God’s Will

  Inspirmedia   Aug 20, 2006     0 Comment

August 20, 2006

Bible Text: Romans 12:2 |




NIV Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- his good, pleasing and perfect will.





At dinner a number of topics for Room211 were posed.  One was “How do I know the will of God?”


As children, it is fairly simple.  Do I play in the sandbox or swing on the swings?  Do I pull my sister’s pigtails or pinch her in the …?  No, let’s not go there.


But as adults it gets more complex.  We face decisions involving friendships, dilemmas involving ethical choices at work, choices about where to go to college or whom to marry.  When putting the Sunday offering in the safe, we have to decide how much to keep for ourselves and how much to put in the safe.  No, sorry – that was a joke – OK.


The Bible is full of examples of people following God’s will.  Noah heard the Lord command him to build at ark and obeyed.  Miriam was told by her mom to watch her little brother Moses as he was placed in a basket of reeds in theNile River – she discerned God’s will be listening to her mom.  Moses grew up and saw God in the burning bush and obeyed … although he didn’t want to obey.  Samson discovered the jawbone of an ass by the side of the road … and figured it must be God’s will to kill a bunch of Philistines with it – what else would you do if you discovered the jawbone of an ass by the side of the road???


And now today we wonder what dorm to live in, what job to get, what movie to see, what city to live in, what instrument to play, what person to marry – if only God would speak to us from a burning bush or command us to build an ark, well, at least we would know what He wanted us to do.  How do we know?


Well, since Derek is heading off to college this week, and Zak to Christ Schools, and many of you to various schools here and around the country, I thought I’d teach this morning about God’s will using an acronym that will be familiar to all (ABCDF on SCREEN), although hopefully parts of this acronym will be more familiar to you than others – namely, I hope you see a lot of the AB part, and none of the DF part.


There are various methods of determining God’s will in your life.  Here’s one –it’s called the Fleece Method.


F = Flunk = Fleece

The Fleece method. The name comes from Gideon, one of the famous Judges of the Old Testament.  God chose Gideon to lead His people, but Gideon was not so sure.  So Gideon set a fleece on the threshing floor, and prayed for a sign:  he asked that, in the morning, the fleece would be wet with dew, and the ground dry.  And so it happened.  Then Gideon did what almost all "fleecers" do - he had gotten an answer from God that he didn’t like, and so he tried again. “Oh dear God I’ll mow the lawn if this coin toss turns up heads.  Heads.  God, how about 2 out of 3???”  And so Gideon prayed that the next morning the fleece would be dry, and the ground wet.  And so it was ... Gideon was stuck. He had no excuse.

Because of this Biblical example of our hero Gideon, Rod, who hails from the vicinity of Arkansas, vowed to discover God’s will with respect to his spouse, and determined to marry the third caller on line 1.  And so it was that Rod married his Aunt Sue and lived unhappily ever after.

We must distinguish between Scripture that is DESCRIPTIVE and Scripture that is PRESCRIPTIVE.  The Gideon story describes how God worked at one point in history – it is Descriptive.  It is not Prescriptive – that is, it does not prescribe how He will work all the time or command us how we should live.  Just because God used a fleece once to reveal His will doesn’t mean that He’s going to do that all the time – no where does God promise that.

If you use the Fleece method to discover God’s will, you will Fail.  You will Flunk.  You will get an F.  Don’t do it.


D = Dreams = Direct Guidance from the very voice of God Himself


Again, God has proven that He can reveal His will through dreams – I think of the dream that Joseph had to take the baby Jesus to Egypt, the dreams of that other Joseph, with his amazing Technicolor dreamcoat, in the Old Testament – the dreams of Pharaoh which that Joseph interpreted, the dreams of Daniel and more.

Well, so God can reveal His will through dreams, through talking in our ear.  But does He?  Is that how He typically works?  Has He promised to do that?  No.  And so in Mexico one of the leaders at YWAM told our group at our devotions one day that she had a dream the night before…

What if I have a dream that I bought Melinda a new red convertible?  Does this mean I should do it?  No way! If Melinda did all the stuff that she dreams about, if she took her dreams as a sign from God … our life would be so messed up I wouldn’t even know where to begin!

And yet everyday people do things because “God told me”.  Maybe it wasn’t God.  Maybe it was too much Budweiser.  Can we forget the D’s?  Let’s move on to higher ground here.


C = Circumstances


Circumstances – sometimes these can be a good way to determine God’s will.  St. Paul was traveling by ship to Rome, a storm blows up and the ship runs aground on the island of Malta.  Paul could tell by that circumstance that it was God=s will that they spend the day on Malta!  Surprise.  But he could not tell, based on that circumstance, whether God wanted him to spend the rest of his life on Malta.  Circumstances are a good sign … sometimes.  Sometimes circumstances are a temptation to do something outside of God=s will as well.  Just because all those candies are lined up at the checkout counter of the supermarket doesn’t mean that it is God=s will for you to buy them.


C+ = Counsel


NIV Proverbs 15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

NIV Proverbs 11:14 For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.

NIV Proverbs 15:12 A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise.


Story of Jethro / Moses, ending with …


NIV Exodus 18:24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.


Contrast this with the story of Rehoboam, the king who succeeded Solomon in I Kings 12 – check out what happened with the people of Israel came before their new king with a simple request.  The people said:


NIV 1 Kings 12:4 "Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you." 5 Rehoboam answered, "Go away for three days and then come back to me." So the people went away. 6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. "How would you advise me to answer these people?" he asked. 7 They replied, "If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants." 8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.


Rehoboam wound up accepting horrible advice and ruining the country, making the lives of everyone miserable … all because he was too proud to accept the advice of the wise people around him.


You will almost never go wrong if you are willing to listen to the wise counsel and advice of godly men and women around you.  What situation are you facing?  Here’s one I’ve got to answer – I’ve been asked to be the Chairman of the 2008 NE District Youth Gathering.  The Chairman.  I’ve only gone to two of these things, and now they want me to lead it.  I’ve heard I am the 67th person that they’ve called.  And I’ve got to decide.  I’ll tell you what I’m going to do – I’m going to talk to wise people that God has placed around me before I say yes or no.  And that, my friends, will get me at least a C+.  I’d rather get a B.


B = Bible


I know – you’ll say, “but there’s nothing in the Bible about whether you should lead the next Youth Gathering”. You’re right.  Maybe.  Or maybe you’re wrong.  The Bible says you’re wrong.  Check this out:


NIV 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


NIV Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.


How can we know the will of God?  We have to ask Him, of course.  We have to observe Him.  We have to be with Him and watch Him as He deals with Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, Noah, Abraham & Sarah, Jacob & Joseph, Moses and Elijah, Daniel & Esther.  Fortunately for you, you have in your very own home the written text of the greatest story ever told - you have the Scriptures.  You have God=s own account of how He has dealt with a thousand and one other situations in the past.  As you get to know Him, you can not only know what He=s done in the past, but you can predict with fairly high accuracy how He will act in the future and what He would want you to do in this or that situation of life.  What would Jesus do?  You will be able to answer that question with a high degree of certainty.  Not only that, but you will begin to think like Him, look like Him, act like Him.


To put this in quite simple terms, the more we read God's word, the more we will think God's thoughts.  It's really quite obvious ... the better we know Someone, the easier it will be for us to answer the question, "What would He want?" "What is His will?"  Knowing God's will is not an overnight event ... it's a lifelong process of transformation, by the renewing of our minds.


NIV Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- his good, pleasing and perfect will.


This whole idea of getting to know God, of reading His word and getting more and more of His mind into my mind has been helpful to me on a whole host of levels – one recent one has been the transition of our worship band here in Room211.  I am sort of responsible to keep this thing going – you all look to me to lead this thing that we call Room211 and have something that is somewhat uplifting for you when you show up on Sundays.  There are many many people around me that make this happen, but ultimately I think you can see how I sense that it all falls back into my lap.  And so when the worship band leader moves away, as has happened twice in the last two years, there is a sense of angst – as you well know, not just anyone can stand up here and lead worship – there’s a pretty small group of people from which to choose.  And so as we’ve lost Todd and now Jason, there is the temptation to panic, to worry, to lose hope, to be afraid, to think that the whole thing will collapse.  But that is not God’s will.  God clearly tells us in His Word to trust Him.  And so we’d better do just that.


Fortunately, through both summers God has kept me calm, knowing that at the heart and core of Room211 is not me, but Him.  We didn’t get here because of my great talents, or Inspirmedia’s great stuff, or Jason or Todd or Susan or Scotte or Lynda – we are where we are because of God.  This is not our deal; it’s His.  And if He’s going to move somebody to Omaha or Iowa, well then, He’d better figure out how to replace that person.  It’s His problem, not mine.  Because it’s His service, not mine.  And I’d say He’s coming through quite nicely, wouldn’t you agree.


But the highest level that we can attain to in this whole ‘knowing the will of God’ thing is not a even a B.  You’d think that the Bible would be the very top of the ladder, the very top rung, but it’s not.  No – you can go higher.


A = Action


The Scriptures, overall, don’t emphasize the ‘how’ of discovering God’s will

Rather they emphasize the obedience of the believer to what we already know


I=ve never counted them, but He has given us many commands in the Bible - hundreds if not thousands.  How exasperated do you think He gets when we come to Him, having done 10 out of 100, and say, AGod, I just wish you=d reveal your will to me.  If I only knew what you=d want me to do in this situation ... if you=d only just talk to me or something, then I=d know what you wanted and I=d do it.@  God=s response?  Right!


Imagine the boy who is told by his coach to go get his glove - rather than getting his glove, he responds with "What position should I play?"  "Go get your glove."  "Do you want me in the infield or outfield?"  "Go get your glove."  "Am I going to be batting first or second?"  "Go get your glove."  The coach isn’t going to reveal the next part of the plan until the kid does what?  Gets his glove.  Once he is obedient to that part of the coach’s will, the coach


NIV Luke 11:28 He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."


NIV Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as aradiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.


God, I really really want to know how to be a good husband.  I want to know how to treat my wife.  Make her radiant.  You’ve given me such wisdom – should I tell her the stuff that she’s doing wrong, or just let her stumble along until she gets it?  Make her radiant. Should I encourage her to use her gifts and talents, or should I try to control her and get her to do what I think she should do?  Make her radiant. Oh God, if you’d just reveal your will to me here.  I’d gladly follow anything you’d say, but why don’t you talk to me today???  Make her radiant. Oh God, this husband thing is just so hard – I’ve got no idea how to make her into a good wife that submits to me like you say in the Bible – she always has her own ideas and wants to do stuff that I don’t think she should do.  Make her radiant.  Oh God, please, just talk to me!!!


Hello!  God’s talking!  Action is what’s needed here … but sometimes we’re more concerned about our own agenda than concerned with God’s agenda – am I right or am I right?


You know, there’s not a one of us here that has even begun to put into practice even a 10th of the commands of God that we have in the Scriptures.  That’s probably why He doesn’t reveal more of His will to us – we’re not even doing the stuff He’s already told us is His will.


If we were designing a religion, and we had people that were as fickle as us, well, we’d probably design the God of that religion to just reject fickle people who don’t obey.  That would make sense.  Reject people who drive God crazy.  But the God who is not of our own design, the God whom we meet in the Bible – He is a God who is driven crazy by us … and winds up not crazy with anger but crazy in love.  He winds up crazy in love with us – enough so that at the end of the day, there He is, on the cross, dying for my sins, my disobedience, my fickle complaining about not knowing His will.  At the end of the day, as I beg once more to know God’s will, there is God in Jesus, forgiving me for my sin and laying out His will once again for me.  At the end of the day, there is God in Jesus, giving me His very body and blood, that although I myself mess up time and again, He is there to come and dwell within me, to live out His obedience in me.


Forgiveness is what counts.  Actions are what counts.  Both come to me through Jesus.  Let’s pray.

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