Summer Wind Pt 3: Discovering God's Will
Pastor Dave Chiolero
When I look back on my life, I see that I’m where I am today because of a series of choices that I’ve made along the way.
Back in my school days, they were decisions like:
- Should I date this person – should I not date this person
- Should I be friends with that person
- Do I go to the party
- Should I do my homework
- Mom and dad are away for the weekend, what do I do with myself
- Do I trust this person for advice
After school, they were decisions like:
- Do I move to Texas, or stay in California
- Should I marry Kim at this time, am I ready
- Texarkana or Tennessee
- Should we stay at two kids, or have three
- Fremont or Elk Grove
- Is it the right time to buy a house
As we look back we can see that our lives are a sum total of the decisions we’ve made
- AP classes or free time in the evenings
- Which one of these three colleges should I attend
- Should I move in or move out
- Should I live with dad or mom
- Dating or single
- East coast or West coast
- Smoking or non-smoking
It’s a bit like walking through a maze
Sometimes life takes us through difficult situations that are out of our control, but even then we decide how to respond in those difficult situations.
- If only my parents handled their money better
- They never supported me
- I wish they had never divorced
- Too bad they laid me off
- If only he was faithful
- Why did she have to die
We’re here today because of the sum total of all our decisions.
And, you have lots of decisions still to make
- How do I know what major to take in school
- Do I strive for that job promotion, will I even like the added responsibility
- Should I go back to school
And decisions seem to become much more important as we get older, don’t they?
I remember when Kim and I took Camille to the Hallmark store to buy a Beany Baby. We were there for over an hour as she agonized over this decision. It was impossible for her to make up her mind. I think Kim and I had to pick for her in the end. Don't we wish all our decisions would be this easy.
So, here’s the question for the day:
HOW DO I KNOW GOD’S DIRECTION FOR MY LIFE?
HOW DO I KNOW GOD’S WILL?
How many of you have a decision to make, or a situation that's happening, and you would really like some clear direction from the Lord? Raise your hand.
When I think about my kids
- I want to be there to teach them right from wrong
- I want to show them how to love, how to care, how to share
- I want to wrap my girls up in my arms when their friends are mean to them
I have good news for you…your heavenly father is… a father.
- He really likes to talk to you
- He understands your decisions are important
- He wants to help you along the journey
So lets take a big breath. We may have to remind ourselves that God is a trustworthy father. Let’s tune into the Holy Spirit this morning and be open to what God would like to say to us.
I want to share with you one part of a verse
AND HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATH STRAIGHT - CLEAR - OBVIOUS
That’s what we want isn’t it, a clear path ahead?
As we think about finding God’s direction, It’s important to have some frame of reference to understanding God’s will
There’s three ways the Bible teaches us about the will of God
- The Providential will of God
- The Moral will of God
- The Personal will of God
The Providential will of God are those things God is going to do no matter what.
- God raised up a nation, Israel, to be His people
- At the appointed time, God sent His son… Jesus
- Jesus will return with a trumpet blast
- The Great White Throne Judgment & The judgment Seat of Christ
The Providential will of God is not dependent on our prayers, our faith, or our obedience.
- He’s going to do it with you or without you.
- But He’d rather do it with you.
- In fact, He does allow us to partner with Him in His Providential will
An Angel came to Mary and told her she would become pregnant.
Mary replied, “I am the Lords servant, Let it be as you have said.”
The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country and go to the land I will show you. I will make you a great nation…
So Abram left, as the Lord had told him.
Here’s the point
- The more we understand God’s Providential will
- The more we understand what He’s up to in the world
- The more we understand His plan for our lives.
I know I can pray for my neighbors and minister to them because…
He came to seek and save the lost
I know I should be helping people grow in their walk with the Lord because…
Jesus told us to go and make disciples of all nations
Next, there’s the Moral will of God. These are the Do’s and Don’ts of Gods word
I could simply say - Avoid sexual immorality – but there’s a reason.
If you wanted God’s direction on weather or not you should move into an apartment with your girlfriend, You will see in the word of God clear direction on how God designed relationships to function – with purity and commitment being non-negotiable. And, of course, God didn’t design things this way to control us, but because He loves us and it’s the best.
So there’s the Providential will of God, the Moral will of God…
Then there’s the Personal will of God. The area where God gives us specific direction for our lives.
Obviously, I won’t be able to tell each of you what God is saying in your situation, but let me share a couple stories and some thoughts.
About 15 years ago, while I was youth pastor in Waco, TX, the Lord spoke to me during my morning prayer time. I was pacing back and forth in the church lobby praying for the youth group and I had a very strong impression from the Lord that I should reach out more to the parents of the youth to minister to them.
I didn't have any insight as to specific parents, or what their needs were, but I felt like God was instructing me to start making phone calls and be available.
I was in my late 20’s and honestly was scared of that whole idea. I’m not exactly sure why, but it probably boils down to the fear of man. So I did nothing.
I have thought about that moment many times since then, and believe that I will have to answer for ignoring His direction when I stand before Him.
This is what I believe:
- The real challenge is not God’s unwillingness to communicate…
- it’s our unwillingness to follow-through
- We say “Give me your answer God and I’ll consider it.”
- Illustration: I’ll add it to my basket of choices
- Point: God does not give us direction for consideration, but for participation.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
Lean not on your own understanding
In all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will make your paths straight
God does not give us His direction for us to consider, but for us to obey.
- And we can obey, even through difficult decisions, because we know that God is a good dad and can be trusted.
- God’s plan is to bring us to a place where we are completely dependent on Him.
- Where my answer is yes, no matter what.
- Then, you will not miss Gods will
Here’s a cool part, God is more interested in you discovering Him than giving you the answer.
When I was in Bible College, I heard a statistic that bothered me. The stat was that most youth pastors stay at their church for less than a year. I remember thinking that was horrible because students need stability in their lives. So I vowed to myself that I would not fall into that statistic.
Fast forward a couple years, now I’m a youth pastor in San Antonio, TX. I’ve been there about one year and I just got engaged to Kim. I make $100 a week, working full time. On the other hand, my Father-in-law has offered me a position at his church in Houston and I’m stuck with a very difficult decision to make.
I don’t know what to do. I’m very torn inside. So I do what most of us do in those situations… I start whining to God. I prayed and fasted for a week seeking the answer.
One night about midnight, I was in the church sanctuary laying flat on my face near the stage, miserably crying in distress (messy snot and crocodile tears) because I hadn’t received any direction from the Lord. I was so torn about the idea of leaving my students and struggling with the idea of being a failure if I left.
In that moment I heard the Lord talk to me, and He said, “Are you happy?”
Now this wasn’t the answer I was looking for, it was so much more that the answer I was looking for. Up until this point in my life, I didn’t think God cared if I was happy. I kinda considered following God as joining the military. This may have been because of my relationship with my real dad, a military man and police officer. I know it has some to do with the way I’m wired, just suck it up attitude. No matter what, it was a distorted view of who God was. I never considered my feelings were something God cared about in this decision.
In that moment, I received more than the answer to my question, which was to move to Houston. I had my Heavenly Father reach down to me, pick me up in His arms, give me the biggest embrace you can imagine, and say to me, “Son, I care so much about you... ABOUT YOU!” I care more about you than what you do for me, and I care about your happiness. I received in that moment a precious gift, of knowing the heart of God.
A gift I have never forgotten.
A gift that has helped guide my life to this day.
Everybody, God is more interested that you find Him than finding the answer to your decision.
God want to show Himself to you in the journey your on. And most times, you discovering Him will turn out to be far more precious to you than the decision your making.
Phillip Yancy quote: “I do not get to know God and then do His will, I get to know Him more deeply by doing His will.”
Some final points and thoughts
1. God created communication. That makes Him the greatest communicator.
2. There’s no place in the Bible, when God was giving direction, where the person said, “What?”
3. The best preparation in knowing Gods Personal will for your life
- Fully obey all that you know
- Stop trying to figure it out on your own
- Desire God’s will more than all your options
AND HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATH STRAIGHT.
I would like to give you room to respond to the Lord.
If there’s something that the Lord has directed you to do, and your dragging your feet or refusing, I would like to encourage you to put a stop to it right now. Your refusal to follow the Lords leading is only hurting yourself, and maybe others.
Maybe you're here today and God is asking you to take your very first step in trusting Him with your life. Or maybe you've been away from the Lord for a long time and the Lord is calling you back this morning.
Wherever your at, and whatever God’s saying, take the time now to have a conversation with the Lord.