Zachary’s parents gave me What Every Christian Ought to Know by Adrian Rogers for Christmas, and I have been immensely blessed by it so far. There are several things I have read about the assurance of salvation, etc. that spoke to me in a powerful way and reminded me of a few things from my childhood that I hope to share sometime.
The chapter I read today was about how to discern the will of God – a perfect topic for me right now since it has been on my mind lately.
Rogers began the chapter with one of the most comforting – and convicting – passages of scripture:
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).
To rephrase and personalize something Rogers wrote: it is my greatest desire to know God’s will. My delight is to do His will. Nothing is right for me if it is not God’s will.
There is no way I can share even a fraction of the wisdom from this chapter, but I was struck by the certainty and peace we can have in Christ. It is God’s desire that we know and follow His will, and he has promised His guidance. One of many verses of promise is Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye.”
Rogers was very clear in his explanations of God’s prevailing will and His permissive will, but the section about God’s personal will had the biggest impact on me today. As Rodgers put it:
“God has a will for each of us. He has as many plans as He has people. God is interested in each individual. In fact, ‘the very hairs of your head are all numbered’ (Matt.10:30). ‘The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord’ (Ps. 37:23). God has a plan for my life, for your life, for everyone’s life.”
I am reminded of a turning point in my life – when my family made the decision to move from Massachusetts to Oklahoma. My parents felt that it was God’s will to move south to either Texas or Oklahoma, so we took a vacation to scout out the land. I was excited about the trip in general because it meant my first time on a plane, visiting my Aunt Becky and Uncle Bob, seeing my birth city and state for the “first time” (since we left when I was a baby), and exploring places new and different from the northeast home I knew. But when I asked myself, “Am I supposed to live here?” as we drove through various towns in two states, I felt nothing… until we heard about Ponca City. I was immediately interested, and we hadn’t even seen the place yet! After going through countless Texas and Oklahoma towns, we arrived in Ponca City, Oklahoma. It felt like home. Even though our visit wasn’t perfect – we experienced the worst food of the trip (they are no longer in business) and saw the bad as well as the good – it was home. God expressed to me (and the rest of my family) His personal will for the next season of our lives.
As I have grown up, discerning God’s will has required spiritual growth on my part. It isn’t always as obvious to me as our move to Oklahoma was, but His will is available for us to discover by reading His Word, listening to His Holy Spirit, and by being willing to do the will of God.
When I do this, there is great joy – the joy of my engagement to Zachary, the joy of a job where I can serve during this season of my life, the joy of belonging to a church fellowship that builds me up and encourages me to share God’s love with others, and – most importantly – the joy of being at the center of God’s will for my life. The list of His blessings is endless, and I am thankful that we serve a God who loves and cares for us enough to guide our steps.
One last quote from Adrian Rogers:
“The will of God will never take you where the power of God and the grace of God cannot enable and keep you.”