Yesterday we identified the problem: we don’t know the will of God for our lives. We saw that we need to believe that God’s Word is true, that He answers prayer, and that He still speaks to us today. We learned that we will not find God’s will for our lives from other people; we need to hear from God ourselves. And we discovered that we need to ask the question with expectancy that we will receive the answer. Now we will look a little more closely at how we must respond to the answers He gives us.
So many things in life require a series of steps to complete; and these steps are not always pleasant. And if we try to skip steps, then we end up with a less-than-desired result at best, or we find we need to undo everything and start over. It’s similar to training for a race, for instance. If you want to do well in the race, then you need to train for it. And that training involves hard work and pain. The suffering that you endure in training prepares you for the event. If you don’t train, you will not perform very well when it matters.
There’s are reasons why God seldom gives us a vision, all at once, of the things that he wants us to do. For starters, the vision is often bigger than we can conceive. You see, God chooses to use us when we have made ourselves available. And He often chooses us for tasks that are beyond our abilities so that we must rely on His abilities. And sometimes God doesn’t show us the big picture all at once because seeing the things we have to get through to arrive there would be too much for us, and we might choose not to seek His will.
When my son was a child he would destroy his room. You literally couldn’t find a space on the floor where you could step. As one would expect, when he was told to clean it up he needed guidance; the task was simply overwhelming for him. So we would divide the job into several smaller tasks–put Legos in their bin, put the trucks on the floor in the closet, put books on the shelf, etc.–to make it more manageable. He couldn’t do it without direction.
It’s the same way when it comes to God’s will. We need to fulfill the smaller tasks that culminate, eventually, in a big picture. learning God’s will, big picture, begins with obeying God’s will, little picture. We need to undergo training before we can run the race!
“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:7-8 ESV emphasis mine). The scriptures are very clear on what God expects from those who follow Jesus. Love, forgiveness, charity, humility, etc.
God uses the scriptures, and His Holy Spirit, to shape us into His will. In my experience, however, God rarely asks us to work on more than one area at a time. When we read the scriptures, we should always ask the Lord to show us areas of our lives where we need to repent and grow. The psalmist wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalms 139:23-24 ESV). And yesterday’s key text, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! let your good Spirit lead me on level ground (Psalms 143:10 ESV)!
God isn’t keeping you or me in the dark. He wants us to fulfill all of His plans for us. But He wants to guide us through, step by step. When it comes to the big picture, It’s kind of like some spy or military shows, “that information is ,need to know.'” As we learn to be obedient to the scriptures, we will find more clarity with regard to His plans.
On Monday we will conclude this series by looking at God’s “still, small voice.”