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God’s Plan…or…My Plan?

(discerning God’s will)
by  Don Myers


I. God’s Will is the Best Possible Plan.
Ephesians 1:1-20; Colossians 2:2-10

A. The Plan: We can do many things without God (acquire wealth…start a business…get an education…etc.), but only in God’s will can we find true joy, fulfillment, faithfulness…and expect someday to hear from Him… “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

That wonderful plan God has already designed for your life and mine contains the very best of Purpose, Adventure, Fulfillment, Joy, and new lessons.

B. The Trust:. Whom do you trust?  Is there a person in your life with whom you would trust your very life, if necessary?  A spouse…a parent…a sibling…a very good friend?  Think about that person.  And then realize that God loves you infinitely more than that person with whom you would trust your life!

We can trust someone who loves us perfectly…perfect love drives out all fear” 1 John 4:18.“Then trust the Lord completely, don’t even trust yourself.  In everything you do, put God first and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.”  Proverbs 3:5 (LB)

II. Many Christians are Not Experiencing God’s Will for Their Lives. Why…What’s Wrong?

A. Eyes focused on things. A failure to yield our possessions   …if there is something you own which you can’t give away,   you don’t own it, it owns you!

Matthew 25:21…If God doesn’t get your attention on the ‘one-talent’ propositions in life, you’ll never get a chance at the ten talent ones!  Our sinful nature…”All we, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6)   The ‘self-made man’ usually worships his creator…self!

B.   Lack of knowledge about how to find God’s will (from scripture).  There are many tests and formulas. Some valid…some misleading…and some dangerous.

  1. The ‘closed door/open door’ policy (dashing to and fro looking for ‘open doors’ but finding only what seems to be ‘closed doors.’  Invalid because:
    • Looks for God’s will through a process of elimination rather than seeking god’s best first.
    • Fails to employ our God-given Holy Spirit anointed sound mind.
    • Allows elements of chance to influence a decision.
    • Not all closed doors are really closed…not all barriers are erected by God…some are mirages authored by the enemy to discourage and misdirect..When Paul prayed for an open door in Colossians 4:3, it was not for guidance, but for opportunity.  In 2 Corinthians 2:12 he actually chose to walk away from an ‘open door’ in order to find Titus.  He chose to do so on the basis of the wise decision that finding Titus was of more value to the cause of Christ!

2. Impressions. Valid when:

  • Agrees with the Word of God.
  • The end involved gives Glory to the Lord Jesus.
  • It is reasonable (there are other voices our there).

3. The ‘God helps him who helps himself theory’There is no such verse in scripture…God cannot help us when we are blocking His direction by ‘doing it ourselves’ apart from his guidance and power.

4.Looking for some big ‘Forty Year Plan. Invalid because God’s will is that wonderful settled  peace (assurance) that ‘I am doing what God has directed, where He has directed…at this time. God rarely gives more light than needed for the next step.

5. Looking for God’s will in ‘Happenings.’ Invalid because although happiness may depend upon ‘happenings’…Joy depends only upon God!.

6.Looking for God’s will in some location or vocation. Invalid because God’s will is a Relationship (with Christ)…not a geographical or vocational search.7. What about a ‘fleece’ (Judges 6:36-40)?  Gideon’s fleece was not for guidance because God had already given specific guidance.  Gideon was not asking for circumstantial evidence, but for confirmation


III.   God Wants Us to Know His Will for Our Lives.
His will for our lives is not designed as a complicated mystery or puzzle which we have to decipher.  He is a God of love.

Psalm 25:14…”The Lord Confides In Those Who Reverence Him.  He Makes His Covenant Known To Them.”John 7:17  “Anyone Who Chooses To Do God’s Will, Shall Know It.”


IV. How Can We Know God’s Will for Our Lives?  Three Conditions:

  1. Are you willing to do God’s will BEFORE you know what it is?
  2. Are you,  right now, clean? …cleansed according to 1 John 1:9 (Spiritual Breathing).  We cannot expect to know God’s will if we are knowingly harboring unconfessed sin.
  3. Are you surrendered …focused on Christ?  (Filled with the Holy Spirit…according to Ephesians 5:18)?

GOOD NEWS: If Christ is on the throne of your life  right now…you are in the exact center of God’s will for your life…because God’s will is not a location or vocation…it is a relationship.  When we stay in that relationship, the vocation/location issues work themselves out in many natural and supernatural ways!

V. Why are We Here?

Our first and foremost ‘calling’ is a simple one.  We are called to Jesus.  That is, we are called to know Jesus more and more…better and better.  We are called to an intimate relationship with the Lord of Lords.

Secondly: There is a unique calling common to ALL Christians?  We are appointed as Ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20.  The Great Commission to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) should be a continuous measurement of the use of our time, talent and treasure.  Never lose sight of your primary calling.  II Timothy 4:5…But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist “discharge all the duties of your of your ministry.”  This is not an instruction to be a ‘Billy Graham’…but simply to do the ‘work’ of evangelism as a valid portion of your daily lifestyle.  God is looking for full-time Christian architects, engineers, plumbers, postmen, butchers, policemen, carpenters, scientists, nurses, etc.

VI. Change. From time to time God will bring us to an ‘intersection’ in our life when an imminent change is obvious…He is about to open a new ‘chapter’ in our adventure and the Calling of following Jesus.

A.  As we seek to discern His will in regard to an approaching ‘change, it is often helpful to remember the following:

  1. Do Our Homework (gathering the facts).  God specializes in the impossible (doing for us what we cannot do).  But He will not do for us what we can clearly do with our own Holy Spirit-empowered mind…i.e. investigate fully all ‘options’ He has opened before us (there is always more than one and usually at least three potential ‘good’ options).
  2. Evaluation.  Each option should be evaluated and measured by the following criteria:
    1. Prayer.  Ask God to guide and thank Him for wisdom.
    2. Make a ‘pro and con’ list evaluating the opportunities each option offers for spiritual ministry (point V-b above).
    3. A comparison to ‘heart’s desire.’  If you have been walking with the Lord (Christ on the throne), then the ‘desires of the heart’ are a valid confirmation.  Psalm 37:4…”Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  ‘Delighting yourself in the Lord is another way of describing ‘Christ on the throne’ lifestyle…a focus and close relationship with God which gives Him access to our heart (decision-making center) and…to implant a desire for that very thing in our heart…the ‘next chapter’ which he is about to open to us.Since only God, our Creator, knows what will enable us to be fruitful, fulfilled and foster maturity, only He can design a future tailored to our unique needs, talents and gifts.  John 10:10 says Jesus came to give us abundant life.  Thus…when the Lord reveals the next ‘chapter’ prepared for us and we  say, ‘Thank you, Lord, that is just what I want’…is that not a manifestation of the abundant life?…doing what we were created to do and doing it with all our heart!
    4. Take the counsel of men and women-of-God whose testimony and walk-with-the-Lord you respect.
    5. The inner voice of the Holy Spirit.
    6. Convergence and timing of circumstances.

3.  Step of Faith. When there is a certain synchronization of the above evaluations on one of the options, then is the time for a ‘Step of Faith.’  Not a ‘leap’ or ‘jump’…but merely a step…in the direction of that option. Psalm 37:23, 24…“If the Lord delights in a man’s way he makes his steps firm; although he stumble he will not fall for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”  The step may be a very small one…such as filling an application…or going for an interview.  But a ‘step of faith’ is very important.  Some Christians commit the error of doing their homework and evaluation but then sitting and waiting on God to give a sign or otherwise overtly confirm.  But if that were the way God leads, faith would not be needed.  “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”…Hebrews 11:6

4. Confirmation. The ‘step of faith’ allows God to confirm the direction of the ‘step’ by delivering His Perfect Peace (the Peace that transcends all comprehension…Philippians 4:7)…or…a perfect lack-of-peace.  The difference between these two is unmistakable.  If the peace is there, keep stepping…in the direction toward that option…and God will continue to confirm.  If the peace is lacking, re-evaluate and pray again about the options.  Then take another ‘step of faith.’

“How can I Recognize my Destiny?

First it’s a desire that won’t let you go.  Paul cried, “woe to me, if I do not preach…(1 Corinthians 9:16).  Being queen was Esther’s position, but saving god’s people was her destiny.  That’s why she risked everything and said, “…If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). We’re not important–God’s purpose is!

Second, your destiny will be more than a job, it’ll be a joy.  Yes there will be sacrifices but through it all you will say, like David,“I delight to do thy will, O my God.” (Psalm 40:8)  What a way to live!

Third your destiny will unlock your creativity.  It will open doors and bring the right people to you.  God’s purpose always carries with it God’s favor!

Finally, your destiny fulfilled is the only thing you will want to face God with.  He won’t say ‘well done’ over the money you’ve made or the reputation you’ve built.  He’ll only say it because you found and fulfilled His purpose.

This world delivers doubt and death
But we are dying too
For no bomb is so surely mortal
As death inside of you.

Some men die by bullets
Some men go down in flames
But most men perish inch by inch
In play at little games.

Surrendering to God’s will is no little game…but rather the ultimate in adventure.  Yes, God’s Will includes trouble, trials, and tragedy…but it also includes the problem-solver and God of all comfort, our Savior.