I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. (John 17:6)
The Holy Spirit will never mislead you about the Father’s will. In order that you not miss the purpose God has for you, He has given His Spirit to guide you according to His will. The Spirit also enables you to do God’s will. You are completely dependent on God for the knowledge and for the ability to achieve His purposes. You must be patient and wait until you hear a word from God about His will and His ways.
Jesus is our model. He never failed to know and do His Father’s will. Everything the Father proposed to do through His life, the Lord Jesus did. Thus, Jesus could claim at the end of His life that He had completed everything Hid Father had given Him to do.
What was the key to Jesus’ perfect obedience? He was always rightly related to the Father. If you walk in a consistent relationship with God, then you should never come to a time that you do not know His will. There should never be a situation in which you are not enabled by the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s will.
In Jesus, we have the picture of a perfect love relationship with the Father. Jesus consistently lived out that relationship. You and I quickly conclude that we are a long way from that, but Christ is fully present in us to help us know and do God’s will (Galatians 2:20). We need to adjust our lives to God and faithfully live out the relationship with absolute depend on Him. He will never fail to draw us into the middle of His purpose and enable us to do it- as He did for people throughout Scripture.
You, too, will be blessed when God does a special God-sized work through you. You will come to know Him in a way that brings joy to your life.
Henry and Richard Blackaby
The general will of God can always be found in Scriptures. For example, we can always know that it is God’s will to save the lost for Christ Himself said so.
“for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Yet, this knowledge of the general will of God isn’t sufficient. We must know in each situation the specific will of God. Let me explain. When Jesus was her on earth there can be no question that He had the power to heal, to deliver and even raise people from the dead. Yet He did not assume that because He had the ability He also had the permission of the Father. He only did that which the Father specifically gave Him to do. He did not assume that He could operate on His own. Therefore, He did not heal, deliver, or raise whomever He wished but only those whom the Father instructed Him to go to. This was the secret of His success. He sought and waited for the Father to give Him instructions before He moved. Sometimes in the church, we decide the course of action and try to carry it out without first consulting God as to whether it is His plan and purpose for us and then waiting on His enablement to do it. Often we assume that if someone else is doing it, it ought to work for us. Many times a church will attempt to imitate what they feel is working in another successful church only to find that they fail miserably. I remember early on in my ministry trying to copy the preaching styles and even trying to use the sermons of some of the great preachers of the day. I can tell you that each time I did so, it was a miserable failure. On the other hand, even when I thought my preaching was sadly lacking, when I gave what God had given me, the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those listeners was amazing.
Moses understood the general will of God. He knew that the Israelites needed to be delivered from the bondage and suffering. His initial approach in carrying out this general will of God was by using the method and training He had received in Pharaoh’s palace. He had observed that the use of the sword was the way of power so when he saw the Egyptians mistreating fellow Hebrews, he slew them. Instead of this attracting the favor of the Hebrews, it became rejection so he fled Egypt into the wilderness. For all he knew he had tried and failed and that was that so he decided to become a shepherd for his father-in-law. This is the sad story of so many Christians. They see the general will of God and with enthusiasm they approach the work of God. However, as Moses they attempt to use their personal knowledge and abilities to accomplish this work; and they fail so they sit down giving up on doing the work of God. But God doesn’t give up on us! One day after Moses gave up his plans and abandoned his methods, God appeared to Him in a burning bush. In that bush and encounter Mose saw the power and the glory of God. He realized that in himself he had no power to carry out the will of God. By this time his earlier failure had stripped him of any arrogance or confidence in himself even to the point that he tells God he can’t do this thing. And this is what happens to those of us who have tried to do it our way and failed. We not only lose confidence in ourselves but we also lose confidence in God. As you read the story of the deliverance you discover that God used Moses in a powerful way. You will also find that like Jesus, Moses constantly sought the direction, the will and the power of God. No longer would he depend upon himself. He lived this model with two exceptions and from these two exceptions we learn a great lesson. In the first, we see Moses attempting to do everything by himself. As the leader, he acted as judge and counselor to the whole multitude. Every day in addition to all the things he must do to lead the congregation, he also heard individual cases. This was unsustainable and God used Jethro, Moses father-in-law to gently remind him that he was not in invincible nor indispensable. Through Jethro’s instruction Moses learned to delegate. Again this is the pattern of Christ as he called the Twelve and sent out the Seventy. Far too often we attempt to carry out the will of God by ourselves, somehow thinking that we are the only ones who can do so. As God said to Elijah when he said that he was the only one in Israel following God, “I have seven thousand besides you.” In prayer Christ taught that “if any two of you agree, what you’d ask in my name, I will do it.” So the will of God involves others in order for it to succeed.
The second exception we see is that of Moses using past methods to address present situations. In the first occasion when the people were thirsty, God instructed Moses to strike the rock with his staff. He did so and water ran out. As they continue on their journey, they are faced with the same dilemma,no water. In an impulsive response and in spite of God’s instructions, Moses used the past method and struck the rock. God had instructed him to speak to it, but that was a new and untried method and Moses
chose to use an old tried and true. It had worked in the past, why not use it again. This disobedient act cost Moses the Promised Land. He was able to look into it but never lived in it. Now God brought water from the rock by His grace, but Moses paid a high price for yielding to the old method instead of following the current instructions.
I wonder how often we find ourselves with Moses in these two exceptions; trying to do the will of God alone or trying to do the will of God with yesterday’s methods.
It is for reason that Christ instructed the believers to “wait for the Promise.” Just as He Himself waited for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, He knew that they must also. Just as He was led by the Spirit, they must be also. As He was guided and empowered to do the will of God, so also must they. This has never changed. If we are going to become successful in the work of God, individually or collectively we must learn to wait for instruction and empowerment. We dare not assume that methods and approaches of the bygone days are still the means of carrying out the will of God.
Jesus knew that the former method of atonement for sin was the continual offering of the sacrificial lamb. Perhaps He could have said to the Father that there was no need to change the method, but instead He knew it was the time and He was to become the Sacrificial Lamb. From that moment, the plan of God changed from the old to what Hebrews calls “the new and living way.” The apostles came to understand that it was the will of God to include Gentiles in the plan of salvation and the church had to change its methodology. They could no longer insist that Christians follow every Jewish ritual so they set up new expectations.
We must see that God is creative and that nothing is beyond Him to work and to do. We must as believers develop our relationship with God in such a way that we can hear His specific instructions and receive His power to carry them out. We must no longer be the Moses on the backside of the desert having given up because our methods haven’t worked. If that’s you, I encouraged you to ask God to give you a “burning bush” encounter. May our ears be open and our hearts be tender to the voice of the Shepherd giving us direction and instruction. May our spirits be open to the Holy Spirit so we might receive His power to carry out the will of God.
Dr. John Thompson