January 25, 2023
Our greatest questions in life all surround God’s will. “What is His path for me? What is the next, right step? Where should I go? What should I do next?”
The wisest among us are those who settle for nothing less than God’s paths. They don’t want an alternate, humanistic route. But finding His will is not always easy or natural. The process must be learned. How do we find God’s will? How do we—in both big decisions and small—discover what God wants us to do?
A PRIMER FROM A VETERAN
David, the Shepherd-King of Israel, was a man who found and followed God. He learned this process in a hillside seminary as he guided his sheep for many years. Perhaps the clearest instructions were written by Him under the Spirit’s inspiration in Psalm 25. It is a Divine textbook when we are seeking to know God’s direction for our lives.
1. Look to God alone
David could have made decisions by himself without ever consulting God. He could have merely relied on other's counsel, never consulting the Shepherd and Guardian of his soul. Weighing his best options, the pros and cons, could have led him to the most logical human choice. This is what most people do.
But David knew that the point of the decision was never the decision itself. God is always teaching us to trust Him in every circumstance, for everything in His kingdom operates by faith. David’s prayer was not merely to find a decision but to learn the lifelong art of dependence. And God declared that David was a man after His own heart.
2. Wait on Him
Spiritual waiting (described often in the Bible) is not an inactive verb. It is certainly not laziness. Spiritual waiting is aggressive. It describes the deliberate choice to keep focused on the Father, regardless of the time, circumstances, or pressure swirling around us.
David was anointed to be the King while an evil Saul was still on the throne. Saul’s jealousy hunted David for several years, and David had opportunities to seize the throne. But the wise young shepherd waited on God’s timing. Like the Israelites who were taught not to move until they saw the pillar of fire move (the presence of God), they took steps only by God’s initiation. They refused to run ahead of the Lord or lag behind.
This is one of our greatest struggles. Anxiety overwhelms us, voices shout at us, and we are tempted to move ahead of God. We react too quickly and miss the precise timing and direction of the One-Who-Knows-Everything. Those who attentively wait always find God’s best. “God always gives the best to those who leave the choice up to Him,” one man said.
3. Learn His Ways
Make me know Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths. (Vs. 4)
The benefit of a decision is to learn more of God. We all have our ways. These are the predictable patterns of our behavior. David knew that God had His ways, which are always higher and greater than ours. During the waiting, he was determined to learn these patterns of the Father. Finding a particular path is not as crucial as finding God. If we come to know Him, we will have the compass for every decision for the rest of our lives.
4. Rest in His Heart
Good and upright is the Lord, therefore He instructs sinners in the way. (Vs. 8)
Satan’s subtle temptation with our first parents was to doubt the character of God. “He is not good,” he whispered. “God is lying and withholding from you.” He knew if he could get Eve to doubt God’s goodness, she would disobey Him. No one will follow someone who they think does not have their best interest at heart.
Amid the waiting, don’t take the devil’s bait. God is God, and He can do what He desires, but He is good and always does what is best. “When we cannot trace His hand,” Spurgeon said, “we can always trust His heart.”
5. Maintain Unceasing Humility
The Biblical idea of meekness is not weakness but humble surrender. A meek man has laid his pride at the door. He understands his sinfulness and admits his need. He has ceased looking to himself, and he looks to the Father. He is willing to be governed by a higher King.
This man or woman fears the Lord—not with a cringing fear—but a reverent awe of God and the continual knowledge that God knows what is best. A proud man never finds God’s will, for he thinks he knows better than God. There is no searching of the Scripture, no prayer, no looking to the Father. No seeking godly counsel.
God is continually orchestrating circumstances in our lives to invite us into humility. Meekness is not a resigned surrender with arms crossed, but a wise understanding that gladly submits to God’s plans. “There are two kinds of people,” C.S. Lewis wrote. “Those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, ‘Alright then, have it your way.’”
THE BEAUTY OF GOD’S LEADERSHIP
What will God do for the man who is more concerned for God than anything else? The one who wants to know and honor Him in every moment, each decision? Whose only desire is to serve and please Him?
God is not capricious. He is not trying to confuse or manipulate us. He’s raising children, and we must see the classroom of decision-making as one of His best subjects. We must show up on time, listen to our kind Instructor, take detailed notes, and not leave our seat till the bell has rung.
If we look intently to the Father to know and follow Him, not only will the path be revealed to us (for God has everything to gain by giving us direction), but we will have gained the greatest treasure. We will gain Him.
Gracious Father, thank You for the pressure of every decision. Let it drive me to Your side. Let it remind me of my weakness and raise my eyes to Your throne from which all things come. May I know You more and love You better at the close of each chapter, ever-growing in my dependence upon You. And may my life illustrate to others the higher way so that You may be more greatly seen and glorified.
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