Is this the will of God?
Every one of us has moments where we wonder if the option in front of us or the idea we have is from God. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. Pastor Barry Cameron says, “not every opportunity is a God opportunity.” He is right. The problem is, sometimes we want things to be from God so bad we see signs that may not really be there. So how do we know if that job option is from God, or a school acceptance letter is His will, or the person that is romantically interested in you is a divinely-wrapped gift from the all-powerful One? While I don’t believe we in our finite minds can always claim to know the will of God, I offer good news: there are some filters from the wisdom of God’s word to help us work through these decisions.
First, does it line up with Scripture?
You WILL NOT hear a new revelation that doesn’t already exist in the Bible.
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
I’m sorry, but all those speakers that claim to hear a new revelation from God are not hearing from God at all. The Bible says Jesus is God’s spoken word to us, so we already have His message in the Bible. If you don’t know how to study the Word please click on the “new believer” link at the top of this site. You must know the Bible to know the will of God.
Second, how will it affect others?
1 Timothy 4:16
16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Your “whim” will most likely be observed by a child, a friend, or even a co-worker. Make sure your decisions line up with Scripture before you act upon them. You could save not just yourself, but also those around you. There are many, many people who have had their faith in God dismantled by Christians that are really well- intentioned dragons. Make sure your decisions are sound! Not just for your sake, but for others too!
Third, does this decision produce the Fruit of the Spirit?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Your call from God should line up with the truth of Scripture like the first filter states, that truth will affect others like the second filter states, and the fruit of God’s Spirit is what should be produced as you act upon this calling: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Notice verse 24: we need to crucify, put to death our passions and desires that contradict the truth of the word of God. Real love isn’t self-gratifying as much as it is God-glorifying. To see a brief picture of love check out the “What is love?” post.
So think of it this way. Will this new job show the fruit of the spirit to my family (can I be a better dad or husband?), friends, or coworkers? No matter how exciting it is for you, it may not be God’s will if it doesn’t line up with these.
Fourth, if it doesn’t line up with the Word and Spirit of God it’s not from God!
Jesus himself states in Matthew, if something doesn’t line up with the Word and Spirit of God, whoever promotes it is a ravenous wolf.
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
It’s just possible your “passion” or “call” that you push or pursue could devour others, and though it looks or feels great to you, it may actually be dangerous and deadly.
Let me be really clear. Doing right isn’t always easy! Somehow in our modern culture we have confused pleasure and joy. The fruit of the spirit is not a pursuit of pleasure, it’s a pursuit of doing the right thing, and THAT will produce deep joy, satisfaction, and “fruit” that will last for more than just this life!
Does it line up with the Bible? (Truth)
Does it produce the fruit of the spirit in me and others? (Spirit)
This isn’t all-inclusive but it is a great start. I would also seek the counsel of solid spiritual leaders. If all this lines up with what is in your heart, it may be from God!
This is NOT all-encompassing. This hopefully will just be a launching pad to begin the journey. I do also believe that God’s will isn’t always a single road but a map of options that can lead you to a God honoring destination.