Sunday, August 06, 2006

How do I Know God's Will?


As Christians we are called to do God's will. But how do we know what God wants us to do? Does he want me to go to pursue graduate studies or embark on an alternative career like teaching? Does he want me to date now or wait? Am I cut out for religious life or married life? How do we know what God's will is? Do we just pray, and he'll tell us? I doubt anyone of us has heard the audible voice of God. How does he tell us what to do?

When called to make a decision, many pray and ask for a sign. The problem with this is that we set the conditions for the sign. If what we want is something we so much desire, we may ask for an easy sign. And if what is to be decided is something tough - like deciding on my vocation - I may ask for an equally tough sign.

Some ask for God's guidance but do not really try to discern what God has to tell him through the daily events in his life. Some of us just do not know how to read the signposts along the way. Hence, we sometimes end up missing the point of our lives.

So how do know God's will and not just try to feel it (like Existentialists?)

There are Five principles in determining God's Will.

#1. Scripture. God guides us through daily meditation of scriptures. When we pray with Scriptures, God's word somehow comes across us in a very personal way. His words are situated in our very own context. Hence, his message, although universal, is at the same time particularized in my very own context. Meditation on the daily gospel and going to the Eucharist daily are great venues through which God can share with us His thoughts and desires in a very personal way.

#2. Godly Wisdom. Wisdom is "Knowledge Righteously Applied." You can have all the Bible Knowledge possible, and decide not to use it. Satan knows the Bible better than you do, but he obviously does not follow its teaching. You have to take God's word and apply it in your life.

With wisdom, you also will be able to determine what to do when faced with two Biblical options. Should I go to college or go to Africa and be a missionary? Wisdom will be able to take the knowledge of the Bible and apply it to your life situation.

#3. Godly Counsel (Teaching, Training and Equipping). God did not create us to be alone. He created us in fellowship with one another. He set up the family so that the parents can teach, train and equip the children how to worship and serve God. He placed the pastor and the elders to do the same in the church. He gave us other brothers and sisters to teach us how to live more Biblically. He gave us the body of believers. Godly Counsel can help us know God's will more.

#4. Open Doors. If God wants you to go in a certain direction he will open doors for you. Or he will close certain doors. But be wary, Satan can open doors too. You must use Godly Wisdom, Godly Counsel and the Bible to determine who opened that door.

#5. Peace of Heart. This principle is last and purposely so. If you are where God wants you to be, no matter how stressful it might be, you will have an inner peace about it. But, be warned, too many Christians use this as the only determiner of God's will. If you only use this, you are basically only doing what you feel, and what gives you peace. This is not the peace that God gives. It's a wrongful peace that we get in doing what we want. This peace is false and can last for a long time, but it will eventually fade.

Some might think that this process of determining God's will is too much like a check list and takes faith out of the picture. But God is the one who gave us the Bible, he is the one who tell us to pray and ask for wisdom, he is the one who gave us parents, the church to teach us what to do and how to live and he is the one who give us the possibility of peace. He gave us all these things to grow our faith. Having greater faith is not knowing less so that you can have more to believe in. But greater faith is knowing the source of that faith even more.

To Discern God's Will better you must Know God more. So go out and study your Bible, ask for wisdom, seek learning from parents, church and other believers. Know God more and you will better know what his will for you is.

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