RECOGNIZING THE WILL OF GOD
I initially received the following understanding by REVELATION but subsequently have identified numerous Scriptures collaborating the TRUTH and PRACTISE I propose. These are somewhat hidden but, on reflection, unmistakeable. Recognizing and doing the will of God is the SUPREME ACT OF OUR FAITH. Jesus, Himself, confirmed that He "ONLY DID WHAT HE SAW HIS FATHER DOING, BECAUSE . . . (THE FATHER) LOVES THE SON AND SHOWS HIM ALL HE DOES (Jn.5:19-20). Clearly, then, as "Sons of God" the Father WILL REVEAL HIS WILL TO US. Before proceeding, let me establish some ground. We are not talking here about more minor issues, like "what will I have for lunch"? Although God has unfathomable interest in all aspects of our life, I am speaking here predominantly of "God's will for acts of salvation" (what we do as the church). It is also important to realize that there are "NORMAL" acts which are carried on by God's people without further direction. Isaiah prophesied to God's people regarding "fasting" (sometimes an accompaniment to prayer): "You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high . . . Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter --- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? . . . " (Isa.58:4-14). Although these things are THE NORMAL, we still must be careful to test using the MOTIVATION/OBLIGATION criterion. DO NOT DO EVEN THESE THINGS IF IT IS IN A SPIRIT OF OBLIGATION. So let's proceed.
There are THREE FACETS to determining GOD'S WILL (I use the following three words to help me remember): WORK - WORD - WORLD. The WORK is the person or group under consideration. In my case it is ME. In your case, YOU. The WORD is some revelation or prophecy, perhaps from Scripture or other reliable source. The WORLD represents something like CIRCUMSTANCES. The unfolding of these three can occur in any order but, in seeking to recognize and do God's will, THE THREE MUST BE IN AGREEMENT. If God wants you to do something, He will put the DESIRE to do it within you. Even a normally undesirable thing might become desirable. Jesus, "for the JOY set before Him, ENDURED THE CROSS"
(Heb.12:2). To help ensure further clarity God will make available some SPECIAL REVELATION in one of the manifestations of the WORD. Additionally, there will be necessities required to complete the objective. Such things as transportation, money, vehicles, other people etc. etc. What we see unfolding is the Spirit of God in the WORK, the Spirit of God in the WORD and the Spirit of God in the WORLD. I have found in Scriptures TEN examples of this process. Let's use three of them to complement our understanding. Ezra was called by God to lead a group of His people out of exile in Persia (Assyria, Babylon) and back to Jerusalem to REBUILD THE TEMPLE which had been destroyed by the Babylonians some 150 years earlier. Ezra 1:1 reveals that the move of God was "in order to fulfill the WORD of the Lord spoken to Jeremiah". We note the presence of the Spirit of God in the WORD. Continuing, it is stated that "the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia . . . ". The story goes on to reveal that Cyrus and others made provisions for all the needs of God's people in order to complete the task (Ezra 1:2-11). Surely we see here the Spirit of God at work in the WORLD. Ezra 1:5 completes our triad of confirmation: "Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites --- EVERYONE WHOSE HEART GOD HAD MOVED - - - prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem". There it is! The Spirit of God in the WORK. The same triad can be seen in 1 John 3:1-2: "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we (WORK) should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the WORLD does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are the children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears (The WORD), we shall be like Him . . .". This Scripture helps us understand the WORLD in a more negative sense. When the WORLD does not respond to the Gospel, we realize that it is not that we are at fault but that the devil is still powerfully at work. I hesitate to use the third Scripture because it could cause controversy. Nevertheless, if you have been enabled to understand the foregoing, you can likely navigate the following. John, in speaking of Jesus, said: "This is the one who came by water and the blood --- Jesus Christ (The WORD) . He did not come by water only but by water and the blood. And it is the SPIRIT (WORLD) who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. (1 John 5:6). For THERE ARE THREE THAT TESTIFY: the Spirit (gone out into the WORLD), the water (WORK), and the blood (WORD); and THE THREE ARE IN AGREEMENT. If you noted the parallel to baptisms that is a bonus teaching. It is always best to wait upon God until you clearly see ALL THREE in evidence before proceeding. My own personal approach, even after all three are in evidence, is to now PRAY something like this: "Lord, I believe you have given me three witnesses of your will. I INTEND to move forward with all my being and everything extra you might provide. BUT, IF THIS IS NOT YOUR WILL, I PRAY THAT YOU PLACE A BARRIER BEFORE ME SO THAT I CANNOT DO ANYTHING AGAINST YOUR WILL." To this point there has never been a barrier placed before me. . . . . . . . That concludes the section on Recognizing God's Will which also concludes the third phase of Salvation --- SEPARATION. As well, we have now concluded the second area of Gospel study, GOSPEL INTENT.
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