FINDING AND LIVING IN GOD’S WILL
Now I know that there are those who think, “Hey - this is about ‘Growing Older Gracefully’ - so most of us in here are past the years of ‘finding God’s will’ - much less, living in it!” Well, I’ve got news for you! As long as you’re breathing still here on this earth, God wants to reveal His will to you and He actually wants you to live in it, until you leave here for Heaven.
He told me to minister on this - just like He tells me each week what He wants me to dig into. So-----here we go!
I want to start with a portion of Scripture - 4 verses from the Psalms - Psalm 139:14-17 (NKJ) - “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works. And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them.”
My - My! What a powerful and personal portion of Scripture! While you were being formed in your mother’s womb, God was aware of, and involved in who you were and who you were to be. When it mentions “frame,” it is referring to the very unique being that you were to be. Also, before you were even born, you were designed by God with specific ways about you to make you the unique person He wanted you to be. AND - while you were being designed, He wrote what you were to be like - your talents and abilities - your uniqueness. God had a plan for you, when you were formed in your mother’s womb! Think about that for a moment. Isn’t that just amazing!!!
Now - most of humanity just thinks that they just have the genes of their mom and dad and they think like this - “I can do whatever I want - be whoever I want to be - I am who I am and I’ll do what I want to do.” It’s all about me, me, me, me, me…..” Well, in a since, you can do whatever you want to do - because God did give you a free will. He will not make you do what He planned for you to do. Mankind has always been self-centered but the present day in which we live has taken it all to a new level.
Now - let me make something very clear! He not only wants you to know the plan He has for you, but He wants you to make your day-to-day decisions based on His will for you - NOT BASED ON JUST STUFF YOU LIKE IN THE EMOTIONAL REALM OF YOUR LIFE. Now - don’t get mad at me - but many, many times, our decisions in all kinds of things in our lives really hinder us from LIVING IN HIS WILL. It can be the way we talk, the way we feel about someone, and on and on. In other words, we can begin to get a grasp on what His will for us is but we actually hinder ourselves from LIVING in it by our daily decisions. WE ARE TO FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, IN OUR WORDS, OUR ACTIONS AND ATTITUDES. WHEN WE DO, WE ARE LIVING IN HIS WILL.
Now - a lot of older people think like this - “Well, I’m too old to really be of any use to God. My younger years were where the energy and usefulness were - so it’s just too late for me to find out what He wanted me to do.” That’s a lie from the enemy! The Lord loves you as much as He did when He was writing in that ‘Book’ when you were being formed.
A lot of time, we just do what we kinda’ think we’re the best at - and we stay away from the things that we think we are the worst at - RATHER THAN spending time with the Lord in prayer and seeking to know what He had in mind for us from the beginning - before we were even breathing.
If you’d have told me when I was a little girl at 10 years old, or 15, or 20, or 25, or 30 that God wanted me to teach the Word to people, I would have just shook my head! You’ve heard my story, so I won’t bore you with the details, but, because of a bad fever when I was 18 months old, I ended up with a badly crossed left eye and had to wear thick glasses when I was 3. I hated the way I looked, and I was teased a lot by other kids my age. They were too young to understand how that affected me. Therefore, by the time I started Kindergarten, I had become a very introverted girl. I did not want to do anything in front of people - with people looking at me. I was very quiet, and shy.
Now when I was with my family, I wasn’t that way so much - but around others, I was pretty anti-social. Now I was pretty much that way all through my teen years and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Now, you’ve heard my story, but when I was in my second year of college, I found a way to have the two surgeries for my eye that I needed - I took that option - left college - had the surgeries - and for the first time in my life, I felt like I looked normal.
But you know what? I still had that very shy, anti-social attitude and it was very hard for me to try to bring myself out of that way of thinking. I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST THE WAY I WAS! I even began dating a little bit. That was a whole new world.
Then - the Lord brought a man into my life - by a blind date arranged by friends of both of us - AND MY LIFE TRULY CHANGED IN MANY AREAS. We actually fell in love on our first date. He thought I was beautiful and he kept telling me that. It was a whole new world for me. It’s a long story - and I won’t go into all of it - but I started a little bit to come out of my “introverted” attitude - a little here and a little there. He was in the Army - had to go to South Korea for 13 months - came home - we got married - and he got saved - I thought he already was. We had our two children - and he began to feel called to go to Bible School - and to the ministry - so we did.
Through those years, I was still very shy about being in front of people and tried to avoid it as much as possible. I did love to read and to write - and thought about some day writing books. But, then, as my husband entered the pastoral ministry, I began to be faced with being in front of people and it terrified me.
It was at that time in my life, that I actually began to pray about who I really was, and what God wanted me to do, like I never had before. I had just thought that I was just a quiet, introverted person and that’s just the way it was to be. BOY - DID I EVER BEGIN TO SEE THINGS FROM GOD’S POINT OF VIEW INSTEAD OF FROM MINE!!!!!!
Here I was a pastor’s wife and I didn’t know how to handle it. I found that, as a group of women would gather around in a circle, we could do kinda’ a little Bible Study and I just felt like I was just one of them - and I got used to it a little. So I did that with the first two churches he pastored. Then, back in our own home town area, we started a church, and we were meeting in a community center. So, I started one of those little “sitting in a circle” women’s group - and it went well and was growing in size. THEN - ONE DAY - GOD SAID SOMETHING TO ME AND IT CHANGED EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE. HE TOLD ME TO PUT THE CHAIRS IN ROWS AND HE WANTED ME TO STAND UP AND TEACH THE WOMEN. I ALMOST FAINTED! AS I COMMUNICATED WITH THE LORD HE TOLD ME THAT HE WANTED ME TO TEACH PEOPLE WHAT I HAD LEARNED IN THE WORD OF GOD - BUT - NOT JUST DOCTRINE - BUT - DOWN TO THE NITTY GRITTY - ABOUT HOW YOU GET IT - HOW YOU DO IT - HOW IT WORKED FOR ME.
That day was a life changing day for me. I knew God was showing me what His will for me was and that I could either believe Him and do what He said, or I could continue on doing it the way I always had. At that moment, I was absolutely terrified. But - I had this awareness inside me that God was giving me instructions and I had to just TRUST HIM. So - I did what He said about the chairs - still scared - all the women came - they looked at the chairs and were asking questions. I just told them that God said to do this way.
When everybody was there, I knew I had to start and I cannot even try to explain how nervous and scared I was. I was almost kinda’ shaking. But, inside myself, I just was saying, “God said to do it - and I’m going to do it.” I stood up and I opened my mouth and began to share with them what God had shown me about the topic we were on - AND ALL THE SHAKING AND FEAR STOPPED AND I WAS OVERWHELMED WITH A PEACE THAT I CANNOT EXPLAIN - I HAD NEVER EXPERIENCED SUCH PEACE IN MY LIFE!
Finding and Living in the Will of God is like nothing else on this earth. If we open ourselves up to Him, He will show us things we’ve never seen before and He will use us like never before - no matter what age we are or what we’ve been through. However, brothers and sisters, just ‘finding the will of God’ for our lives is just the first step. We have to learn how to ‘live our day to day lives - with all our decisions, and the people, and the problems - in HIS WILL, HIS WAY OF DOING, HIS WAY OF SPEAKING, HIS WAY OF LOVING. I have known people who have found His will for their lives but, they didn’t live their daily lives in His way of doing things - therefore, it didn’t go well for them.
Now brothers and sisters, we’re all different and God has played a very large part in placing things in us which make us unique, in many different ways. That doesn’t mean one is right and the other is wrong. No! It means that He has ways that He wants to use each one of us differently.
From that day forward, my life really did change and I had never been happier. I began to teach women’s groups, sometimes I would speak with my husband as we would do team teaching, then I had a daily radio teaching on a Christian radio station, then I was asked to teach at women’s conferences all over the Midwest - and on and on. God had His will for me - but He wouldn’t force it on me - I had to obey Him and trust Him, and I also had to learn to LIVE in His will in all the other realms of life.
That’s the way it is for everyone. Now you may be someone who has thought you had it figured out, and it didn’t work out. You may have been asking God for a long time and feel like you haven’t gotten an answer.
Then you may be someone who feels like you really do know how He wants to use you but it’s such a delicate subject that you just don’t know how to talk about it with anyone - and you feel hindered in some way, and you don’t know how to really get started.
It’s possible that you have been taught that ‘fate’ is the way it all works - that if it’s supposed to be for you, that it will just all come together. If nothing has worked out for you so far, you just kinda’ feel like it just wasn’t time yet - that you just have to trust fate. That’s not true. We have a free will - God will not force anything on us. Remember, we have been given authority here in this earth. That authority only works for us when we really learn how God does things by spending time in His Word and REALLY GETTING TO KNOW HIM.
Now - I’ve known people through the years who have, as they’ve gotten older, had this attitude. “Well, I know that God had a plan (or a will) for me but I wasn’t following after Him much when I was younger. So I never really found out what it was. Now I’m getting older and it just seems like He just gave up on me. So I just don’t feel like it’s worth spending my time trying to find it now.” That’s a WRONG WAY OF THINKING, BROUGHT ON BY THE EVIL ONE!!
Listen to this verse. It’s Romans 11:29 - (NKJ) “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” This verse is saying that what God placed in you when you were being ‘framed’ in your mother’s womb is still there in you and He will never give up on you walking in it - no matter how old you are. It may take some fervent prayer to really see how He can use you in that way now - but He will not revoke what He put in you. In other words, He won’t take it back. God has ways to work things out that you and I could never figure out.
Now I want to bring up a verse that I’ve used in other teachings but it’s really appropriate here - I can’t leave it out. It’s Romans 12:1 - (NKJ) “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
It’s just really important in this topic of, “Finding and Living in the Will of God.” The reason it is so important is that we will never find that very special way that He wanted to use us while we’re here on this earth, if we just keep on trying to figure it all out for ourselves. Now, the reason that the Lord wanted me to bring this up is that ‘self-centeredness’ has become so normal in today’s world that Christians are living in it and don’t even realize it. It is very common to think like this, “Well, I know what I’m really like on the inside - I know myself pretty well - what I’m good at - what I really enjoy - what people seem to like about me - I think I already have a handle on all that. That ‘living sacrifice’ stuff just seems too complicated - I think I can figure this whole thing out.” Now I’m sorry if that offends anyone but the Lord said that I have to speak the truth in love.
I really think that every single one of us needs to be sure that we really have presented ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice as we live out the rest of our lives. In other words, “Here I am Lord. I want to do things Your way. (I like to say it this way - ‘I want Your way, Yahweh!” That word is one of the Hebrew names, referring to God.)
There are verses all the way through the Bible that help us understand God - what He’s like - the way He thinks - what He has promised - but it’s very sad that so many Christians do not view the Bible that way. So many Christians just feel like they have to give that daily 15 minutes reading the Bible to keep God from getting mad at them. They’re not viewing it from the position of getting to really know Him. They just view it as Bible stories that they’ve heard a gazillion times. But - THEN - THERE’S VERSES LIKE THIS!! Jeremiah 29:11 - “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Oh what a beautiful verse. He, God Himself, the Creator of the Universe, has thoughts that He thinks about YOU - THOUGHTS OF PEACE AND NOT OF EVIL - TO GIVE YOU A FUTURE AND A HOPE!!!!! What could be better than that?
But you know what? We have to believe it! And, we won’t believe it if we just quickly read it and rush on to do all the other stuff we want to do. Now, what I call “soaking in the Word,” is reading that verse over and over again - saying it outloud so that my ears can hear the truth of the Word of God - Saying to myself, “God has thoughts of peace for me to give me hope and a future.” Then I sit there and thank Him for the thoughts He has about my future, and I praise Him for His great Love. See, that is part of LIVING IN HIS WILL!
You see, brothers and sisters, I have learned that that kind of attitude will lead you into understanding deeper and deeper about what God wants you to do - and how He wants you to do it. He’s not playing hide and seek with you - He’s not trying to keep you in the dark about your life - HE REALLY DESIRES TO REVEAL IT ALL TO YOU - BUT YOU HAVE TO DESIRE TO RECEIVE IT FROM HIM! The Lord has to be the most important person in your life. That is the only way that you will truly FIND HIS WILL AND LIVE IN IT EVERY DAY - SAYING THINGS, DOING THINGS, AND SEEING THINGS FROM HIS POINT OF VIEW.
Now I want to bring up another verse which is kinda’ difficult for some to grab ahold of but it’s right there in the Bible - It’s 1 Thessalonians 5:18 - “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Sometimes it’s been very misunderstood. So - I want you to think for just a minute - Imagine what it was like for Paul and those other Christians to be in those awful prisons they were put in - Down in dungeons - unable to hardly move around - controlled by others - absolutely no freedom at all - at times with their hands chained - their feet chained - bugs crawling around and on and on. Yet, they would start singing worship and praise songs to the Lord - thanking Him for being their Savior. This verse isn’t saying that it was God’s will for them to be in the prison - it is saying that it is God’s will for them to give thanks to Him because they are trusting Him no matter what kind of situation they are in.
When we are just so in love with the Lord, no matter what situation life throws at us, we have the ability to see our relationship with Him so much bigger and important than anything else - and then, we can thank Him (not for the situation) but for His great love and for the knowledge that we’re going to be with Him forever in Heaven. AND SOMETIMES THAT THANKFULNESS AND SINGING WILL CAUSE MIRACULOUS THINGS TO HAPPEN LIKE IT DID FOR THOSE CHRISTIANS IN THAT PRISON IN PHILLIPI.
Here’s another couple of verses - Hebrews 13: 20-21 - “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work TO DO HIS WILL, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Now I want you to think about something. The God who created the universe, who created human beings, and then those human beings did what He said not to do and, therefore, brought sin into the whole human race - That God that loved human beings so much that He sent part of Himself (His Son) into this world to be a human being, without sin - so that He could take all the sin into Himself and die and pay the price for all who would believe - That God who saw us (EACH ONE OF US) in our mother’s womb and knew every detail of who we were and wrote about our giftings and personalities in a book - That God wants to make you complete to do His will - but He will not violate your free will which He gave you. YOU MUST SURRENDER TO HIM - BECOME A LIVING SACRIFICE - YIELD THE RIGHT-OF-WAY TO HIM - AND HE WILL MAKE YOU COMPLETE IN HIM TO DO HIS WILL WHILE YOU’RE HERE ON THIS EARTH!!! Did you get that connection between ‘a living sacrifice’ and ‘living in His will’? If you have given yourself to be a LIVING sacrifice, then you have commited to LIVING in His will - day in and day out for the rest of your life. A LIVING SACRICE IS IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH THE LORD - not just in a little 15 minutes of prayer every day. A LIVING SACRIFICE HAS LET GOD BE ON THE THRONE OF HIS/HER HEART EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY. Do we mess up sometimes? Yes - but He is merciful and forgiving. We talk to Him about it and invite Him back in on the throne of our hearts. Life will become, on a regular daily basis, what God really planned for it to be for every one of us.
What could be any better than that?
Not only does He want to use you in the plans He had for you when you were being ‘framed’ in your mother’s womb, but He wants you to live your life here on this earth in the powerfully loving, kind, helpful, forgiving, and giving way that Jesus lived His - because He’s put that power already in your new born-again spirit when you received Jesus as your Savior. Therefore, you not only know what His will for your life is, and walk in it, but you can also LIVE in all the PEACE AND JOY that comes along with being a child of God.
That’s not only FINDING GOD’S WILL BUT LIVING IN IT! I have found that LIVING IN HIS WILL IS ALSO LIVING IN THAT PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING. In other words, the peace is so real and powerful that you cannot explain it. It’s God’s peace, every day for the rest of your life!!! What could be better than that?
I have found that, as I LIVE in His will, I have a DESIRE to do things, on a daily basis, the way He does things. Therefore, I don’t want to gossip about people I know and talk about what they’ve done wrong, etc. I don’t want to let my mind think really wrong thoughts about others. I want to love people the way God does. I want to give the way God does. I want to be understanding and kind in all my dealings with other people. I have found that LIVING IN GOD’S WILL MAKES ME LIVING IN A LIFE OF PEACE, QUICKLY FORGIVING EVERY WRONG, AND LOVING LIKE GOD LOVES.
THAT MAKES LIFE A WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT THAN JUST LIVING FROM MY SOUL. ACTUALLY, IT’S KNOWING AND BELIEVING THAT IN MY BORN AGAIN SPIRIT, THERE IS ALL I NEED TO LIVE THE WAY JESUS LIVED HERE ON THIS EARTH. THAT’S LIVING IN TRUTH! THAT’S LIVING IN HIS WILL.
Scripture used in this lesson
1 Thesalonians 5:18