In this and the next two studies we want to consider how we can find God's perfect will for our lives. This is a very, very important subject.
The Bible speaks in Romans 12 about understanding the perfect will of God. It says "Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect" (Rom. 12:2). There is a will of God for your life, which is perfect. From the time you are born again, from the time you have given your life to Christ, till the end of your appointed days on earth, God has chalked out, mapped out, marked out, and prepared a perfect blueprint, a perfect plan for every detail of your life; where you should live, whom you should marry, what you should do, what your earthly occupation should be, what all trials you should go through, what all temptations you should face, and what ministry you should have in His Body. These are all part of God's plan for your life. And you will never know or fulfil that plan unless you have a longing. God doesn't force anyone to walk in this plan. God doesn't even force people to go into heaven. He doesn't stop people from going to hell, if they want to go to hell. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
The Holy Spirit is in the world, moving around, turning people towards God, steering believers to respond to His call, to surrender, and seek God's perfect will. But if the Holy Spirit finds that you are not really serious about doing God's perfect will in your life, He will just leave you alone. He won't pursue after you. He may cry a few times, but if He finds that you are not eager about doing God's will because you won't be able to make so much money, or you won't be able to get on in the world if you seek God's will, well then, He will just leave you alone. And in eternity, you will have a lot of regrets. When you map out your life, you map out as a blind man. You are totally blind concerning the future; you don't even know what is going to happen tomorrow. You are totally blind concerning all the dangers and the pitfalls that are in front of you, made by men and made by Satan and his demons.
As far as the future goes, we are totally blind. It is like a blind man trying to walk through an unknown path. Isn't it good for such a man to have a guide whose eyes are wide open and who can see far ahead, so far in distance? That is exactly what God wants to do for us. God knows the whole future. He knows exactly what is good for us. He knows every pitfall, every snare that is prepared for you by men or demons, and He can protect you from all of them. He can lead you in a path, in your earthly life, that will be so perfect that one day, when you come to the end of your life and you stand before the Lord and look back over your life, you will realize you could not have made a better plan yourself. I see it like this: If I knew all the factors that are going to affect my life in the future, if I knew every single thing that would happen to me along this path and that path and the other path, and the alternatives I have to choose, if I knew every aspect of the future and if I knew myself as God knows me; my abilities, my personalities, if I have God's wisdom, the plan I would make would exactly be the same as what God has made for me. Because all of us seek our own interests, we seek what is good for us. Do you know that God also seeks what is good for you? There is a verse in Jeremiah 29:11 where God says, "I know the plans I have for you, they are not plans for calamity but plans for your welfare, to give you a future and a hope."
God's perfect plan for us is something that is for our welfare, that which is the very best for us. Therefore, if you are a wholehearted disciple of Jesus Christ, you will seek His plan in every area of your life. You will say, 'Lord, I don't want to live in any city or town where you don't want me to live. I don't want to marry any girl or any boy whom you don't want me to marry. Your choice is going to be the uppermost in every single area of my life. I want to spend my money the way you want me to spend it. I want to spend my time the way you want me to spend it. And I want to do only what you want me to do on this earth.' If you are such a person, I want to share with you some principles, by which we can prove the perfect will of God. I want to put this in the form of 12 questions that we can ask ourselves, if we are to find God's perfect will on any issue. Sometimes we can be faced with an issue concerning which we are not sure. Is this God's will or is it not? Then if we ask ourselves these 12 questions and seek to answer them as honestly as possibly we can to ourselves, as we come to the end of the list of those questions, it will become more and more clear to us what the will of God is.
Let me first list out those questions to you and then we will go through them one by one over this and next two studies.
1) Is this thing that I am considering contrary to any of the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, or to the spirit of the New Testament as far as I know? In other words, is there something forbidding it in God's word, in the New Testament especially?
2) Is it something I can do with a clear conscience?
3) Is it something I can do for the glory of God?
4) Is it something I can do in fellowship with Jesus?
5) Can I ask God to bless me as I do it?
6) Will my doing it, blunt my spiritual edge in any way?
7) Will it be spiritually profitable and edifying to the best of my knowledge?
8) Would I be happy if I were found doing it at the moment when Jesus returns to earth?
9) What do wiser and more mature brothers think about it?
10) Will my doing it bring dishonour to God's name or ruin my testimony, if others know about it?
11) Will my doing it cause others to stumble, if they know about it?
12) Do I feel free in my spirit to do it?
As we look at these 12 questions one by one, it will become more and clearer, what God's will is concerning any area.
First of all, if something is forbidden in scripture, we don't need to think about that a second time. That is very clear in scripture. Should I tell a lie here? Well, does the scripture say anything about telling lies? It certainly does. Is there any excuse for me not to forgive this person? In those areas, scripture is absolutely clear. We must forgive and we must always speak the truth. There are many other areas like this where God's word is crystal clear and, we don't need to pray or seek God at all. If you are considering something which is contrary to God's word, if it is contrary to the spirit of the New Testament; it may not be a particular passage in scripture that is pointing to that particular matter which I am considering but if I have understood the principles of the New Testament, I can ask myself, 'Is this contrary to the Spirit of The New testament?' By that itself I should know what to do. That is the first question. That is why it is important for us to know what the scripture says.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we read, "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." So there we see that scripture has been given to us to correct us, to lead us in the path of righteousness, and equip us for every good work. If you are not familiar with the teaching of the New Testament, there may be situations in your life where you don't know what God's will is. You won't know because you do not pay attention to scripture and you have not studied the scriptures. This is why it is so important to give ourselves to a careful study of the New Testament, in order to find God's will in the areas where that will is revealed in scripture. Then it will be much easier for us to know God's will in those many other areas of our life, which are not revealed in scripture as well, because we will know the spirit behind the scriptures. For example, if you are considering a job or considering marrying someone, you will not find explicit mention in the scripture. But if you have spent your life seeking to obey God's will in every area that you have seen in the scriptures, God will make sure you don't miss His will in such important areas as marriage! That is the benefit we get by obeying God's word.
And secondly, you need to ask yourself, 'Is this something you can do with a clear conscience.' Conscience is not a perfect guide, but it is a very healthy guide to show us what God's will is. In 1 John 3:21, it says, "If our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God." This is the thing that gives us boldness. As you consider this course of action, you find in your conscience a freedom. Or does your conscience disturb you that this is not good? This is not something that Jesus would want you to do. If your conscience disturbs you, don't do it. So think of these two things. Is it according to God's word? Is it something I can do with a clear conscience?