourselves, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Because really, it’s not about us and as I’ve said before, dead men don’t bleed. )
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
4 Show me your ways, LORD,
teach me your paths.
(Notice David asks God to teach him. Each day of our faith walk is like stepping into a giant classroom. As we move closer to God, He molds us and teaches us to do His will as He prepares us to complete the next step in our faith journey. Remember algebra from school? The teacher didn’t show you geometry until you’d mastered the basic steps of algebra. You want to be used by God? Then master what He’s showing you now by living each day in full surrendered obedience.)
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long. (Guide me–walk beside me, step by step, moment by moment.)
6 Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, LORD, are good.
8 Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
(Because we know God is good, loving, faithful, and true, we can relax and enjoy the journey knowing He will guide us and teach us. Our job is to draw near and obey. His job is to teach, guide, and bless His plan.)
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, LORD,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
12 Who, then, are those who fear the LORD?
He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
13 They will spend their days in prosperity,
and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The LORD confides in those who fear him; (This is one of the most beautiful passages in Scripture. It speaks of intimacy.) he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the LORD,
for only he will release my feet from the snare. (This verse makes me think of a blind man trusting in his guide for each step, so in tune to his guide’s footsteps, the man senses the slightest turn. May we be so in tune with God, ever looking to Him, we allow Him to direct each and every step of our journey.)
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins. (This is the third time David asked God to forgive, forget, or remove his sins. Sin is the greatest barrier to hearing God’s will. If we want to hear God and live in intimate fellowship with Him, we must be diligent about removing all sin from our life.)
19 See how numerous are my enemies
and how fiercely they hate me!
20 Guard my life and rescue me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope, LORD, is in you.
22 Deliver Israel, O God,
from all their troubles!