Charles Stanley - God Will Show You His Will
Well, God loves you just the way you are. And He desires to enable all of us to become everything we can possibly become, and achieve what He wants us to achieve in life. That is, He has a purpose and a plan and a will for every single one of us. And He's more than willing to show us what that is. If we really and truly want to know. And the interesting thing about God's will is oftentimes we think about it in terms of just the big picture, here's what God wants me to do in my life or achieve or accomplish. But all of that is only a part of him showing us His will day by day and decision after decision after decision.
Think of all the decisions we make in any given day and God has a purpose and a plan and a will for all of those. There may be some insignificant things, it doesn't make any difference what you do about it; what color shoes you wear or socks or shirt or whatever it might be. But when it comes to decisions God is interested in all those decisions because they flow out of our heart and they're indication of what's in the heart. I want you to turn to a passage in Jeremiah, if you will, the twenty-ninth chapter of Jeremiah. And I want us to read verse of Scripture. I want to say a couple of things about that. And in this twenty-ninth chapter he's writing to the nation of Israel but what he says about them is also true of us.
And if you will look in this eleventh verse of the twenty-ninth chapter, might be a verse you want to put in your notes for certain. And here's what he says, he says, "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.'" You need to mark that passage of Scripture down. That is a promise of God not only to the nation of Israel but it's a promise to any individual who desires to know God's will, purpose, and plan.
And notice the contrast, He says now, I have a plan for you and that plan is for welfare. And that's not welfare like we think in terms of, but it means, the word simply means for happiness, for prosperity, for the good in in your life, for your well-being and your success. The opposite of that is if you don't want to know God's will and walk in it is, He says, and not calamity. That is, trouble, affliction, disaster, and ruin. He says, I have a plan for your life. And you and I have a choice of whether we will walk in the will of God or whether we will not, whether we will do things our way.
So, let's think about it in this light, that God not only has a plan for your life but He will show you what it is. He'll show you His plan, His purpose, His will big things, little things. So, I want to repeat that. Now how do I know that? First of all because He says so. But listen to this, that's characteristic of God. In other words, it's consistent with who He is. How could God expect you and me to do what He wants us to do and if He doesn't tell us? So, it's consistent with who He is that He has a desire for our life and having that desire He not only wants us to know what it is, but He is committed to showing us what His will and purpose and plan is.
Now that is true of a person who's made this first decision. When a person receives Jesus Christ as their personal Savior the Bible says several things have happened and I'll mention them quickly. We're forgiven of our sins, we're redeemed by His blood, we're justified declared no longer unrighteous and we are sanctified, set apart for Him and glorified already. And so, that being true, God wants to enable us to become everything He has in mind every day of our life if we will follow Him, walk in His way and if we will choose in those decisions. Now that's consistent with Him.
A second reason we can believe it is because of what He promises in the Word. For example, if you ask me to sign your Bible I would put this verse under my name more than likely, the sixteenth Psalm if you happen to want to turn to that. and the eleventh verse, "You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy". And as he says, "At Your right hand there are pleasures forever more". And then I think about Colossians chapter one in this awesome verse of Scripture in this particular passage. Here's what Paul says, he says in the light of the way the Colossian people have been living, how grateful he was. And he says in the ninth verse of this first chapter, "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it," that is, of your love and devotion to Christ. "We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all knowledge and wisdom and understanding".
So, think about it, for God to show you how He wants you to live out your life is consistent with who He is. Secondly, He's got promise after promise in the Word of God. Now let me say this about it, God will sometimes go to the extreme to show you what His will is for your life when you really and truly want to know what it is. Now it's very evident according to the Scripture that He will show us His will that that's His desire. So, then the question comes, that is, Alright, so how do I find out? I believe that He has a will for my life, He loves me unconditionally, how am I going to find out what it is?
So, let's begin with this one, that is if you're going to discover the will of God it begins with the Word of God. Because this is where we find the heart of God. This is the way we're led day by day in making decisions. He says in that hundred and nineteenth Psalm in the hundred and fifth verse, he says, "His word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path". He says the entrance of His Word gives us light. That is, spiritual light, wisdom and understanding. If you neglect the Word of God you're going to get out of the will of God because there are so many voices out there telling you what you ought to do and how you ought to do it. And oftentimes criticizing the Word of God. And so, the truth is it's His primary way of speaking to us.
If somebody says, Well, I'm trying to find out what God wants me to do. First thing I say to them, you need to get in the Word of God and start reading. You say, Where do I read? Here's the interesting thing about the power of God's Word, if somebody wants to know the will of God and is willing to get in the Word of God, it's amazing how He will lead you to the verses, the very verses of Scripture that God will give you direction. So, what I want to do is I want to give you all these ways that help you determine what God's Word says and what His will and what His way is for your personal life.
And remember this, if somebody says to you, Well, this here's what I'd do. Well, if I were you. Well, they're not you and the will of God is not the same for everybody. So, God in His love for us has made it possible for you and me to know without a shadow of a doubt, without a question what His will is in any given situation otherwise it'd be inconsistent. How does He expect me to know something if He doesn't show me? He's omniscient. He knows everything. He knows the beginning. He knows the end. He knows the consequences. He knows what's wise, what's unwise. He knows what His plan was before He ever created us.
So, it would be inconsistent with His nature and character not to show us. And the first place you want to go is the Word of God. And this is why Proverbs three, verse five and six has been the anchor verse in my life all these years since I was an early teenager. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not lean to your own understanding. In all your ways," all of them, not some of them, "acknowledge Him," look to Him, trust Him seek Him and, "He'll direct your path". That is a, listen, that's an unwavering promise and everybody ought to have it as an anchor in their decision making process. This is our assurance. Here's what He promises.
So, first of all, the Word of God. The second thing is prayer. That is if I'm going to find out what the will of the Lord is I need to ask Him. In other words, reading the Word I need to ask Him. Lord what is Your will in this given matter? What decision do you want me to make at this point? Or how how am I to handle this? I am to ask Him. With that asking equally is listening. I must be willing to ask Him. I must be willing to listen to Him. Now, first John chapter five fourteenth and fifteenth verses are my anchor verses when it comes to prayer. He says, "This is the confidence, the assurance, the boldness that you and I have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he will hear us: And if we know that he hears us, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him". If I'm listening, He's going to show me.
Remember, it's consistent with being who He is. You would not expect your children to do the right thing if you never tell them what the right thing was. If you wanted them to do something but you wouldn't tell them, Well, you all guess that wouldn't be fair. And so, God doesn't operate that way either. Now, listen carefully, if you're reading the Word and if you're praying and you're not getting anywhere, are you listening? Say amen. Then you look on the inside of you. Because it is not God who's withholding the truth. It is not God who is not willing to speak. Oftentimes there's something on the inside of our thinking, the way we think about something. We've already made up our mind about something or we have some prejudice in our heart against doing this or that.
And so, we've decided well, I'm not sure about it. And so, you need to look inside and ask, God is there anything on the inside of my heart that's not right? And think about this, There's something about stopping to say, God search my heart. Search my heart and know me O God and show me if there's any wicked way within me. That's what the Psalmist said. That is, show me if there's something going, and He will do that. And then there of course, sometimes He shows us by circumstances. So, that every aspect of our life and I want you to see this, every aspect of our life is important. Circumstances. Sometimes God knowing our heart, knowing our willingness, knowing that we want to know what's right and do His will and get in His will, He'll allow things to happen that at first we think is a mistake, we're going to blame somebody else. And we're quick to blame people, for example, we think wronged us when it may be that God just used them to get us heading in the right direction because of what He wanted to do.
Listen, in the life of a child of God who's walking in the will of God there're no such things as just these uncertain kind of circumstances. God, listen to this, God is engineering the circumstances of our life for what is best if we will walk in His way. And somebody might dispute it, but they can't prove it but the Word of God. And I've lived long enough to tell you it is absolutely the truth. The truth, anything else would be inconsistent with who God is. Then of course there's Godly counsel. Very important. Somebody says, Well, you know, sometimes you can get in trouble listening to other people. Absolutely.
So, I want to give you a key about that. If you're going to somebody to ask to for Godly counsel. Let's say for example that you're struggling, you're really trying to find out His will and this is a critical situation, you just want to be sure. So, you want to go talk to somebody. Well, let me say first of all, listen carefully, you're listening, say amen. You find out what kind of lifestyle that person is living themselves before you go asking them about what God is saying to you. Did you get that? You be careful who you ask.
So, number one, the person. And here's a second thing, you need to watch this now, you don't ask them this question, you don't say, What do you think in this given situation I should do? Wrong question. Well, say, What do you ask? Here's what you ask, In this given situation what do you think the Word of God says I should do? There's a lot of difference in those two questions. In this situation what do you think God says about what I should do? That puts it all back on the Word of God, then you're still walking in the right direction. But ungodly advice is terribly destructive.
And then, the last thing I would say would be this, and that is sometimes He'll use very unusual manifestations. For example, look where Moses was, backside of the desert, he'd been for forty years. And so, for God to speak to him He knew that in order to get Moses' attention when he'd been away from Egypt for forty years; he left running because he killed an Egyptian soldier. God had to deal with him. Well, forty years probably, how little did he know about God? So, what does God do? He gives him a burning bush experience that was no question in his mind that God had spoken to him. And the same thing in Acts about Paul. What happened was that God changed his mind but how'd He do it? He saw a vision of a man in Macedonia and Philippi. That is a vision in the west.
And so, everything in his human reason would say, Well, I'm to preach the gospel here. Said, No I want you to go there. And to get his attention, make it absolutely clear to him, He gave him a vision to make it happen. If a person really and truly wants to know the will of God, God will show you if you really and truly want to know His will. Now there are some things that can be hindrances at this point and that is you say, Well, I want to know His will. For example, let me give you a few of them. One of them is self will. You know what you want to do, this is what you plan to do and sometimes that can be so strong you can't hear from God because you've already made up your mind what you're going to do. And you know you've talked to people, maybe made suggestions to them and you knew while you was talking they weren't even listening to you. They were thinking about something else. They'd already made up their mind.
And when somebody says to me, Mhmm mhmm mhmm. Then I want to say, Mm-mm. Because you're not listening. If you're, Mhmm mhmm mhmm, when you're not, in other words, if what I'm saying is serious then you're listening. And don't give me that fast, Mhmm mhmm mhmm because, first of all, you don't know what's coming next and you've already said uh-huh before I said the next thing. So, it's very important that we're careful how we listen and if we really and truly want to know His will, He's going to show us His will but sometimes we have some hindrances we have to deal with. And the first one I would mention is self will. Then a second one is tragic, the influence of others.
You can ask, listen, ask God to show you His will and you just think it's absolutely clear and somebody say, Oh, let me tell you something. They start giving you all the reasons you can't do it. Or all the reasons God certainly wouldn't expect you to do that. God certainly wouldn't ask you to sacrifice that. Oh, that's not the way God operates. People who tell you how God doesn't operate what you want to ask them is, Well, tell me how He does operate? Not what you think I ought to do but how does God operate? God operates consistently by principle. That's the why He operates; not by preference but by principle.
And so, sometimes other people's influence can cause us a lot of trouble in life. A third thing which is natural and that is people ignorant of God's Word. And you know this is tragic what's happening. We're growing up a whole generation who know almost nothing about the word of God. Somebody says, Well, what can a five-year-old learn in church? You would be surprised. In fact, I've seen some five-year-old especially six- and seven- and eight-year-old notes that beat the parent's. Because they listen carefully. And besides that, you know what? It isn't what they fully understand at six and seven and eight, it's getting it in their mind, their heart and the Spirit of God's got something to work with. And the Spirit of God can work in things in your mind and heart years after you have heard them. Then, of course, there's this whole issue of doubt.
Well, now wait a minute I know that's what God says but. Well, what's the cause of your doubt? Is it because you're looking around to see what other people are doing? Is it because in other words, why do you doubt? And remember what He says in James? He says, if we doubt we're like the waves of the sea driven by the wind and tossed, this way, that way, this way. And He says, Let not that person think that he shall receive anything from God. So, if I ask Him I have a reason to believe He's going to show me and I gave you a number of those reasons. First of all, it's consistent with the Word of God and secondly, He promises to show us, why should I doubt it when He says that He will? Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you.
Does it mean I'm going to get it immediately? No, but I will get it. But if I doubt Him, then where am I? Driven by the winds and tossed. Then, of course, this is a serious thing, oftentimes people have feelings of unworthiness. Well, God wouldn't ever say that to me. Well, what makes you feel that you're less than somebody else? Listen, every single one of us in this room is, listen, we are equally loved by God. If you believe that say amen. Well, if we're equally loved by God isn't God willing to be equally active in every single one of our lives? Listen, equally for the simple reason He loves us all the same.
And somebody says, Well, God plays favorites. No, He doesn't. Intimates but not favorites. The closer you get to Him, the more intimate you are with Him, the more you're going to receive and the more your heart's going to be assured and blessed in so many ways. Not favorites, intimates. And He had some, Peter, James, and John. Whatever's going on those three guys somehow; those three had a relationship to Him even more intimately than the rest of them. So, when it comes to things that cause us to miss it it's because we don't feel worthy of it. So, remember this there isn't anybody He loves anymore than He loves you. Then why should I doubt that He won't do the same for me as He will for somebody else. And then of course, the thing that we would normally say, one of the things that keeps us from knowing His will is willful known sin. When you are determined to live a willfully known sinful life, God isn't going to show you anything. He won't except your sin. And He may give you a glimpse possibly of what you could do but until you settle the sin issue in your life then it's not going to happen.
Now say, Okay, I got this part. Here are the ways that He could go about showing me His will. And here are some things that could hinder me. Now, how am I going to know for sure? That's a good question. How am I going to know for sure that I really found out what God wants me to know? And this is what I certainly want you to write down, all of these but especially this because your kids, your teenagers are going to come to you and say, Well, look here's what I'm thinking about doing. It may be something totally off the wall that'll break your heart or it may be something else. So, what do you say to them? So, how can I know for sure? These are very simple but they work.
Number one question, is this decision consistent with the Word of God? Is it consistent with the Word of God? Now, there are some things we just know, you take the Ten Commandments. We know by the Ten Commandments some things are consistent with God's Word, some things are not, no question about it. But there are other decisions that are more difficult, decisions that maybe have to do with the direction of your life or how He wants you to spend or who He wants you to marry or whatever it might be. Whatever job. The question is, is it consistent with the Word of God? Now, watch this, if it isn't consistent with the Word of God, stop. There's no point in going any further. If you're asking Him something and the answer you have at this point is inconsistent with the Word of God, you might as well stop and start all over again. You're heading in the wrong direction.
So, that's number one. Then I think about sometimes a person will say, Well, okay, it looks like to me that I can find a verse of Scripture. Now, watch this, when somebody says, Well, I'm going to find me a verse of Scripture here where God speaks to my heart. Well, you know what? You can't do it that way. In other words, you want to know the truth of God's Word and you want to know what would He say. Then that brings it to the second question here and that's this: Can I honestly ask God to help me achieve that? Looks like the right thing to do. Can I honestly and truly ask Him to help me to achieve that?
So, then of course you have to ask yourself the question, do I have genuine peace about this? And you see Paul said in Ephesians, let the peace of God rule in our heart. That is, if I know the will of God and I'm doing the will of God wouldn't it be logical and right and spiritual and scriptural for Him to give us a peace about it? In other words, he says the peace of God sets as an umpire within our heart to say, You're saved, move on; or not. And all of us have prayed about things, I'm sure you have. And you asked God about it and yet you never had any real peace about it. And that's the way God keeps us restless till He gets us in the right direction to do the right thing. Then of course here's a question, Does this decision fit who I am as a follower of Jesus? If it doesn't then it must not be right for my life.
Another question you might ask is this, does this decision fit God's overall plan for my life? And when you begin to ask these questions, remember this, God loves you as you are. He will enable you to become everything that He desires for you to be. He's going to be deadly honest with you. He wants the best for you. He's planned the best for you. And He is in your life through the Holy Spirit to enable you to understand to discern what is the truth about His will because He wants you to know it. Then the last question I'd ask is this: If I make this decision will this honor God? Will this honor the Lord whom I serve? Will it or will it not?
Does God love you enough to move heaven and earth to show you His will? Yes, He does. Foolish is the man or woman who thinks they're wise enough to get it all figured out. And so, I want to encourage you to not just have heard what you've heard but to have written it down. Put it somewhere you cannot lose it, you know where it is because before the week's out you may meet somebody who needs to read it, hear it or listen to you say it. Your children and your grandchildren need to hear what you have heard this morning. You cannot lose. Amen?
Father how grateful we are and how grateful I am. Thank You that You love us enough that You have the right and the love for us to intervene in our life and our sense of direction to point us in the right direction. We love you for it in Jesus' name, amen. If you've never trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, none of this will work. But if you're willing to, no matter where you are in life, He'll straighten it out and show you how to live your life at its very best. I know His will about your being saved. Here's what He said, It's not My will that anyone should perish. So, if you're not saved I know He says, Behold today is the day of salvation. I know that's the will of God. So, you must do what you believe He wants you to do. But you've heard enough truth this morning in one message to save you from wreck, ruin, heartache, and destruction. Doesn't mean you'll never have any problems but whatever you face He'll bring you through it no matter what.