Summary: Acts 16 reveals three basic facts about God’s direction for our lives.
UNDERSTANDING GOD’S WILL
INTRO.- ILL.- A preacher received a call from a church that offered him a salary four times what he was getting at his present church. Since he was a very devout and spiritual man, he spent much time in prayer trying to determine what God wanted him to do.
One day a friend was talking to the preacher’s son and he asked him, “Do you know what your dad is going to do?” “Well,” replied, the youngster, “DAD’S PRAYING, BUT MOM’S PACKING!”
HOW DOES A PERSON DISCERN GOD’S WILL FOR THEIR LIVES? For some people, it’s a matter of prayer and for others, it may well be a matter of money.
Money often speaks louder to people than God does. Many people decide what they are going to do in life based on the pay scale or “what’s-in-it-for-me” rather than honestly seeking God’s will. SELF IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN GOD.
ILL.- There was once an old Scottish woman who went from home to home across the countryside selling thread, buttons, and shoestrings. When she came to an unmarked crossroad, she would toss a stick into the air and go in the direction the stick pointed when it landed.
One day, however, she was seen tossing the stick up several times. "Why do you toss the stick more than once?" someone asked. "Because," replied the woman, "it keeps pointing to the left, and I want to take the road on the right."
That’s the way we are. “Lord, I’ll do anything you want as long as it’s what I want.”
We want to bend God’s will to meet our will or to become our will. Of course, I think we all know that God doesn’t work that way. He’s in charge, not us. We often stubbornly “do our own thing” and “go our own way,” even though we have a pretty good idea of God’s will for our lives.
ILL.- Dr. George L. Robinson taught for 41 years as a Professor of Hebrew and O.T. history as McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. When he was just a young man, he said, “I’LL GO WHEREVER THE LORD CALLS ME, BUT NOT TO CHICAGO.”
George Robinson did eventually go to Chicago and apparently, had a very successful career in teaching the Word of God. Was it God’s will for him to go there? We assume so. There came a time in Robinson’s life when he finally surrendered to the Lord and was willing to let Him lead. And that’s when God blessed Him in a great way!
Every Christian should want to know God’s will for their lives. To be in the center of God’s will is always the best place to be! It’s the place to be blessed by God, cared for by God, protected by God, and provided for by God!
WHAT IS GOD’S WILL FOR MY LIFE? All of us should want to know the answer to this question.
What does God want me to do in life? Where does He want me to live? Whom does he want me to marry? Should I go to college? If so, which college? Should I change jobs or stay with this one? Should I make this trip or not? What should I do about my financial situation? On and on, the questions go.
Brethren, God has promised in His Word that He will direct us if we seek His guidance.
Prov. 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
IN ALL YOUR WAYS, ACKNOWLEDGE HIM. That means check with the Lord before you do anything! Pray about every decision you make in life. Ask the Lord for His wisdom and direction. HE’S THE MAN! HE’S GOD! He knows all, sees all, understands all, and has all the right answers!
Ps. 25:4-5 “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior...”
SHOW ME. TEACH ME. GUIDE ME. For you are God.
In seeking God’s will for our lives there are two mistakes that people often make:
1- There is the popular idea that God has every detail of our lives prearranged.
It is the idea that we are not freewill agents and have no freedom of choice in life. This teaching was made popular by John Calvin, a French preacher of the 1500’s. It’s called “Calvinism.”
Many people believe that God has caused everything that happens to them in life. If this were true, then we wouldn’t have to worry about seeking God’s will. It would mean that God had control of everything we did and said. And common sense should tell us that “ain’t so.”