Finding God’s Will In Life
Preached At Fellowship M.B.C. June 1983 By: Elder Calvin Perrigo
Lesson One; Introduction
This is the opening session and we trust throughout the remainder of these studies there might be an interest and might be a learning time for us all to find God’s Will in our life.
We would desire an interest in your prayers, and appreciate your attention and participation in that which would apply. We do feel that the subject that we have mentioned, that we would like to study for a few services, or whatever time might be needed; we think it is of utmost importance in life. We’re not emphasizing the ministry. We are talking about all church members, all saved people, and their ability to come to the knowledge of God’s desire in their life. So, we hope that it hasn’t been thought of in the direction of just applying to those that have been called to preach. It’s not for that purpose alone. Of course they are probably more concerned about doing the will of the Lord than the average Baptist laymember, but if every member of the church would honestly and sincerely seek for the will of God, I believe that we could come nearer filling the commission that the Lord gave for us to fill.
First of all, probably tonight will be no more than an introduction to the study. We want to refer back to the Psalm that we read this morning for one statement concerning God’s leadership, and that’s really what His will is, is His leadership in life. In Psalms 23:3 we note that this writer said: “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness“, He continues and tells us the reason for God’s leadership, “For His name’s sake. So, we know then that God is able to lead man in the paths of right or righteousness. He has that ability. I believe that He wants to help all people in this world to come “pleasing” unto Him. We find the statement in the 110th Psalm that reads like this: “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.” This verse of scripture tells us that God’s people are willing people during the time of the Lord’s power, during the time that He is powerful in our life. So, we note here a willingness on the part of people, and we’ll surely be able to understand that this verse of scripture says: “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power,” That we might recognize back yonder on the day of Pentecost, when God’s power came and the Holy Spirit became such an instrument in the life of the Church, that all the church ought to have a willing minded attitude toward God.
So, if we have a willing mind, our next problem would be finding the will of the Lord. We might mention very briefly concerning finding the will of God in our life. I once read concerning most people in this world; That we’re kind of individual travelers, traveling through a wilderness known as “life”. And that’s just about the way that it is. When we come forth in birth, what do we know about life? We don’t know anything. We grow up from an infant to a little child, we go into teenage circumstances, we move on into adulthood and we grow by our experiences. But when we step out upon the threshold of life, and we don’t have some direction, we are just liable to go any way in the world. So, we are in one sense lonely travelers walking through the wilderness called life. Now it is a wilderness in this sense, that we don’t know where it’s going to lead us. We don’t know what its routes are, and we find ourselves as individual travelers, traveling a road. And if we don’t know what God would have us to do, it’s just like traveling a road without any markers on it. I once read it being described like this: For a person to be out in life, and not have any direction from God, just like a road map without a number or a name on it. How much benefit would a road map be if it wasn’t labeled with numbers and names? Sometimes people’s life appear that there’s not even a direction on the map of life, as far as East, West, North, and South is concerned. If we could get turned around in life like that, you could find us walking through a maze and not being able to ever come to the knowledge of God’s will. So, without God’s help, without His direction, we fail to find the will of God in our life, our life may be just like a road map without a name or a number. As we travel that road through the wilderness of life, what do we note? What do we hear? What do we see? We hear many, many voices, daily telling us; “go this way”, “go that way”. We find many arrows pointing in this direction, many pointing in that direction. We have as many paths to pursue, many voices to listen to, that if we don’t find some direction from God, we’ll be totally bewildered and confused as to what we must do.
I know that when a preacher starts listening to people, that they have difficulty ever coming to the understanding or the knowledge of: “Lord, what will you have me to do?” We are influenced by people. Those we live with, those that we are kin to, those that are important to us, those that we have a relationship with, in our work, our employment, our business or whatever. People do influence us, and all people, most of them, some are not able to talk, but most all people have a voice and as we travel this wilderness of life, we are constantly hearing those voices. “Come this way, Go that way, Do this, Do that.” And if we don’t have some voice that we can relate to, that we can depend fully upon, we become dependant upon those many voices and they will lead us in just as many paths as their desire might have us go. So, we are confronted with a lot of voices. We are confronted with a lot of directions. We are confronted with a lot of paths, and that’s just the way that life is. And if we’re constantly saying, “Go this way or go that way, if we find ourselves in such a confused, bewildered condition, the next step for us is desperation. And for a person to become desperate as to what God would have them to do and when He’d have them to do it, is a dreadful circumstance to be in. Many people become desperate in life. I’m of the opinion that a lot of preachers become desperate sometimes, trying to find what God would have them to do, and sometimes make many, many mistakes because of desperation.
One of the most vivid things that I find in the scriptures concerning being desperate as to what God would have a group of people to do at a given time was the circumstance with Israel, after the spies had gone into Canaan and come back and made an unfavorable report, we note in the book of Numbers that they were discouraged by ten of these twelve spies, and they said; The Land is to fortified, the people are too big, there’s nothing we can do about taking that country.” Only Caleb and Joshua encouraged the people to obey God and to move on into Canaan. Well, after they rebelled and wouldn’t go, the Lord through Moses, told these people what was going to happen to them. You can read about this in Numbers 13 & 14 and we find that after Israel had been informed as to what was going to happen to them, they were going to wander in the wilderness for forty years, they were all going to die in the wilderness. We note that in the later verses of Numbers Chapter 15, and here’s what happened to those desperate people after Moses had told them from God that “you won’t see the land.” Here is what happened; “And Moses told these sayings”, this is verse 39 of Numbers 14, “And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.” Now, can you visualize in your mind how they must of felt after he had delivered them from Egypt? The Red Sea opened up, they had been clothed, and they had traveled for a short distance and were on the threshold of Canaan. They were going to approach Canaan from the southwest and move right into it in a short travel. The spies had been sent forth to spy out the land and to get some information. They came back with a discouraging report; they said we can’t do it, and they refused to do it, and God told them then what they were going to suffer, and THEN they began to mourn greatly. Here’s what they did in desperation, the 40th verse of Numbers 14: “And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the Lord hath promised: for we have sinned.” So, after God has said “No, you can’t go.” They said “Yes, we will go.” In desperation they got up to the top of the mountain and they said, “We will go into the place that the Lord has promised.” They admitted their sin, but Moses answered those people and said: “Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the Lord is not among you;” Now we’re talking about desperation and trying to do the will of God or find the will of God in our life, and we’re looking at this example of desperation. God said not to go by the mouth of Moses, said “Don’t go, God’s not among you.” If you go, what’s going to happen? “That ye be not smitten before your enemies.” So, he said, “Don’t try it, don’t try it.” They were desperate, they did try. “But they presumed to go up unto the hill top:” the 44th verse, “nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and Moses departed not out of the camp.” Look at those two important things left back in the camp of Israel. Moses stayed in the camp, the ark of the covenant stayed in the camp, and what happened? Israel was defeated by these people. They were smitten and discomforted and they failed to go into Canaan on their own. So we can look at that for a desperate act of people that fail to obey the will of God at the right time. It’s important that we obey His will at the time that He designates it be obeyed. It’s too late when we’ve missed a plane or the train and we can’t get to where we started if we have missed our transportation, and that’s the same way it is if God has got a job for us to do at a prescribed time, in order to do that and fulfill His will, we have to do it on His schedule.
So, we find ourselves as lonely travelers, running to and fro through life. We’ll run down this path for awhile, then it will dead end. We back out; we try that route awhile; then it dead ends. We try another route and we get all confused, balled up, injured and hurt and we find ourselves coming down to a point of bewilderment, and the next thing that most people do is just give up and say, “I’m just going to live day by day and the Lord can take care of His own business.” To many people have done that among our ranks today, and have given up. So, if life without God’s direction is as a road map without names and numbers, surely we need to be looking toward what the Lord would have us to do, that we might find His will in life.
Therefore, the design of this lesson that we’re starting tonight is to help us find direction in our life from the Lord. Let’s remember, find direction in our life from the Lord. We can have a lot of help finding directions from people and from organizations, but let’s remember we’re trying to find a guideline from the Lord in our life. If we will keep that in mind, that we’re seeking God’s help, in His direction for us, I believe it will help us throughout this study and then into life. Basically our reading lesson for the entire study is going to be taken from a few verses in the 1st Chapter of the Colossian letter and I think we’ll find in these few verses ample supportive scriptures and background information that will show us that people can find God’s will in life.
So, let’s turn over to the New Testament and look at the 1st Chapter of Colossians and read a few verses, beginning with the 9th verse. Paul wrote to this church that was located there in Asia and the 9th verse reads like this: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” We have a man here, an apostle of the Lord, writing to a church at another location. He mentions getting some information about them from various people. He’s heard of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the 4th verse, he mentions the love that he’s heard that they’ve got for all saints. He mentions the hope that they have and those things that are brought down to this verse of scripture that’s mentioned here, and he says: “because of these reasons, now, and ever since the day we heard about how you are there at Colossi, we have offered up prayers to God for you.” And he says: “The desire involved in those prayers is that they might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” So, he had a desire that the church at Colossi be filled with God’s will, and he prayed for that thing to come to pass. And here is why he wanted them to have the knowledge of God’s will and wisdom and spiritual understanding. “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,” That’s the first thing mentioned in verse 10, that they might have a worthy walk with the Lord, and to “pleasing” Him in all things. That was his first desire for them to be filled with God’s will. The knowledge of God’s will, that they might walk worthy of the Lord. Paul desired that the Ephesian brethren walk worthy of the vocation wherein they had been called. In Ephesians Chapter 4, the 1st verse he mentions that to the Ephesian saints, that he wanted them to have that attitude of mind, and he says in Ephesians 4:1 “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” So, we have a worthy walk desired by the Apostle Paul toward the churches that he writes to. And the church at Colossi was no exception. He wanted them to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in their life, that first of all they might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing. The next thing is that they might be fruitful. Being fruitful in what direction? In every good work. And increasing in the knowledge of the Lord. So, we can determine here already in these two verses that we looked at, if we can find the will of God in our life, we have an opportunity to walk worthy of Him, and we also have an opportunity to be fruitful in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God.
So, it’s important that we know the will of God, in order to walk pleasing to Him, in order to be fruitful in every good work, and continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. The next thing that Paul mentions concerning his desire that the church at Colossi be filled with the wisdom of His spirit, and the knowledge of His will, in all spiritual understanding, is that they might be “Strengthened with all might, according to the glorious power, unto all patience and longsufferings with joyfulness;” So, that’s what we have now that’s involved with doing the will of God. We have strength mentioned. “Strengthen with all might, according to the glorious power (of God), unto all patience and longsufferings (in a joyful attitude).” So, the importance of being filled with the knowledge of God’s will begins to develop and to expand itself the farther that we go into this reading lesson, I believe the more important it will become to find the will of the Lord in our life.
The next thing that he wanted the people to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will for, was that they might be qualified to give thanks unto the Father. “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:” So we have something to consider as far as us giving thanks unto the Father that has made us what we are. What was that? Made us to be partakers with something. What is that something? With the inheritance of the saints in light. So we can give proper thanks to God if we are filled with the knowledge of His will. He mentions in verse 13 concerning what God has done for us. Look at what He’s done, look at the advantage that we have to find God’s will in life. He has delivered us from what? The power of darkness; “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son:” So, God has delivered us from the power of darkness. He’s translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son, and we do have an opportunity and there has been an advantage set before us that we might know the will of God in our life. So, let’s remember this reading lesson, because we will be referring back to it in future studies.
We have a text that we want to look at tonight in the introduction into this study, and that is Romans Chapter 12, verse 2. We go back to the Roman letter, we hear Paul appealing to these saints at Roman that he had never visited, and he makes this statement concerning our thought of finding God’s will in our life. It will give us a suitable formula for finding God’s will. We want to read the 1st verse along with the 2nd, that we might get the proper background for the statement that the 2nd verse makes. Paul wrote this letter to the saints at Rome. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Paul’s desire for the saints at Rome was that they might know without any doubt that they were in the will of God. He said to those people, don’t conform to the world. I think that we can be enlightened right here as to some things that will come forth in the study, and that will be that you can’t find God’s will if you are going to be shaped like the world, and go the way that the world goes. Paul desired that the saints at Rome be conformed to God, rather than the world. “And be not conformed to this world;” Now conformed means to fit. The clothes that we wear here tonight conform to our bodies. They do that because they were cut by a pattern and they were put together properly. If it had not been conformed to our body, we would all wear robes or shrouds and there wouldn’t be any image of those things. But, our bodies control how our outer garments look because the outer garment conforms to our body and that’s the way that the Apostle was trying to appeal the saints at Rome. Don’t be conformed to the world, don’t shape up like the world, in other words, and don’t go the way of the world, don’t act like the world, don’t be conformed to it. But, in the other direction, “be ye transformed.” First of all he tells us how. First, “by the renewing of your mind”, for what purpose? “that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” So, it’s possible for saints to know the will of God. He calls God’s will in this verse “good” he calls it “acceptable” He calls it “perfect”. So, we want to remember that verse of scripture, we’ll be dealing with it throughout the studies that we pursue in this lesson.
Our aim for the entire study is “The encouragement of spiritually minded people toward prayerful consideration of that question we dealt with Wednesday night, “Lord what will you have me to do?” The aim is to encourage who? Spiritually minded people. In what direction? In prayerful consideration of what God would have us to do. That will be the aim of our study, to encourage qualified people to really and honestly and sincerely appeal to the Lord for direction. What will you have me to do? So, we have briefly here tonight looked into an introduction to our study. If we find ourself a traveler through life without a sufficient road map, we have access to the One who created all things, that made all things possible, that knows the inside and the outside of this earth. The inside and outside of a human being, knows the beginning from the end, and all in between also. That is God Himself and He has already sent His Son, He’s died upon the cross, He has gone back to His presence, He has sent the Spirit back, and it is a guiding devise, it is a directing devise in this world in which you and I live in and the time that we live in, and we can find direction in our life. Our road map cannot only be numbered, it can be labeled with the direction, and it can be illuminated by the Holy Spirit of God. Regardless of how black the circumstances may be around our life, the Holy Spirit can illuminate that direction, and we can read that map clearly and know what the Lord would have us to do. It’s just like a beacon in the darkness of the night when you consider the effect of the Holy Spirit in directing our lives as we travel through this wilderness known as life. How would you like to try it without God’s help? How would we like to try it without the leadership of God. Where would we wind up? Would we wind up where we were? These people of Israel that we mentioned a while ago, who presumed to go into Canaan against God’s will, without God, they walked a 40 year circle in the wilderness. They all died except Joshua and Caleb, who left Egypt who were as much as 20 years old, they never got into the Promised Land, but they walked in a circle for 40 years until they all died, then God brought them up the backside of Canaan and let them come in from the east. When all they had to have done was to be obedient to God and come right in the southwest corner of Canaan and occupied it, and enjoyed it. But because of their resistance and their rebellion to God, 40 years later their children occupied what they had been promised, simply because they were not familiar with the will of God and became a rebellious people. So, if we can avoid things like that in our life and wander throughout our life, and wind up just about where we started, we haven’t been much of a servant of the Lord. We haven’t benefited too many people in walking the way that God would have them to be. But, if we can find the will of God in our life, and be satisfied that we are in His will, in the center of His will, we can be happy and contented people regardless of the circumstances around us. It is alarming to get out on a strange road in life and not know where you are. It’s very alarming to me to make a wrong turn somewhere and travel a few miles and not be able to see a road number. I’ve done that a few times and have missed my direction and I can remember vividly how I felt as I traveled along that road trying to find a number of that highway, a direction that might show me whether I was right or wrong. Now that can apply in our work for the Lord. And it’s a miserable condition to be in, “Lord am I really where you want me to be? Am I really doing what you would have me to do?” It’s a constant search. If we should continue this study and learn everything that is taught in the scriptures about it, we would still be dependant upon the Spirit of God for direction from one place to another, one job to another, one day at a time, we’d still be dependant upon the direction of God because we don’t know what God would have us to do; if we say from day one to the period from now to 40 years from now, God’s going to have us to do that, we wouldn’t be dependant upon him. We’d just go on our own, but it’s not that way. We are dependant upon Him because the course that is laid out before you and me is unchartered as far as us traveling that way before. We haven’t been that way before and we have to have someone to guide us that has traveled that way and knows where He would have us to go in, that’s the Lord and the person of the Holy Spirit.
So, maybe this brief introduction into the lesson tonight will give us a start. If you are a lonely individual traveler, listening to a multitude of voices, looking at a multitude of paths, highways and byways of life and don’t know which one to take, maybe this study will be beneficial to you. Maybe we can come to say less frequently, “Lord, what would you have me to do?” and know that we are in the center of God’s will. Don’t get bewildered in waiting for the will of the Lord. There comes a time when we must wait upon the Lord. We mentioned something this morning about not getting in front of the Lord. There comes a time when we are confronted with obstacles to the rear and to the front of us, so we have to stop and to watch the Lord move in those things. But our life is not to be one that sits under the stop sign day in and day out and never moves from that position, because at the prescribed time, the Red Sea did open, and Israel had to go through the path that God made. The same thing applies to you and me in God’s will. There will come a time when we must go, as the prophets had to go, as the apostles had to go, as the church had to go. There will come a time when we must stand where we are as the apostles stood, as the prophets stood, as the church has stood for the truth. Whether we go or whether we stay, we need to be in the center of God’s will.
So, remember our reading lesson and study those few verses in the 1st Chapter of Colossians, and study the memory verse, which is the 12th Chapter of Romans, verse 2. May our study be something that will glorify the Lord, benefit you and me, and maybe reach lost humanity that have never heard the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We’ll give you some time, if you have anything on your heart, anything that you might add to this study, anything you want to pursue in the nights that we’ll be engaged in it. We certainly want you to be involved in it. I don’t plan to stand up here and take up all your time by merely preaching, or talking to you about the things that I have on my heart and before us, but I want you to be involved in it. That way we can learn and can become a part of it, and it’ll help you, and it’ll help me, and it’ll help all that are really involved in knowing what God would have us to do in our lives. Do you have a word or comment or question or anything upon your heart? Does everybody here know God’s will for you? Are you completely at ease, and know that I am right in the center of God’s will? Know how to do it, when to do it? Are we that equipped in the service of God that we could say “Yes, I know I’m in the center of God’s will.” “Yes, I know how to do God’s will.” “Yes, I know when to perform God’s will.” I don’t think we have anybody that is going to rise and stand and admit tonight that we are in that circumstance. And surely when I ask such a question, you understand that I’m trying to emphasize the impossibility of that type of knowledge being available to us. I do believe that we can have more direction than most of us have, and have more assurance that we are doing God’s will in our life than most of us are. I think that we can improve upon our position as far as knowing what God’s will is. First to find it, then to know it fully, and then how to perform the doing of it. We’ll get into those things as we progress if it be the Lord’s will. Anyone have a question, anyone have a need of anything? Does the Lord lead through the wilderness of life? Is He whom we follow each moment of our life? Do we depend upon the trail that He leaves, as we follow Him through life? Are we behind the Lord or are we in front of Him or are we
over to the side of Him? It’s a good policy in life to always be behind the Lord as far as the leadership of God’s Spirit is concerned. If we don’t stay behind Him we are likely not to go in the proper direction, we won’t have the protection that we could have if He is out front and surely it is better to stay behind Him than it is to get in front or get off to the side of the Lord. So, let’s keep that in mind as to what our position is in relationship to the Lord as we travel down life’s pathway. Now I think that the Lord has a will for people in all walks of life. I believe He has a desire that we come to an understanding of how we are to earn our living in life. I don’t believe that God would direct a Baptist Church member to make a living that would dishonor the God of Heaven. And I think that we should be fully aware of that and to teach early in our children and grandchildren’s lives that there are some things that God’s people just don’t think about as far as a livelihood is concerned. Those things, that if they become that important to our everyday living, our children and grandchildren will never look in that direction for a livelihood upon this earth. So we hope that maybe in this study we can go into some of those details in finding and knowing God’s will in our life. I don’t think that we would ever expect the Lord to say to a Baptist, “You go down there and buy that tavern on the corner of X and Y street and operate that for Me for My honor and Glory. I don’t think that we ought to even consider such foolishness as that and there are a lot of other occupations that would be just as dishonoring to God as that one I just mentioned.
We invite you to come back Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. and we’ll pursue this study a little farther and if you would be interested in any written work, we’ll try to provide some of that. (End of Tape)