Knowing God’s Will: The Rest of the Story

December 20, 2017 at 8:16 AM

In this series, we have been highlighting aspects of Dr. Bruce Waltke’s excellent book titled, Finding the Will of God. We have previously discussed several of his points. Rather than simply rehash them here, readers are encouraged to read the articles for themselves. They can be found here, herehere, here, and here.

We’d like to wrap up this series with this final post and we again encourage our readers to buy a copy of Waltke’s book for its wealth of information and how it guides the reader back into God’s Word. Finding the Will of God can be purchased on Amazon or your favorite Christian bookseller.

Waltke brings out three final points in his book: Seek Wise Counsel, Look for God’s Providence, and Does This Makes Sense? By following these as well as the other areas discussed by Waltke, he believes that what will ultimately occur is a greater, more natural awareness of God’s will in our lives. The reason for this is because by following the dictates he lists (which are based solely on the Bible), we will become more in tuned with God’s mind. This is not to say that we will be able to read God’s thoughts. It simply means that as we apply ourselves to reading His Word, studying it, memorizing it, seeking His face through prayer and constant communication, as well as endeavoring to live what we learn from His Word, our character will become more like that of Jesus. This is extremely important.

If a son is raised by a father and mother who clearly love one another and show it routinely, this will be picked up through osmosis by the son. Consequently, when he comes to the point of choosing a mate, he will find someone compatible and one he is able to love fully. He will likely find that he will mirror the way his father loved the son’s mother. The life of the parents has spilled over by example into the life of the son. Without possibly even realizing it, the son noticed things and was impacted by the real love evidenced in his parents’ relationship.

Conversely, the child who is ignored, abused, neglected and who sees two parents who treat each other miserably, will likely grow up to reflect that character in any relationship he pursues. It is a sad fact, but clearly the old adage, children live what they learn applies here.

It is the same with the Christian and his or her relationship with God in Christ. If we take that relationship seriously, we will want it to grow. We will also understand that it cannot grow unless we apply ourselves to it.

I have been married to my wonderful wife for nearly 32 years. I sometimes look back and even though I recall at the time how well I thought I knew her, it is very clear years later that I hardly knew her at all. Now, I am far more aware of her strengths and weaknesses as she is of mine. The blending that has occurred over the decades has brought us to a point where our relationship simply seems natural. Without struggling, I think that in many ways, I know what my wife feels and thinks about a variety of situations. Because of my love for her, I want to live toward her in a way that glorifies our relationship by lifting her up. She in turn does the same for me.

If we say we are Christians, then the words of the apostle James applies to all of us. In short, and to paraphrase his five chapters, it is important to have faith because that is the starting point to our relationship with God in Christ. However, faith must work itself out in the way we live and if it does not, then our faith is worthless. It serves no purpose other than to be a form of wishful thinking.

Throughout the Bible, faith is always followed by some action, which tends to prove that person’s faith. Christians who want to live God’s will find themselves doing it somehow, some way, because they want to live it as an expression of their faith in God.

Waltke says that to know God’s will, sometimes, we must seek the counsel of other Christians. He notes that when he has done this, it is almost as though the Lord has prepared the other person’s heart for the meeting. Waltke is not saying (like those in the signs and wonders movement), that you seek the counsel of another Christian so that they can give you a “prophetic word” or “word of knowledge.” Sometimes, simply having another mature Christian provide their biblical opinion helps to flesh out God’s will for us. We should all have someone we can go to for wise, biblical counsel. If nothing else, they can hear us and pray for us.

The next thing Waltke says is that we should Look for God’s Providence. God opens and closes doors. He provides opportunities and we should be attentive to that fact. God leads by opening doors. He has done this many times in my life and the lives of our children as they have learned to wait on Him as well. Waltke points to James 4:13-17 to underline his thinking.

There’s so much we do not know about our life and God’s plan for us. It should cause us to become very observant about His Providence. He will direct through situations that are completely beyond our control. Sometimes, our job is to simply go along with His program, to make ourselves available to Him and He will direct our steps.

Next, we should ask ourselves, Does this make sense? In other words, does the path I’m about to take seem logical? That’s a very important question to answer.

Let me provide an example. We moved into another home on a few acres in southern Georgia this past July. There is pasture and farmland everywhere. In fact, across the dirt road from our home is over 1,300 acres of pasture, where cows are rotated through the various fenced in areas. It’s beautiful and relaxing.

However, there are also a ton of tall, old trees here and while the electric company tries to keep up by trimming branches away from power lines, it’s really impossible to stay ahead of it. Besides this, if the ground softens through much rain, live trees have been known to simply fall over.

Shortly after we moved into the home that is new to us, Hurricane Irma came through. We did not suffer a direct hit but still, a group of four trees started leaning over and onto the power lines that provided power to our home. We were out of electricity for four days. Fortunately, we have a small gas powered generator and was able to hook our well pump and several things in our home to it. We had the basics. But it got me thinking that maybe we should invest in a much larger generator and have a manual switch installed so that if this occurs in the future, I would only need to start the generator, flip the switch and our home would run as though the electricity was still on.

I placed an order for such a generator but they said it would not ship for several months. I simply waited. However, just a few days before it shipped, our car broke down. Something with the heater core went bad and all of the coolant leaked out onto the ground. Fortunately, it did so just as we were pulling into our driveway. I had the car towed and learned that it would cost several hundred to fix it. I also knew that we had a power steering leak from the pump and the oil pan also leaked. I asked them for a full price.

The garage folks called to tell me that they also found that my water pump was starting to leak. Total to fix all four things was just over $1,400. The money that I was going to spend on the new generator was just over $1,500. I did not have enough to do both. After considering the situation, it simply seemed logical to cancel the generator purchase and get the car fixed. Looking back, I realize it was a bit of a no-brainer.

I’d still like to still buy the new, larger generator, but it will have to wait. It kind of reminds me of James’ words in James 4:13-14 where he tells readers that we should not be so presumptuous to make plans that we assume will simply come to pass. Instead, we should, as he follows up in verses 15 through 17, say if is is the Lord’s will, we will do such and such. God rules. He is sovereign. I had to make a choice and the choice after prayer seemed logical enough so I made the choice.

Finally, Dr. Waltke broaches the subject of Divine Intervention. This concept is huge in the signs and wonders movement, but relatively speaking, it is not that huge in the Bible and overall scheme of things. Yes, there are many examples of God’s direct intervention throughout Scripture, but if we consider the fact that the Bible specifically highlights those events for a specific reason, it becomes clear that not everyone had direct encounters with God or experienced divine intervention. It simply seems that this may have been the case because over lifetimes of many people, mainly the highlights are noted in Scripture.

Waltke states, “God does not intervene in response to seeking His will in a perplexing situation. There are no examples of God stepping miraculously into the life of anyone in the New Testament in response to the seeking of His Will. When the Lord does choose to do something miraculous, like sending a vision to Peter or transporting Philip to another town, it is not in response to a request for God to reveal His will. As a matter of fact, both of these men already believed they were already doing God’s will, and the Lord stepped in to change their situations.” [1]

This is often the case in the Old Testament as well. However, we do see more divine intervention there because all of God’s Word had not yet been written. In spite of this, there are numerous examples of God simply intervening in someone’s life when they were not even praying, expecting, or searching for it. The point is that we should not necessarily count on direct divine intervention, though it is always a possibility.

I think Waltke’s book has some significant points to make and I also believe every Christian will benefit from reading his book because it helps clarify how Christians today are to gain an understanding of God’s will.

We spend an inordinate amount of time seeking God, don’t we? This is very clear within the signs and wonders movement where people gather because they want more of God. They want to experience Him through ecstatic signs and wonders. This really is not the way to do it and I can attest to that from my own past involvement in the Charismatic Movement. There, everything is geared to the miraculous. However, in reality, gaining an understanding of God’s will is accomplished as we endeavor to first, know how God wants us to live. Second, by faith we deliberately choose to live that way.

The New Testament is filled with commands and admonitions about how we should live our lives. Too often, we spend little time being obedient and hours or days seeking God. The entirety of James’ epistle tells Christians how to live; what we should and should not do. It’s only a mystery to those people who never or rarely open God’s Word at the start.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? – James 2:14 ESV

As we seek to live the way God wants us to live, I am convinced that in most cases, the Lord’s will for our lives will become apparent and natural. We don’t have to seek signs and wonders for that to happen. In fact, we should not seek them.

Christian, let’s start living the will of God that He has already revealed in His Word. We should refuse to show partiality (James 2), tame our tongues (James 3), allow the fruit of the Spirit to be developed (Galatians 5:22-23), and all the rest of things that God wants us to observe. Obviously, we do those things because of the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit within us, but doing them is what counts.

If we are responsible in doing these things more and more, gaining understanding of God’s will in other areas of our life will be that much more natural.


Dr. Bruce Waltke, Finding the Will of God, pp. 169-170

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Emotional virtue, Religious - Christian - Prophecy. Tags: , , , , .

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