Today we continue our series on “Knowing God’s Will,” specifically addressing the sanctification phase.
As previously established, I believe knowing God’s will for your life, takes place through various stages.
The first stage, is simplicity.
-God’s will becomes much easier to find when we stop over-complicating matters.
-God does not want His will to be complicated on our end.
-He wants us to find His will and do it faithfully.
The second stage, concerns salvation.
-God’s general will is for all persons to be saved.
-His specific will, is the calling upon our life to go to various places and do various things.
-However, in order to know His specific will for our life, we must be in tune with His general will by following Jesus as Lord.
-As such, one cannot know God’s specific will for their life, until they have humbly submit to His general will.
-Salvation is a prerequisite to knowing God’s specific will for your life. You cannot know His specific will for your life, until you are saved.
The third stage, involves the process of sanctification. The basis for our understanding, will once again, be Romans 12:1-2.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:1-2
Paul acknowledges in the above quote, many important aspects of God’s will.
-He addresses God’s will is for Christians alone.
-He notes God’s will can be found and understood.
-He points out God’s will, will only be understood, when one grows in their holiness – a process Christians like to call “sanctification.”
Sanctification literally refers to the process of becoming more like Christ; the process of separating yourself from the world. The ministry website of My Utmost for His Highest, has a wonderful definition of sanctification. Sanctification means to be “intently focused on God’s point of view.” As we walk closer with God, we become far more concerned with his will for our life, than our own hopes and dreams.
Paul claims in the aforementioned Scriptures, it is our responsibility to become a “living sacrifice” to God.
This happens by:
-separating ourselves from the world
-renewing our mind
-resulting in the ability to test and prove God’s will.
Consequently, a close walk with God, is one of the key determining factors in recognizing His specific will for my life.
How then, do I walk closely with God?
The Spiritual Disciplines
The development of Spiritual Disciplines are necessary to help us walk closer with God, and in being able to rightly discern the specific will of God.
Such disciplines as prayer, meditation, fasting, and diligent study (among others), are all part of understanding God’s specific will. An individual who cannot discern God’s will is an individual out of touch with the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life. Only when a believer faithfully participates in the spiritual disciplines, will they be able to faithfully discern God’s specific will. The spiritual disciplines God has given us, and the Holy Spirit has empowered us to accomplish, are given for our benefit.
One of God’s attributes is his Divine Aseity, or that, literally, God needs nothing. He is self-sufficient; He relies on no thing. God exists apart from everything and needs nothing to continue His existence. God does not need us to practice the spiritual disciplines for His benefit. He is already benefited by being Who He is. Our existence does not benefit God in any matter. Consequently, the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life are for our benefit, not God’s. We grow in our faith by utilizing them, and they are necessary to discern God’s specific will.
God has already established His specific will for us. It is up to us to find it.
We find the product by utilizing the process.
The product is God’s specific will for our life, and the process is the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life. The process leads to the product, ergo, spiritual discipline practice leads to an understanding of God’s specific will.
So the following questions should come to mind, when you are seeking God’s specific will for their life:
-are you spending diligent time in prayer?
-are you spending diligent time in study?
-are you meditating on the Word of God?
-are you memorizing the Word of God?
-are you fasting over this decision?
-are you living a holy, consecrated life?
-are you living a life separated from the world?
The practice of these disciplines, by nature, lead to the understanding of God’s specific will.
If you are faithfully doing the aforementioned disciplines, you will never have to ask, “is this decision God’s will for my life?”
You will know by default.