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Feb 1, 2009

Knowing the Will of God - Respond Like Christ

Abby is doing a little better. Some new medicine seems to have calmed down the constant wretching.

Sunday is a pretty good day to do another post on Knowing God's Will. Here are a few responses from me to some of your comments to the last post on this topic:
  • Head coverings, hair ahd holy kisses - all social customs not the same as Levitical law or New Testament doctrine. It would be the equivalent of hats, handshakes and hugs today. The instructions always had a spiritual reason: modesty, fellowship, roles, etc. There were deeper principles at stake that were manifested in social customs of the day. We still need to apply the spiritual principles today, but doing it within the scope of our social customs.
  • Thank you for some of the very kind compliments about my teaching.
  • God's will for adoption is no different than knowing God's will for anything. Apply the principles we are discussing, and you will know God's will. We do have the added variable that taking care of orphans is "pure and undefiled" Christianity.

Knowing the Will of God - Respond Like Christ

1 John 2:17 - And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (NKJV)

I doubt there has ever been a true Christian that has not struggled frequently with discerning God's Will for their life, whether it's a simple decision facing them, or the general course of their entire life. Knowing God's Will is not only possible, I believe that it does not have to be the mysterious frustration that it is for most.

Bible study, prayer and meditation are the hard work of knowing God's Will. And therein lies the problem: it's hard work. That's why it seems so elusive to many Christians. Let's review quickly. When trying to determine God's will:

  • First off, does God's Word contain a plain and direct answer to your question or circumstance?
  • Ask yourself "is this really necessary?"

As you can already guess, this is not an "easy" process. We have to work hard and diligently to discern God's Will. What's more... the answer is not always a simple "yes" or "no", "black" or "white" answer. Sometimes both answers can be correct, or both incorrect. We might even be asking the wrong question.

God may have uses for either answer. Or you may get NO answer. Or a delayed answer. Or an answer you don't understand.

But don't let that frustrate you. It's all a part of learning the mind of Christ and "drawing near" to God. Let's look at today's question... when trying to discover God's Will about a question or circumstance, ask yourself:

  • How would Christ respond?

It is regretful that this idea has turned into a shallow commercial fad (WWJD). The "what would Jesus do" craze is dying out now but for a time was all the rage. Like most fads it probably started from a sincere and well-meaning effort, but in the end, like most popular trends, there was very little authenticity on a large-scale. For a time everyone you saw from the common guy on the street, to the world-famous sports star was wearing something that had W. W. J. D. plastered on it.

Regardless of the world's abuse of the phrase, it is still very applicable when trying to discern God's Will. What would Jesus do? How can I respond or decide in a way that is Christ-like?

Any time, and in any way, that we act like Christ, speak like Christ or make decisions that Jesus would make, then of course it is the right thing to do. But the trick here is knowing Christ well enough to be able to discern which decision He would make and of course that brings us back to the foundation of knowing God's Will: Bible study, prayer and meditation.

When we respond as Christ would respond, then we are walking the "worthy walk" (Col 1.10; 1Thess 2.12). Consider this:

1 John 2:5-6 - But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (NKJV)

We know we truly belong to Christ when we keep his Word and anyone who is in Christ should walk as Christ walked. In other words we should choose as Jesus would choose, speak the words that Jesus would speak, and act the way Jesus would act. In doing so, we will of course know, and be, in the Will of God.

But none of that is possible if we don't know Jesus intimately. And how do you accomplish that? Like a broken record I keep coming back to the same answer:

Bible study, prayer, time with God and meditation.

I wish that I had some exciting new 10 step method, or seven secrets to success or three-day seminar that would magically replace the hard work of Bible study and prayer with an easy, fun and entertaining process but it just doesn't work that way (and in all seriousness I'm glad it does not).

Do you want to know God's Will? First, search the Bible for a clear and direct answer. If there is none, then ask yourself "is this really necessary?" and " how can I respond like Christ?"

Hard work but worth the effort. I look forward to your comments and questions...

~ Brent


Rissa said...

Glad to hear Abby is feeling better!!
Been enjoying ur knowing God's will posts! Thanks! & God bless

Following Him said...

Glad that Miss Abby finally has something that is making her feel a bit better! Love this post :)

Mel said...

It is good to hear Abby is doing better. I know I struggle with knowing what the will of God is in alot of things...I always wish He would give me a post it note with the answer on it!!

Nathalie Bannier said...

Strengthened by Grace
Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1)
Great strength is necessary for living as God intends. The grace of our Lord Jesus is where that strength is to be found. "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Some of the specific reasons we need strength are listed in the immediate context of this verse.

Part of our calling as believers in Christ is passing on to others the biblical truths that God has taught us. "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2). Discipling others in God's truth can be demanding and discouraging. Strength is needed. "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."

Another aspect of our life as disciples of Jesus is functioning as spiritual soldiers. "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (verse 3). We are the Lord's warriors in a worldwide, lifelong spiritual battle. The battle has been won by our Commander, Jesus. However, the enemy will not stop striking back until he is confined forever. As Jesus' soldiers, we face many hardships. Again, strength is needed. "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."

Another perspective on following Jesus is that of an athlete. "And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules" (verse 5). As it is in athletics, the Christian life requires discipline, training, and the exertion of great measures of energy. Yet again, strength is needed. "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."

One additional analogy of our life in Christ is that of a farmer. "The hard-working farmer must be first to partake of the crops" (verse 6). As with farmers, we are to sow the seed of the word upon people's hearts. We are to water that seed through prayer. We are to reap a harvest of righteousness. Farming is strenuous work. Once more, strength is needed. "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."

How wonderful that God did not limit His grace to justification. We need it just as much for sanctification. We need His grace to strengthen us for the diverse spiritual roles that God has for us as disciplers, soldiers, athletes, and farmers. For all of this the only sufficient resource is to "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."
O Lord of all might and power, I desire to be a faithful discipler, a sacrificial soldier, a disciplined runner, and a laboring farmer. Lord this sounds so right, so good. Yet, You know that I am intimidated by it all as well. I hear the call, and I want to respond; but my strength is so inadequate. So, I look to You and implore You to strengthen me by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, Amen.

ReadyAim said...

I pray today is another good day for Abby. On the WWJD craze, I have never thought of it the way you described. Whenever I saw anything that had WWJD, I took it as a personal reminder to me.

I struggle discerning God's will with my own ideas. Especially right now where I am at a crossroads with what to do with my life. I have a hard time with the "be still" concept, but I am working on it.

Have a blessed day! Go STEELERS!

Joyce Williamson said...

So very happy too hear that precious little Abby is finally getting some relief.
We continue to Pray that the Lord will continue too comfort Abby and fill her with a calming peace.
GOD bless you all and Brent thank you for stirring my thoughts about being more Christ like.
Keep those posts coming!
Love and Prayers,
Joyce and Nick

Jill said...

Each day I try to take a moment to check in on Abby...a little improvement is certainly an answer to prayer...will continue to lift up Abby and your entire family!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lord for Abby feeling better, prayers are being answered, i feel that Lord. Just for that sweet baby to feel some comfort, blesses my heart so much, so Lord please continue to hold Abby close to you, and carry her through this, as we trust in you to do so.Thank you Master for your touch, i believe a miracle is coming, Praise God.

The Byrd's Nest said...

I am thankful to God in Heaven that some of the new meds are helping not throw up as much.

As for God's will.....I find like you said the more I stay in His word the more I have ears to hear what He needs me to know;)

Beth in NC said...

I am so glad Abby is feeling a little better. My precious 3 1/2 year old lifted up Abby in her prayers last night. It made me cry. Surely the heavens are being stormed with prayers for little Abby.

Thank you for sharing your Knowing God's Will posts with us.


LittlePeopleWealth said...

What a great post - glad that your kiddo is feeling better :)

Sarah said...

Hi Brent,

Your message board at Serious Faith still isn't working for me, so I want to make a quick comment here. However, I'll keep checking over at Serious Faith, because I'd love to have a conversation with you and others about this.

My husband and I have had a similar discussion to what you wrote, and we just cannot get our minds around a picture of Christ fighting in a war.

Anyway, I really hope we can dialogue some about this. We are somewhat isolated in our community here, and don't have other Christians with which (whom?) to talk about this. All of our Christian community is also military, and we don't feel comfortable talking about this with them.


annb said...

Great lesson! The answer is so simple even though the "getting there" is hard work! I love to read your posts - so honest and straight-forward. I'm glad that you're posting your lessons here even though I was reading them on your other site!
Thanks for sharing such a powerful lesson in such a simple way.
In His Love and Blessings,

Magen said...

I am so happy to hear Abby is fealing alittle better. Brent thank you so much for your post. We have been struggeling with a very hard decision and God has been there with us every step of the way. It is truely amazing how God works, I have seen it everyday but truely reminded over the last week with this desicion. When you talked about the WWJD it made me really realize and ask myself about this, and I know that we are doing exactly what Jesus would do, thank you for putting it out there so simple and I truely feel that we are walking with Jesus in the choice we are making. If you have time I have written about it all on my blog. I can't wait to see where this all takes us, and thank you for making me realize that I am walking with Jesus!

Vaughn Family Blog said...

just scheduled my post for tomorrow morning.

BTW, tag you're it!!

Happily Ever After said...

Brent - I totally agree with you. This is great teaching!

One other thing that my dad always told me was to follow peace. Since Jesus is the Prince of Peace, He will always lead us in that path. If you have to decide between multiple choices and some disturb your spirit and one gives you peace, choose the one that gives you peace. That's the leading of the Holy Spirit. Applying this in my life has always helped me to make wise, godly decisions.

Just thought I'd add in my own two cents...

Continually praying for Abby,

Amber said...

I've "stumbled" on your blog twice now. You have a beautiful family..your ministry is inspiring. I've thought about...and prayed for your family often since "finding" you. I know to pain of watching your child struggle and fighting for life.

Much love to you