Many earnest Christians agonize over seeking God’s will for their lives. There are times when the Lord will clearly give a vision for the future, for “Where there is no vision the people perish”, (Proverbs 29:18), but the full details are rarely revealed in the beginning.
Consider the record of Joseph’s life which begins in Genesis 37 and continues in the ensuing chapters. The Lord gives 17 year old Joseph dreams with a vague interpretation that his brothers and father will one day bow down to him. His father rebuked him for his impudence and the dreams served to increase the brothers’ hatred and jealousy of him as their father’s favourite son. When Joseph’s brothers attacked him and sold him to some travelling Ishmaelites, Joseph would never have conceived at that stage that it was all part of God’s plan to remove him to Egypt. Here, in the next stage of his formative years in following the Lord, he would have gone through some dark times. He was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, unjustly imprisoned and forgotten about until God’s appointed time when his life took a very favourable turn. God gave him favour with Pharaoh. He was released from prison and elevated to the highest position in the land next to Pharaoh. As the record of his life continues, we see the dreams Joseph had in his youth fulfilled, but Joseph could never have imagined the detail those dreams encompassed in the fullness of time.
God rarely reveals the full detail of our future with Him. If we had God’s knowledge of the details of such, we would have no grounds to trust Him in a daily, step by step relationship. Instead of fretting over the details of finding God’s will for our future, let us heed His word to us on a daily basis. Hebrews 3:7-8 adjures us: “Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the day of provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness”. In order to hear “His Voice” we must refuse the cacophony of other voices that stream from the media of television, radio, newspapers and social media. Remember, only what God says is true, only what His Holy Spirit of truth witnesses to my spirit. As I hear that witness, I must choose and embrace it and make it part of my life in a living demonstration, refusing all the other voices.
The devil is very cunning at taking a truth and twisting it. It may bear some truth but it is not the whole truth. He is the master of deceit. God’s word warns us to beware of his wiles.
Beware also of our fleshly nature which can employ the same tactics to make ourselves look good in others’ eyes. We, too, can be found guilty in God’s eyes, of not being fully transparent with people. We can excuse ourselves to others with a statement that is true, but not the whole truth. I may try to hide from others to appear good or right in their eyes, but God sees my inner motive. I cannot hide from God! Better to tell the whole truth and please God rather than man. Take up your cross – Jesus said – the dying to self preservation must be done daily. Paul said, “…I die daily”, 1 Corinthians 15:31.
God cares more about our obedience to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis, (TODAY, if you will hear His voice…….), than fretting about the detail of decisions in the future. God promises us grace for the day, we cannot access Monday’s grace on Friday!
Jesus taught us along these lines, Matthew 6: 25-34. In the last two verses of this passage He instructs, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for tomorrow, for tomorrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.”
“Take no thought….” – In other words, “Do not worry!”
God will reveal information to me on a “need to know” basis according to His thoughts and plans, not mine! This leaves plenty of scope for me to trust Him with the unknown. On a daily basis, God deems that I do not need to know everything, but I do need to access His peace and rest. Here I find myself trusting in His safe hands. He alone is my security, my strong tower, my place of safety – whether it be in a safe harbour or the storms on the high seas. As the hymn writer, Cleland McAfee, wrote: “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God”. Our place of daily safety.
How do I make the changes God requires for my life. A famous quote is “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Though some may disagree with the definition, we can agree that for change to take place, we have to do some things differently.
In order for change to take place I have to start somewhere. As I ask and listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit daily, my obedience will gradually increase my hearing and recognition of that Voice. I will make mistakes along the way, but as I embrace humility, I will see these as learning opportunities to hear more clearly, follow and obey. Some people fear making a mistake. If I do what I do to the Lord, is it a mistake? God sees my heart, knows I did it to Him and He will show me the error I made in order that I may learn from it and not repeat it again. This is the School of the Spirit as He brings us on, one step at a time, line upon line, as we are being conformed to the image of God’s beautiful Son.
The world is experiencing dark times but we are the children of light. “We have come to the kingdom for such a time as this!”
“Today, if you will hear His voice…..harden not your heart”. Delayed obedience is not obedience. I may not want to do what God requires but as I declare to the Lord my state of unwillingness, to obey God’s will necessitates relinquishing mine. As I surrender my agenda to the Lord and ask that He works in me to come to the place of glad obedience, I discover the truth of God’s word: Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will, and to do, of His good pleasure”. As I surrender my will I find the joy of His will being worked in me and Father’s good pleasure becomes my good pleasure. Joy, joy! The divine exchange has been worked in my life. Father takes an unwilling vessel, works His will in me, He does all the work, His is all the credit. Glory to God!
We are all in this process until more and more it becomes a lifestyle and an acquired taste! The more we daily surrender and obey His voice, the more we will be perfected in the Beloved. In God’s eyes, He sees me through Calvary, as righteous in Christ Jesus, but the fulfillment of Ephesians 4, is an incremental daily working to bring each of us to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice”, John 10:27. As I “live close” to the Shepherd I will hear.