#Reimagine...How To Discover the Will of God

 

​Ponderings on Knowing the Will of God
 
​Phil Miglioratti @ The Reimagine.Network
 

Theologians have different ways to explain the will (wills?) of God

  • Intentional, Circumstantial, and Ultimate
  • God’s Perfect Will, God’s Proscribed Will, God’s Predetermined Will
  • The Sovereign Will of God, the Permissive Will of God, the Secret Will of God
  • God's Prescriptive WIl, God's Permissive WIll, God's Providential WIll

 

These categories help us know how God "thinks" and how to differentiate and implement God's decrees, demands, and direction. 

 

I have begun to #Reimagine...God's will in 3 ways.
 
Every true believer wants to know the will of God.
Therefore, every true believer needs to know how to know (discover, discern) the will of God.
It is as important to equip the believer in how-to-know as it is to teach them what-to-know about the will of God
 

Mature disciples must know how God's will is revealed  

... in Creation and Scripture 
... during trials and troubles
... while facing opportunities or obstacles
 
Discerning God 's will must be a daily objective in the life of every Christ follower; a core component of discipleship.
"Be anxious to do the will of God." 1 Peter 4:2
 
Every prayer is, essentially, asking-seeking-knocking (Matthew 7:7) for the will of God that is revealed and to be released.
 
Every encounter with Scripture (reading, researching, reflecting) is a pursuit of the will of God with the intent to obey/live according to God's pleasure or preferences.
 
Every conversation in fellowship with the Body of Christ is a listening for God's direction.
 
Goal-setting; action plans; decision-making; everything for the true Christ-follower is a search for the will of God. 
 
I propose a threefold perspective of God's statutes, precepts, commands, laws, teachings, and promises (see Psalm 119). 
 
This template is a way of thinking about the dynamics of the will of God; three categories to help us distinguish the type of leading we receive from the Holy Spirit as we experience the God of Creation, read/research the truths of Scripture, pray over those Scriptures, and discuss with/learn from other believers on how to apply them to our life. 
 
Start with this question:
Is the Scripture text, the guidance of the Spirit, the counsel of the Body of Christ (my relationships and my research) an unchangeable/ unavoidable decree? A demand to be applied and obeyed without equivocation?  Or, a decision I have responsibility/freedom to participate in?
 
The first two categories are familiar. God speaking to us through the world and the Word.
The third category proposes that God welcomes us into a relationship, a conversation, through which we together discern God's will.
"I looked for someone to defend the city and to protect it from my anger, as well as to stop me from destroying it. But I found no one." Ezekiel 22:30 Contemporary English Version
God is looking for individuals to partner in the releasing of God's will.
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. Jonah 3:10
"So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people." Exodus 32:14 New American Standard
God's attributes never change but God's actions ("mind") may change depending on how we respond .
“Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I anothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” "If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.” Genesis 18:27-28 New International Version
God allows Abraham, a righteous person with authentic faith, to barter/beg mercy for his family and the city. (see also Amos 7:3, Jonah 3:9, 4:2; Jeremiah 18:18; 26:3, 13)
“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:36
Jesus teaches us when we converse with God, we can ask for anything, but because we are surrendered in our spirit, we do not control God nor do we determine God's will. We share our best hope/petition, but always yield to God's direction.
 
The Template
 
 
10184324694?profile=RESIZE_400xGod's Prescriptive Will
  • Prescriptive: 
    •      "before; written"
    • "A prescriptive approach to something involves telling people what they should do, rather than simply giving suggestions or describing what is done." (dictionary)
  • The will of God for all people, in all times, in all places; a decree that cannot be undone or thwarted.
  • The will of God seen through the wonders and works of God: Creation (cosmology, chemistry, geology, etc.), Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, Consummation ...  that ​reveal God's​nature and ​ attributes​.​
    • "Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as his eternal power and transcendence. He has made his wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse." The Passion Paraphrase
  • The Sovereign God is our Creator; the Living God
    • Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. Colossians 1:15-16
    • They will proclaim the mighty acts of God and realize all the amazing things he does. The godly will rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in him. And those who do what is right will praise him." Psalm 64:9-10 / New Living Translation
    • "They raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them."" Acts 4:24 / New International Version
    • Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created. Revelation 4:11 Holman Bible
  • Our objective: Knowing the wonders and the works of God, so that we may praise God's attributes and pursue a life of "imitating God in everything we do, for then we will represent our Father as beloved sons and daughters" Ephesians 5:1.

 

10184317279?profile=RESIZE_400x
 God's Descriptive Will
  • Descriptive:
    •      "from; written"
  • The will of God exegeted (explained) through precepts, teachings, statutes, parables, instruction, presented as demands (request) or commands (compel)
  • The will of God revealed in the Word of God. Scriptures that expose the heart of the Father and the mind of Christ
  • The ways of God (Sovereign, Savior, Spirit); actions that teach truth and direct us how to love our God and love our neighbor
  • The Lord our God is our Communicator (ie, the Word of God incarnate; John 1:1)
    • "You have commanded that your precepts be diligently kept." Psalm 119:4 Christian Standard Bible
    • "No longer spend the rest of his natural life living for human appetites and desires, but for the will and purpose of God." 1 Peter 4:2 Amplified Bible
    • All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right. 2 TImothy 3:16 New Century Version
    • The Spirit of Holiness, the One like me who sets you free, he will teach you all things in my name. And he will inspire you to remember every word that I’ve told you. John 14:26
  • Our objective: To know the Word and the ways of God, so that we may live according to the commands and instructions of God.
 
10184318453?profile=RESIZE_400x
God's Conscriptive Will
  • Conscriptive;
    •      "together; written"
  • The will of God discerned from investigation of Scripture in intercession with the Spirit and often including interaction with other believers
  • The will of God known as we yield to the Spirit ("be filled'') for a wise and righteous application of biblical teaching.
  • The Spirit of God is our Collaborator (a counselor, comforter, coach)
    • "I looked for someone to defend the city and to protect it from my anger, as well as to stop me from destroying it. But I found no one." Ezekiel 22:30 Contemporary English Version
    • When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. Jonah 3:10
    • “Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” "If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.” Genesis 18:27-28 New International Version
    • God will continually revitalize you, implanting within you the passion to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13
    • Be continually filled with, under the control and guidance of, the Holy Spirit.”  Ephesians 5:18 (personal paraphrase)
  • Our objective: Righteous wisdom; knowing and doing the right thing for the right reason at the right time in the right way for the right person(s), resulting from a constant conversation with God ("Make your life a prayer.") 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

 
We cannot live a Christian life with integrity and humility without a consistent awareness of all three components.
  • God is our Creator. 
    • We praise the wonders and works of God, trusting even when our personal circumstances are difficult or disturbing.
  • God is our Communicator.
    • We pursue the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), the teachings in God's Word, in order to follow God's ways that we see in Jesus and biblical men and women and nations.
  • God is our Collaborator.
    • We ponder, listen for, the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we respond to God's invitation to walk and talk together.
In order to discover God's will:
  1. Ask God to reveal to you (may the "eyes of (my) heart be enlightened" Ephesisans 1:18) the glory of God's creation and the wonder and works of God throughout history. 
  2. As God to reveal the truth of God's commands to you through Scripture and empower you to live them out every day, in every situation.
  3. Ask God to reveal to you the righteous way to apply Scripture to every desire and decision.
  • Being "right" (correct) is never enough. Seek to be righteous: the right perspective applied the right way at the right time for the right people with the right motive.
In order to avoid missing or resisting God's will:
  1. Be careful not to make one of the three categories dominant, while ignoring the others. Living solely focused on God's majesty or God's message or God's mentoring can blind us to the varied ways God speaks to us, and cause us to emphasize one aspect of God's will to the ignoring or exclusion of other essential truths.
  2. Be learned in God's attribute​s​​ (alive, eternal, love, holy) and be thankful each day for God's power, promises, provision, presence, protection.
  3. Research God's teachings and resubmit yourself not merely to the propositions of Scripture but to the Person revealed in Scripture who is the way, the truth and the life.
  4. Relearn prayer as listening rather than merely listing. "Be quick to listen, slow to speak" (James 1:19) is God's descriptive will in how to commune with the Lord; not only for personal relationships. 
  5. Stop living your Christian life as if your explanations (doctrines) and applications (decisions) of Scripture have as much authority as Holy Scripture. One is inerrant; the other is not. Error, even heresy, results from pointing out the errors of others without yielding to an ongoing spiritual assessment from the Spirit.
Everyday​:
​•God's decreed will is waiting to be discovered as we see the beauty and praise God's glory across the "land and the sky." (Genesis 1:1)
•God's desired (ie, demanded/commanded) will is waiting for us in Scripture.
•God's discerned will is available as we partner with God (Sovereign, Saviour, Spirit) and others in study, prayer, and counsel.
 
Ultimately, discerning God's will is a journey that requires an awe of the Creator, a surrender to the teachings of Scripture, and a "pray now" conversation (1 Thessalonians 5:17) with the author of those Scriptures; the Holy Spirit...in the context and counsel of the Christian community for feedback and accountability.
 
We discern and obey the will of God when we praise God's magnificence, practice God's message, but also as we pursue God ​mentoring ("Late in the afternoon a breeze began to blow, and the man and woman heard the Lord God walking in the garden." Genesis 3:8 Contemporary English Version).
 
Maybe the most important discovery is that it is God's will that we participate in the discerning of God's will...which is how we develop a relationship with God ... as we:
  • Praise Almighty God as revealed in our encounter with Creation
  • Search for the Mind of Christ as revealed in Scripture
  • Yield to the counself and direction of the Holy Spirit 
 

You need to be a member of The Reimagine Network to add comments!

Join The Reimagine Network

Email me when people reply –

Replies

  • Spirit-led, Scripture-fed, does not happen without intentionality.
     
    Ask-Seek-Knock ... begins with an ask: “How should I proceed?” “What is your will/idea/preference?”
     
    Never begin with a program. Begin with a problem then ask (questions), seek (Scriptural guidance), then knock the door down (obstacles).
     
    Phil @The Reimagine.Network
  • Lord God,

    You are the Most High.

    You are our God because You love us and saved us through Your Son Jesus Christ.

    Please reveal to us Your will, day by day as we live our lives, especially during times of uncertainty and difficulties.

    May the dawn and dusk of every day and night remind us of Your constant faithfulness in taking care of Your creation and sustaining everything, including each one of Your people.

    You are always on Your throne.

    May Your Spirit remind us of Your words according to our needs and guide us always in everything.

    Please help us to undersdtand and apply Scripture correctly, persevering through the power of Your Spirit.

    Please guard our hearts and minds, especially at this time in history so close to Jesus' return.

    Eph 3:20, 21 NLT Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever!

    Amen.

     

This reply was deleted.