This week on Running the Race, Sydney Missionary Bible College Lecturer, Malcolm Gill talks about knowing God’s will. How do we know God’s will? People certainly discuss this all the time. How is it possible? We pray for God’s will to be done. How do we know what God’s will is?
That’s a great question. I often find that when we think about God’s will, some of us have sort of this vague idea that God’s got a will that’s kind of like a game I used to play when I was a kid. I’d go into a room and I’d hide something of my brother’s. And he’d come in the room and I’d say, “You’re getting warm,” and then, you know, “You’re getting colder,” and, “You’re getting hotter.” The idea was that you’d hide something until they’d find it and sometimes we’d think of God’s will, kind of mysterious, terms like that. That God has a plan that’s out there, but unless you find that right person to marry or the right job, that you’re gonna miss His will. And sometimes I think we over-pressurise ourselves with this idea that God’s will is something that’s very elusive.
But the Bible actually says that God has spoken in the past. He did it in a lot of different ways, through prophets, through donkeys, through the law of Moses. There was many ways He spoke, but the Bible says that in the last days, He’s spoken to us by His son, Jesus. And I would suggest that when we think about the will of God, we want to start off by looking at Jesus.
That’s kind of an obvious thing. We’re Christians, we follow Jesus, and he’s the answer to all of our questions. But in a very real sense, if we wanna know what God’s will is upon something, we should look and learn from Jesus. We should know his teachings, we should reflect on his life. And I think that’s a helpful beginning point for us to frame all of these questions.
…we find that Jesus reorients us to what greatness is and what true success is. That’s not about getting treasure here on Earth, but treasure in Heaven.
But getting to the nitty-gritty, how does that shape what we do? You know, whether we have Cocoa Puffs for breakfast or Rice Bubbles or, you know, whether we take a job downtown or a job in the suburbs, legitimate questions. I would suggest a couple of things from a practical perspective.
The first would be this, we want to ask, is this consistent with what Jesus taught and valued? Yes, so when we go, for example, to the Sermon on the Mount, we find that Jesus reorients us to what greatness is and what true success is. That’s not about getting treasure here on Earth, but treasure in Heaven.
So when we take a position, whether it’s at a job in the city or out in the suburbs, it’s not necessarily which one pays more or pays less, but which one will eventually get treasure in Heaven. When we decide what career we might go after, whether we go after a career, whether we take a holiday or these other things. These are all important things, but is this going to promote the gospel? Or is this going to be just something that distracts us from it?
Now there are times in our lives where things are neutral. It’s a good thing to go to a university. It’s also a good thing to go get a job. How do I know what God’s will is? I would say if you’re following Jesus, you’re walking in step with the spirit, whatever decision you make is going to be in step with God’s will. Now sometimes doors might shut or open and again we wanna see God’s presence in that, but I would say it’s not nearly as mysterious as we need to think.
Another way we can get practical help is to ask others, other godly people you know. So that Proverbs says that, “Wisdom is found in the counsel of many.” I want to ask people, “Do you think this job,” let’s say it’s a job, “Would this be a wise thing for me to do as a Christian?” Getting married. I remember getting married, I asked a couple of people, “You know me well. You know this girl. What do you think?” And they all said, “Malcolm, you’re marrying up. Go for it.” But there was a wisdom that was found when I asked the advice of others. And that’s how God speaks. He often speaks first and foremost through His word, the Bible, that speaks about his son Jesus. But He also speaks through wise Christians who know and love Him and are walking in step with Him.
What an encouragement, Mal. I feel as though, if we’re walking in step with His spirit, then what could go wrong really?
That’s right, and it’s not nearly as mysterious as looking in bushes for coins where God is saying, “You’re getting warmer, you’re getting warmer.”
Each Sunday, FRESH presenter Sam Robinson chats with Malcolm Gill, lecturer at Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC), about different aspects of living the Christian life—or ‘running the race’. Hear them on air Sundays at 6.20am and 9.20am, or on FRESH just after 9pm each Saturday.