A lot of us find discerning God’s will as a paradoxical task: We believe God has spoken to us in order that we may know what He wants of us but we live like we have nothing. This causes us to live life as a guessing game. We pray for God’s will to be done in our lives but we jump from one thing to the next because we are discontent. And we usually blame this sort of back-and-forth on assuming God has something “better” for us around the corner.
But has God intended our lives to be like a tumble weed blown in the wind? Is He really concerned that we get the next big change or the next best thing? Does God want me guessing in a blind faith how He wants me to live for Him today? The Bible doesn’t think so. A common lie for American evangelicalism has been that a Christian’s life is spent stepping out in faith in which they are not aware of the situation or what the outcome will be. Certainly we don’t have a God that cruel, that He simply tells His precious children to step over the next ledge and whether it’s a precipice or solid foundation is irrelevant.
When both Habakkuk (Hab. 2:4) and Paul (Rom. 1:17) speak about living by faith, they have the same principle in mind. Habakkuk was the first to use the clause “the righteous shall live by his faith.” This prophet foresaw the future of the Babylonian’s triumph over God’s people. God was going to use the wicked Babylonian nation to bring judgment on His people. So the context indicates that Habakkuk and those who still kept God’s law (i.e. the righteous) will live among a wicked nation—sounds a lot like our day! And God taught that the righteous person will live in the confident assurance that He’s in control. When God commands His people to live by faith in Him, He commands them to be absolutely certain He is the God He declares Himself to be (cf. Heb. 11:6).
But how do they know He’s in control? Do they simply walk around with blinders on, stepping out in “faith” hoping that God will be there to catch them? Not according to Habakkuk. The person who is declared righteous by faith in Christ has the supernatural ability to be absolutely certain that God will always act the same way that He has. Their hope is found in His written Word. Habakkuk could live by trusting in God because He knew the works of God in the past (Hab. 3:3). He was completely confident in the Lord; so he followed God with opened eyes, not closed.
And so discerning God’s will is not a guessing game, neither is living by faith in Him a walk in the dark. However, both are not a walk in the park. Understanding what God desires and trusting in Him require diligent hard work and constant soul breaking—and no one likes either. Since God has given His word so that we may know how to please Him (Deut. 12:28), the effort it takes to understand it involves a lifetime. That’s hard work! God’s Word also says it has the ability to pierce the heart like a sword, judging aright the intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12). We all know that when this happens our soul breaks , for then God reveals the deepest evil in our hearts, and this should then break us down.
The question, then, that all of us should ask is, “How does God’s Word help us live in this world?” For the next few weeks we will look at some ways God’s Word helps us live our lives. Knowing how the Bible tells us how to live is the way we discern His will for our lives. This is very important for a healthy, fulfilling life in Christ.
I do believe that saying, “how does God’s word help us live in this world” is a little misleading. Maybe we should say, “How does God’s Word dictate we should live in this world?” The Bible doesn’t simply help us live this life; it’s actually essential to living. Without God’s Word showing us how to live we would completely miss the point of living, and therefore we would live incorrectly and in disobedience. So it’s more than just an aid for living, but a lifesaving balm needed for an eternal sickness.
“How does God’s word help us live in this world” is a little misleading. Maybe we should say, “How does God’s Word dictate we should live in this world?”
The meaning of life is realized in the person and knowledge of Christ. Our ongoing sickness that will eventually lead to endless death—either eternal torment or eternal life—can only be cured by knowing Jesus. Faith is the instrument we implore to have this understanding—and even our faith is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9). If we don’t have this knowledge, then all of life is lost in a meaningless realm of heartache and pain. Jesus Christ gives the ultimate reason for life because true life is only experienced in Him. A person can’t even find the freedom they desire without the Son setting them free from the bondage of sin (1 John 5:12).
Instead of seeing God’s will as a mysterious, unknown treasure map that must be found through mystical experience, let’s rejoice in God’s revealed will and look to Scripture for what direction our lives need to go. I realize this is not an easy task. But God has given us His Spirit to guide us. Jesus says that everything the Father has is His (John 16:15). The Son not only holds the keys to life but also shows the path that leads to the door (John 10:4; 14:6). The Holy Spirit’s primary role is to glorify Christ by taking what is His and disclosing it to us while we live in this world (John 16:14). By the guiding hand of providence only Scripture makes know this wonderful plan.
As gathered from various passages in Psalm 119, the basis for the following articles will be this statement: God’s Word commands us into what is wonderful so that we can understand Him and ourselves in order to live a righteous life that pleases Him. Thus the essential question we will be asking ourselves is: “How does God’s Word help us live in this World?” Our prayer is that you will apply the following principles to foster a love for Jesus.