(Guidance And Decision-Making)
DEFINITION: In Greek there are two terms used for the word “will” in reference to the will of God. One word is “boulema,” which refers to God’s sovereign will. This is His predetermined plan for everything that happens in the universe. This type of “God’s will” is fulfilled regardless of decisions made by man. The “boulema” will of God is written in His Word. There is no need to seek this will of God because it is revealed in the Bible. The other word “thelema” refers to God’s desire for man to experience and live in His will. It refers to His individual plan for each believer. You have the power to choose whether or not you will walk in the “thelema” or individual will of God for your life. It is this “thelema” will, or God’s will for you as an individual, to which we refer when we speak of seeking God’s will.
FACTS ABOUT GOD’S WILL:
Seeking God’s will for your life assumes several things. That you acknowledge there is a God, that He communicates with man, that you can recognize His voice, and that He has something to say. All of these are true according to the revelation in God’s Word. It also assumes you have received Christ as Savior and are a believer (John 10:27).
Never seek guidance through the occult–witchcraft, tarot cards, tea leaves, fortune telling, horoscopes, etc. These are all satanic methods of guidance.
Do not use methods of chance to determine God’s will. These include casting lots or fleeces. These methods were only used prior to the giving of the Holy Spirit in a new dimension where He came to live within believers (Acts 2). A fleece is only mentioned once in the Bible. It was used by Gideon at a time of great national crisis and was for confirmation of God’s will, not for direction. Casting lots was a method similar to rolling dice to make a decision. These methods of guidance were never again mentioned after the giving of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.
Every voice you hear is not God’s voice. The Bible reveals that Satan speaks (Genesis 3). He lies, deceives, and attempts to lead you away from God. Satan even spoke to Jesus (Matthew 4:1-13). Evil spirits have voices (Acts 8:7; Luke 4:33-34). There are also the voice of self– examples of which are found in Luke 16:3 and 18:4 and in Jonah 4:8–and the voices of others who would give you advice. Then there is the voice of God, the voice that as a believer, you want to hear and follow.
God speaks through both the written and revealed Word. The first is called the “logos” Word of God. The second is called the “Rhema” word. The “logos” or written Word always agrees with the “rhema” or spoken, life-giving Word. A “rhema” Word from God usually applies to a specific situation, meets a personal need, and provides individual guidance. A “rhema” Word may be communicated through a sermon or a verse from the Bible which suddenly strikes you with great meaning. It may be spoken to you by God through the use of spiritual gifts. It may also be spoken in your inner spirit by the Lord. God will never guide you through a “rhema” personal word from God to do anything that conflicts with His written Word.
God reveals His will through the written Word of God, through counselors, through circumstances, and through open and closed doors of opportunity. God also gives supernatural guidance through angels, miracles, dreams, visions, or prophetic words spoken into your life. God sometimes speaks with an audible voice, but most often He communicates through a voice in your spirit. One of the most important ministries of the Holy Spirit is to guide believers into God’s will: “When He, the Spirit of truth is come (the Holy Spirit), He will guide you into all truth. . . and He will show you things to come and He shall receive of mine (God’s will) and show it to you” (John 16:13-14, KJV).
DEALING WITH GOD’S WILL:
Immerse yourself in the Word of God. Many questions regarding guidance are answered in God’s Word. For example, the question of whether or not a believer should marry an unbeliever is addressed clearly in 1 Corinthians 6:14. There is no need to seek additional guidance or pray about something that is already revealed in God’s Word.
Pray for God’s will to be done. Jesus prayed: “…yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Make this your prayer also. Ask God to teach you to do His will and to lead you by His Spirit (Psalm 143:10). If you do not know God’s will in a certain situation, allow the Holy Spirit to pray through you because He intercedes according to the will of God (Romans 8:26).
Seek Godly counsel. Never go to a secular counselor, as they do not offer advice based on God’s Word. As a believer, you cannot find God’s purposes and plans for your life through advice from someone who does not know God and His Word (Proverbs 12:15).
Fulfill God’s will for each day. If you obey the Word of God and His direction for each day, someday you will look back over your lifetime and realize you have walked in His will for a lifetime.
Expect God to open and close doors of opportunity. The Apostle Paul experienced both closed and open doors of opportunity–and so will you (1 Corinthians 16:9; Acts 16:6). Step through the open doors and stop at the closed doors, recognizing that closed doors are also used to direct your life. Never try to open a door that God has closed.
Trust God to guide you even when you do not understand. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Use the Biblical keys for guidance given in Proverbs 34:5-6 and Romans 12:1-2.
Remember that the individual will of God for you will never conflict with the moral will of God revealed in His Word.
Ask these questions when making decisions regarding questionable practices–things not mentioned in the Bible as being either right or wrong:
-Does it glorify God?
-What is your motivation for wanting to do this?
-Is it necessary?
-Does it promote spiritual growth?
-Is it an enslaving habit?
-Is it a compromise?
-Will it lead to temptation?
-Does it give the appearance of evil?
-Does it violate your conscience?
-How will it affect others?
Recognize that the peace of the Holy Spirit is your guide. For decisions not specifically dealt with by Biblical command, principle, or example, the peace of the Holy Spirit is your guide. When you make a decision regarding a questionable practice or life situation and you do not have peace in your spirit, continue to seek the Lord. Do not act until you have the peace of God confirming your choice.
Make wise decisions. Ask God for wisdom to make good decisions each day, and He will give it (James 1:5).
If you make a bad decision, do not give up in despair. Many people in the Bible strayed from the will of God but returned to fulfill their destinies: The prophet Jonah; the Apostle Peter; John Mark; and King David are some key examples. If this happens to you, admit your failure, repent, determine where you got off course, and correct your errors. Then seek God for new direction and act upon it.
Always remember that decisions determine destiny. Even your eternal destiny is determined by the decision you make regarding Jesus Christ.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT GOD’S WILL:
At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses. (Numbers 9:23)
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies– make straight your way before me. (Psalm 5:8)
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. (Psalm 25:9)
Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. (Psalm 27:11)
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. (Psalm 31:3)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8)
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: (Psalm 37:5)
If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23)
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2)
I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:8)
Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. (Psalm 43:3)
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. (Psalm 48:14)
You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory. (Psalm 73:24, NKJV)
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth. (Psalm 86:11)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)
Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. (Psalm 119:133)
Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8)
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:10)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure. (Proverbs 11:14)
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. (Proverbs 12:15, NKJV)
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts. (Proverbs 21:2, NKJV)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16)
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)
I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
Who are my mother and my brothers? he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother. (Mark 3:33-35)
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. (Luke 22:42)
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38)
If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. (John 7:17)
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)
When He, the Spirit of truth is come (the Holy Spirit), He will guide you into all truth. . . and He will show you things to come and He shall receive of mine (God’s will) and show it to you. (John 16:13-14, KJV)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. 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. (Romans 12:1-2)
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:26)
And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. (Ephesians 1:9-10)
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:17)
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)
We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9)
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.'” (Hebrews 3:7-1, NKJV)
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:36)
May the God of peace … equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.(James 1:5-8)
The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:17)
(For a detailed study regarding scriptural guidance, obtain the Harvestime International Network course entitled “Knowing God’s Voice” available at http://www.harvestime.org)