We’ve seen how God’s plan is always for good. We’ve also seen how our circumstances could be the result of our own actions or they could just be the effects of living in a sinful world with sinful people. Whatever the cause, God always wants us to do the right thing (if at all possible – Romans 12:18, Philippians 3:13-14). God will use our decisions, our obedience, and our surrounding circumstances to display His glory (1 Peter 2:12) as well as to shape us into the image and character of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29a). There’s more to our life than dating the right person, going to the right school, or taking the right job. God may be less concerned with the options we have and more concerned with our attitudes and actions as we live out with whatever choice we take.
So, even before we seek out God’s Will for those hard decisions in life, we must make sure we are also seeking to know how we should act on a normal basis. We can simply open the Bible to nearly any page and see God telling us things we need to know and do. We’ve already seen several of those. 1 Peter 2:15 – God’s Will is to do good. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – God’s Will is to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 – God’s Will is to be sanctified (set apart as holy), avoid sexual immorality, and control yourself. Romans 12:18 – God’s Will is to live at peace with all people. Ephesians 5:22-25 – God’s Will is for a husband to love his wife and a wife to submit to her husband. And the list goes on and on.
What makes those commands hard to keep is when the situation to apply those commands is more difficult and not so delightful. “Love your neighbor as yourself” can be more difficult to follow when we share property lines with someone who isn’t so pleasant, or when we discover that God calls anyone we cross paths with to be our “neighbor.” There’s a lot of value in seeking God’s instructions and guidelines when there isn’t a decision to be made. So, when a decision needs to be made, we aren’t having to dig so wide and deep into Scripture to discern what we need to do.
How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! 2 Instead, his delight is in the LORD’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. 4 The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not survive the judgment, and sinners will not be in the community of the righteous. 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin. (Ps. 1:1-6)
Psalms 1 sets the stage for the entire book of Psalms. There are two general paths to take: the path of seeking God’s instructions and the path of going where ever the wind takes you. The first path leads to happiness, stability, productivity, prosperity, and the ability to endure. The second path leads to instability and of one’s life falling apart. The first path is accomplished by delighting and meditating on God’s commands. This person can identify between sensible and foolish advice. They can determine if the next step is safe or if it’s full of trouble. And isn’t that what we are trying to find out as we are searching for “God’s Will”? Aren’t we searching for the best path? Aren’t we searching for the best practical advice?
God didn’t intend for His Will to be something difficult to find. He has laid out so many commands and principles right in the Scriptures. And even if we need help, we can simply ask for wisdom and He freely gives it (James 1:5).
PAUSE AND PRAY
Take a few moments and evaluate your normal study time in God’s Word. Are you regularly reading and thinking about how to apply that daily wisdom? Are you taking something you read (or heard from the Sunday message) and thinking about it throughout the week on what it means for your situation and context? Begin seeking out a Bible reading plan if you don’t already have one. Determine to start one after this study. If you need help finding a Bible reading plan, check with others in your Life Group or ask one of the pastors at Hope.
This is part of a 4 week devotional plan for the series “Figuring Out God’s Will.” For complete details, see here.