Today as I was praying, I was faced with a great need to hear God about our future. We have 3 options before us in 3 different countries. How can we know for sure that we are hearing God and not get it wrong? Getting it wrong would be quite costly when you consider the implications of moving the family overseas.
God gives in Jeremiah 9 a very strong warning about having a heart that is not fully surrendered to God’s plans for your life – you have to surrender BEFORE you know what the plans will be – this means unconditional surrender…. Some will be scared when they hear about surrendering unconditionally before you know what is coming. Well, if you know God, that He has good plans for you, not to harm you but to give you a hope and a future, if you understand that He can do far more with your life than you can ever imagine doing in your own strength, than unconditional surrender doesn’t sound that bad, in fact, it sounds a wise thing to do. Well, here is where your trust in God and your knowledge of His character is tested. Can you trust Him with your life? After all, you gave your life to Him when you became a Christian, so why be foolish and take it back now, or parts of it, thinking you can do better on your own with it??
The warning in Jeremiah goes like this:
“And the LORD said, “Because they … have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts … therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. I will scatter them also among the Gentiles, whom neither they nor their fathers have known. And I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.” (verse 13 to 16)
Wow … who wants to come prey to such judgements – this was written to us as a teaching and as a warning. And in case you are wondering if this applies under the New Covenant, check this Scripture:
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, MUCH MORE SHALL WE NOT ESCAPE if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven (Hebrews 12:25)
Let’s take heed seriously, God doesn’t joke here with us, He means what He says. And He will guide us if we are surrendered in our heart to do ONLY His will.
But, even though I surrendered unconditionally, I did not hear anything yet from God this morning – well, the Bible says through faith AND PATIENCE we inherit the promises, I need to be patient and keep on trusting God to speak to me when and how He sees fit. He is faithful who will also do it. It also says in the Bible that those who wait on God will never be ashamed. So, I am waiting by continuing to seek Him first and the answer to my questions second.
Then, I thought, maybe turning to the Word will help.
I asked God to speak to me from the Word – maybe the Word will speak to me. I opened the Bible at Colossians 4 and read one of the titles in this passage – called Christian graces. I thought: Oh, no, this is all about greetings and things like that, what can I get from that?? I almost discarded it and did not read it. But somehow I decided it’s best to give it a go and be obedient to where I felt lead to read, just in case one small thing jumps out of this passage at me and helps me in my need for guidance – but it seemed to me there was a small chance.
I started to read attentively and not rush through to make sure I give God a chance to draw my attention on what He was trying to tell me from this portion of the Scripture. Towards the end, boom, it jumped at me! And how I nearly missed it, letting my own natural mind take over in thinking there is nothing to find in these passages! I have read this portion of Scripture many times but it never made as much sense and was never as relevant as now – revelation at the right time of need! Read further if you too need to know the will of God for yourself and you will find here a revelation that will help you in that process.
I guess if you are reading this article is because you are interested in knowing God’s will for your life and want to do His will. This is wonderful, the Lord is seeking such people He can trust with His plans for the world who are willing to do His will. Read on and you will see how you can find out the will of God.
I got to verse 12:
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, ALWAYS LABORING FERVENTLY for you IN PRAYERS, THAT YOU MAY STAND PERFECT AND COMPLETE (NU version translates this as ‘fully assured’) IN ALL THE WILL OF GOD. For I bear him witness that HE HAS A GREAT ZEAL for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.”
Some of the words jumped at me and I suddenly realized HOW I can be sure to find the will of God. There are some conditions listed here that I need to fulfil: ALWAYS LABOR FERVENTLY IN PRAYERS
1. I have to pray ALWAYS – pray without ceasing as it says in another passage, in other words live abiding in the presence of God throughout the day apart from the set time aside to seek God in a more focused way. I need to cultivate that abiding in God and use the support systems that enables me to do so: pray in tongues as I do chores, listen to praise and worship and join the singing, put on a Bible tape or a audio message as I drive or do house work, talk to God throughout the day – these things have helped me much in the past to maintain that intimacy with God and abide in His presence.
2. LABOR IN PRAYER – this does not sound like a meek and mild cute little praying for 5 to 15 minutes a day while lying relaxed on the couch and sipping a cup of coffee. That is not to say that there aren’t times when you rest in God and do that, but if you want to hear God’s voice, you need to put effort in it, because God REWARDS those who DILLIGENTLY seek Him as it says in Hebrews 6.
I remember a time when we needed to find a church. We prayed about it for some time, you know, normal kind of praying, visited a few churches, but still did not find a church we could call home. After a while, we got tired of this and it really started to get to us that we did not have a church where we felt at home.
We got desperate before God and started to pray in a more desperate, intense tone and put some effort praying like this for a few days. To our amazement, the next Sunday we were in the right church! We connected straight away to people there, got invited to lunch the first 4 Sundays in a row and became missionaries out of that church to India. We still have precious relationships from that church.
It pays to put some effort and pray with a bit of desperation. Also the idea of labor makes me think of a construction labourer who works hard. It requires effort, sometimes over a period of time, sometimes sweat and even exhaustion – it is work!
3. Labor FERVENTLY in prayer
It seems that apart from putting effort to pray and do it for some time, God shows us HOW to pray – FERVENTLY. This requires some level of desperation from your part to know the answer, some passion, some heart in your prayers. It makes me think of the South Koreans from Seoul church – if you have not seen how they pray, just type it in youtube and I am sure you will get a good clip, they are a good example of laboring fervently in prayer.
4. WHAT TO PRAY FOR?
It says to always labor fervently in prayers that we may STAND PERFECT AND COMPLETE (FULLY ASSURED) IN ALL THE WILL OF GOD. We need to pray that we will not only be guided specifically in a particular area of life, but in ALL the will of God, in every area of our lives. And we need to pray that, once we know the will of God well, we will STAND PERFECT in it and BE FULLY ASSURED of it and then actually get the enabling from God to do it.
5. TAKE HEED AND FULFIL THE MINISTRY
Once you know the will of God, the Scripture tells us in verse 17: “…Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfil it”. Once we are assured of what the will of God is we are just beginning. We know it, now we need to take it seriously and fulfil it!
“And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” (Luke 12:47)
Another warning for us of judgment from God if we know His will and do not do it. Let’s take heed and fulfil it and we will be happier than ever when we are in the will of God than when we do anything we want to do. There will be some suffering with it, but we will be satisfied and at peace that we are in the center of His will and we will look forward to heaven without fear of judgement and with anticipation of eternal rewards! Also, we will be fruitful and useful for heaven now to help people to know God or grow in God through our surrendered lives.
It also mentions in this Scripture that once you know the will of God you need to prepare yourself in order to be able to fulfil it. That might mean making more space in your schedule for more prayer time so you can be filled with the Holy Spirit so you are full of Him and thus have the power to do His will. It might mean getting your passports ready – we just did our daugther’s -, planning with God when and how to deal with your things, make airline bookings, deal with any broken relationships, get your resume ready, go to uni to study something, study the Word more, whatever will help you to be ready and free in every way to be able to do the will of God.
Sometimes we are wondering why isn’t God telling me what His will is, I have sought Him, but He did not answer, I am waiting for Him to speak… But what if He is waiting for you? Waiting for you to ALWAYS LABOR FERVENTLY IN PRAYERS for a while … this involves getting closer to God, repenting of any known sin with His help and seeking Him more.
After all, do you want to know His will and not have Him as a friend and help to help you and guide you and be with you while you do it? God’s highest desire is for us to be in a close relationship with Him and secondly to know and do His will. If we put the second as first, we might not hear right … God is a jealous God … He doesn’t want us more preoccupied with knowing and doing the job He gives us to do than we are with Him. And doing His work without His presence is dry and very unsatisying – I know cause I did that foolishly at times. Doing everything with Him and for Him is the essence of fulfilling the will of God.
So I encourage you to surrender unconditionally all your wants, desires, plans and agendas to God and then labor fervently in prayers in order to stand perfect and complete, fully assured in all the will of God. Once you know it, take heed to it, prepare yourself and fulfil it in the fear of God and with God’s help along the way.
What an adventure is awaiting you and what fruitfulness is ahead! Don’t exchange it for any of your mere natural plans, why cheat yourself of the best in God now, cheat others of what God could do through you and cheat yourself of eternal positions and rewards! God truly offers you the best!
I invite you to comment on this article with any questions you might have, anything the Lord taught you that helped you to hear God’s voice and to know His will or any issues that are troubling you where you think you might have missed it and got hurt or you don’t understand what happened. Myself and others in the christian-faith.com community will try our best to reply and communicate about this subject with you. Looking forward to your comments. Just scroll down to where it says: Post Comment, past all the links under the article.
God bless you,