Struggling to Know God’s Will? . . . A Guest Post By Lori Hatcher
Lori always inspires me to trust God more and walk with Him more faithfully.
Today Lori encourages us with a guest post on a topic we all face because life gives us so many options: How can we know God’s will?
Enjoy Lori’s wise insight and then click on over to her blog, Hungry for God, Starving for Time, and subscribe.
Struggling to Know God’s Will?
by Lori Hatcher
“I’ve been chasing this dream for years,” a friend said, “but I’m not convinced it’s God’s will for me. And I’m afraid I’m running right past the really important stuff sitting right in front of me.”
It’s a common dilemma, one I struggle with, too. Our world offers so many opportunities. How do we know what’s God’s will for us?
A dozen requests to serve on a board, volunteer for a ministry, or work with needy individuals. And opportunities to give? Oh my. Every month I receive requests for support from missionaries, non-profits, and ministries. And then there are the needs of my family. And friends. My church, my neighbors, and my circle of influence. Everyone wants a share of my time and energy, and I want to help them all. They’re all good causes.
But my time, energy, and money isn’t as expansive as my heart. They have limits.
How do I decide where to spend the resources I have? How do I know, like my friend, which dreams to chase without missing the calling sitting right there in front of me? How can I determine what is God’s will for this day, this season, this time in my life?
“The good is the enemy of the best,” Oswald Chambers said, and it is true. It’s so easy to say “Yes” to a hundred good things. But every time we say “Yes” to one thing, we say “No” to two or three others. Every choice we make has trickle-down effects.
An event in 1 Samuel 15 reminded me of this good versus best principle. As King Saul prepared to lead the Israelites into battle against the Amalekites, God gave him very specific instructions through the prophet Samuel: “I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them” (v. 2).
Saul had clear instructions, but he chose not to obey. He instructed his men to kill the Amalekites, “but Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs– everything that was good” (v. 15:9). Saul chose the good instead of the best.
The good, in his mind, was to spare King Agag’s life and keep the best of the livestock. History tells us otherwise.
The best is to obey the Lord. Every time.
So how can we, 21st-century Christians with no prophet to speak God’s words into our ears, know what is best? We begin with obedience.
“To obey is better than sacrifice,” Samuel said as he viewed the evidence of Saul’s sin. God doesn’t care whether we’re rich, successful, or highly-esteemed. He cares if we obey him. Every day, in every way.
And how do we know what he wants us to do? We can’t, like King Saul, consult our resident prophet for advice. But we have something better—the Holy Spirit who lives inside us. “He will guide you into all truth,” Jesus promised.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, God the Father speaks to his children in a variety of ways:
Through his Word (Psalm 119:105).
Through his people (Proverbs 11:14).
Through circumstances (Acts 16:6-10).
And through the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit (James 1:5).
James 1:5 promises, “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.”
So the next time you wonder what God’s will is, large or small, begin with prayer. Ask him to show you. Then search his Word for principles to apply. Seek the advice of godly people, especially if it’s a big decision. Watch how the circumstances unfold around you. Do they confirm or challenge the direction you think you should go? Finally, sit quietly before the Lord so you can hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit speak to your soul.
If you sincerely seek God’s will, he will reveal it to you. Your obedience will still require a measure of faith, but he will guide you. It’s his nature. The Good Shepherd never sends his sheep on alone. Instead, he goes before us every step of the way.
“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:3-4).
Now it’s your turn. In what area are you struggling to discern God’s will? Which of the steps above might help bring further clarity?