Knowing God’s will
“For this cause also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding…Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to find out and do whatever the Lord wants you to do” (Col1v9-KJV;Eph 5v17-TLB)
The popularity of the message of the will of God has made many a believer to think of God’s will in different ways: to some it’s something only ‘prophets’ can know and so they seek such church officers in order to know God’s will; yet to some, it’s something that is often spoken by God to ‘sensitive’ believers which is supposed to guide them in making decisions, even daily decisions; still, some believe God’s will are His instructions stated only in the bible. The purpose of this piece, therefore, is to draw light from scriptures and address this issue objectively.
To save space we shall skip the meaning of the word ‘will’. For this is easily understood. There is nothing mysterious about it. What we are considering is ‘knowing God’s will’. And we shall start by addressing some key issues. First, it is clear from scripture that in this dispensation, God’s will can be known (without a prophet). See text above. So the idea of constantly seeking prophets in order to know God’s will clearly reveals spiritual immaturity. Also, if the will of God is only known by ordinarily searching God’s word (bible), then how was Joseph, who did not have a bible, able to know that it was against God’s will to have carnal knowledge with his master’s wife? (Gen 39v8-9). Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not refuting the fact that God’s will is stated in His Word (the bible), my point is that whether there is the bible or not, the will of God can be known. In other words, it is not about searching a book; it’s about how the book is being searched. So how do we recognise the will of God?
To answer this question, let me quickly say that man is tripartite in nature: he has a body, soul and spirit. The soul was formed at the point of union between the spirit and the body. God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul. (Gen2v7). The spirit of man has three faculties (conscience, intuition and fellowship) with which man is able to fellowship with God. God speaks to man through man’s spirit. Hence, an unregenerate man is dead unto God. This does not mean that he doesn’t have a spirit but that his spirit cannot know God. Paul refers to such people as those who are “spiritually dead in sins”(Eph2v1); Jude refers to such people as “sensual, not having the spirit”(Jude19)meaning that they do not have a regenerate spirit. Hence, it is clear that even if an unregenerate man were to search the scriptures, he’d only have head knowledge of what God’s will is; he really won’t be able to know it (spiritually) or do it.
God guides us and thus enables us to know his will through His Spirit guiding our spirit. The bible says “…no one mere man has ever seen, heard or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord. But we know these things because God has sent his Spirit to tell us…no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.”(1st Cor 2v9-11-TLB). This truth being applied to our prayer life would produce tremendous results because 1st John 5v14-15 says “And this is the confidence we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will he hears us and if we know he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him”. We are able to know what to pray for because our spirit is now guided by God’s Spirit. Prayer is not merely making requests that suit our selfish ends, it is mainly communicating God’s will to Him.
Whenever, we seek God’s face regarding a matter, we are able to know what He desires. It could be through an intuitive perception in our enlivened spirit, through the study of the word of God or even through a person. Whatever the case, there’ll always be a spark of illumination in our spirit. Whenever God uses someone to speak to you , you’ll be able to recognise that God is using that person to speak to you. It may not be pleasant words but you’ll know it is God. Hence, Paul wasn’t sad on receiving Prophet Agabus’s prophesy about him because he (his enlivened spirit) recognized it as God’s will. So he said “why all this weeping?…For I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but also to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus”(Acts21v13).
In summary, God’s will is mainly known through His Spirit guiding our regenerate spirit. Whether it’s through the study of word of God that tells us that “In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you…this is the will of God even your sanctification” (1st Thess 5v18, 4v3) or through a saint of God, we are able to perceive the will of God through our spirit. Even when we do certain things that seem ‘normal’ to the ordinary eye but against God’s will, He’ll convict us through our conscience (a faculty of the spirit). We don’t need to form the habit of always waiting for ‘a-word-from-the-Lord’ through a pastor or seeking some ‘Prophet’ to guide us. Even when ‘prophetic’ words are spoken to us in church meetings, we are able to discern what is of God and what is not. Hence Paul says to the Corinthians “weigh carefully what is said”. We have God’s Spirit to guide us-even from false doctrines and prophecies. (1st John 2v20, 27). This is what makes the wine of the new covenant sweeter than that of the old covenant. Hallelujah!