How to Know God's Will?
by Tamara Eaton
Should we homeschool our children or send them to the local Christian or public school? How can we be sure what God's will is for our family?
God chooses to reveal His plans for us in many ways. He doesn't usually give us a specific "sign" or audible voice with intricate instructions, or a clear road map with step by step directions. Instead, He wants to us to have a close relationship with Him, spending time praying and in His Word, asking Him to show us His Will. Often He chooses to lead us one step at a time, and we must step out in faith, trusting that He will stop us if we're going in the wrong direction.
The good news is that He wants us to be in His Will even more than we do, so He delights in guiding our steps! We just have to make sure our heart is to do His Will and seek Him by taking time to listen for that small still voice of the Holy Spirit, spending time in His Word, and not rushing into things or switching gears so fast we run ahead of Him.
It's not always crystal clear at first, and yet one way we can know that we're walking in the right direction is when we have that deep inner peace of the Lord. Sure, there still might be attacks of nervousness, and Satan might attempt to throw doubts into our minds. Respected friends may even encourage us to go a different direction. But when through it all, we still take time to "draw nigh to God and allow Him to draw nigh to us" (James 4:7-8), and we continue to have that deep peace, we know we are making the right decision.
We can't always go by circumstances to confirm whether we've made the right decision or not because circumstances can be very unreliable and manipulated by Satan. Paul talks in 1 Thessalonians 2:18 about how Satan hindered him time and again from taking a trip--obviously Paul believed it was God's will that he take the trip or he wouldn't have even planned it. So, let's say we decide to homeschool and suddenly almost ALL our Christian friends (and pastor!) start in on us saying, " I think this is a big mistake, you're just not cut out for homeschooling...your children NEED to be challenged in school with all those other children!" And then we find out the curriculum we've ordered is out of stock and won't be available for ages, and we have a big offer from someone who wants us to start a new business-- only catch is it would take up ALL our "extra" time. Does this mean God is trying to show us homeschooling is not His will? NOT NECESSARILY!
Sometimes we have to stand strong and go with what WE believe seems best, trusting God will intervene and clearly show us if we're wrong. Psalms and Proverbs are filled with principles and assurances that God will lead us if we commit ourselves to Him and put our trust in Him. He will make our way straight!
Look at the following principles from God's Word:
* Proverbs 1 Tells us how we must treasure and obey the Lord's counsel when He speaks to us, and if we listen to Him, we will dwell safely and be secure without fear of evil.
* Proverbs 2 Tells us how we must seek Him for wisdom, understanding, and discernment and that He stores up sound wisdom for the upright and guards and preserves our paths.
* Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
* Proverbs 16:1 "The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord." And vs. 9 "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."
To me these scriptures suggest:
1. It's up to us to spend time getting His Word into our hearts.
2. We must prayerfully and humbly seek His Will, repenting for any sins.
3. And then He will lead us and bless the steps that we take.
* Psalm 1 We should not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, but delight in the Word and meditate in it, this brings blessings for the Lord knows the way of the righteous!
* Psalm 9 "And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."
* Psalm 16: 7-8, 11 "I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved." "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy..."
* Psalm 17:4b-5 "...I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer. Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip."
* Psalm 18:28-33, 35-36 Encouraging scripture when you feel weak and uncertain! He will enlarge our paths so that our feet don't slip and He lights our way!
* Psalm 25 He promises to guide the humble in His way and those who fear Him.
* Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you."
* Psalm 37:5, 23-24, 31 "Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass." "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand." "The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide."
* Psalm 119:130, 133-134 "The entrance of Your Words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple." "Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me. Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Your precepts."
* Psalm 139 is very encouraging! The Lord understands us and our path better than we do and we can't flee from His presence... vs.5 "You have hedged me behind and before", and laid Your hand on me." vs. 10 "Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me."
* Psalm 142:3 "When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path."
* 143:8-10 "Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You...in You I take shelter. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God;"
And there are many, many more...including James 1:5-6 "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting..."
I believe the primary method of discerning the Lord's will is knowing His Word and while there aren't specific verses for everything, there are principles which we can learn to apply to our lives. Any further "signs" or specific directions we receive concerning God's will for our life would only be a confirmation of principles that are outlined in His Word and would never contradict the principles of the Word.
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; they walk in His Ways. Psa. 119:2-3
May we all take time to discern His will for our lives! Because we are certain that homeschooling is God's will for our family, we are able to homeschool with confidence, assured that He will bless and prosper our homeschooling and discipleship.
For a more indepth article on discerning God's will, see "Where Are You, God?".
[Note--If you don't know the Lord in a personal, saving way--find out how you can be set free from all condemnation and receive Eternal life, as well as His daily help and guidance! (Knowing God)
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to reprint any of Tamara's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the publication to :Deeper Life Family Ministries, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL 35645.
We have always homeschooled our six children (elementary through high school and beyond!) and enjoy encouraging other families in their homeschooling, parenting and in the Lord! For more help and information, please join us on the Christian Homeschool Fellowship Message Board.
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"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."