(Note: I submitted the wrong blog last Monday; if you have the time and energy, you may want to go back in order to read the fourth and fifth guidelines.)
We have looked at five things we can do that would help us discern the will of God. It would be helpful to submit our hearts, search our desires, seek guidance from above (pray), study the scriptures and solicit the counsel of the wise Here are the final two ingredients that will help us continue discernment process.
Scrutinize our circumstances
The Apostle Paul used circumstances as one way of determining God’s will for his life and the future of the church. He wrote in 1Corinthians 16:9 that “…for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
Paul initially planned to visit the church at Corinth, but decided to stay longer in Ephesus because “a wide door” opened for him to further the gospel message. Paul discerned God’s will through a set of circumstances that appeared before him.
There will be times when circumstances will appear before us that may help us better understand God’s will for our lives.
Before accepting the call from Evergreen back in 1977, the Lord spoke me as I sought guidance from above that I should wait for three full-time ministry job offers before accepting a call. Full of doubt, I proceeded to live by faith. Within about a month, I received three offers. Evergreen was the fourth. The circumstance of three offers had to occur in order to me to proper discern the will of God.
Circumstances should never be our ultimate guide, but the will of God will eventually be disclosed through our circumstances.
Sense an internal peace
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15.
Last, but not least, the peace of Christ should prevail as we move forward in what we believe to be the will of God for our lives. The word “rule”, in the original language of the scriptures, is a term that was applied to the officials of the athletic games. We would call them “umpires” or “referees” today. They were the ones who controlled the action on the field of play.
The shalom of God is supposed to umpire or referee our hearts as we proceed with what we believe to be the will of God in our lives.
As I sought God’s will for my ministry assignment, when I eventually received a call to become the senior pastor of Evergreen, I felt an overriding peace about it even though I was relatively young at the age of twenty-nine, had no experience as a senior shepherd and had yet to attend seminary aside from two classes. I would also be pastoring a church, helping raise a family of three daughters and attending seminary all at once. As crazy as it seemed, the peace of God ruled my heart so we went for it.
The shalom of God will eventually come upon us as we dwell in the midst of His will for us.
Over the years, I have tried to follow these guidelines in my own life. They don’t always come in the order shared or they don’t always all appear. But, these guidelines have been very helpful to me and I hope they will help you.
May you always dwell in the middle of God’s will for your life and may you always rejoice in the God who watches over you.
Something to think about…