NKJV - 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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Ways that I have found useful are: 1) praying for God's direction or guidance, including an indication of willingness on my part to abide by it, and also to do whatever I can or must do to effectuate it; 2) applying the principles or commands found in the Bible (which God would not violate) to the situation or decision; 3) discussing the situation with a fellow Christian whom I respect and trust; and 4) paying attention to the way in which God may be speaking to me (with regard to either taking or avoiding a particular course of action) through events, or through the actions of other people, while avoiding any request for a specific sign from Him (Deuteronomy 6:16), but allowing Him to answer in the time and manner of His choosing.
Before we come to faith in Jesus (become a Christian) our will has been moulded and shaped by two influences: 1) the sinful desires of our flesh flowing out of our sinful nature, 2) the wicked desires of our culture flowing out of a world controlled by Satan. Every expression of our sinful nature and the culture of this world is opposed to the will of God. When we come to faith in Jesus everything changes. Our sinful nature is crucified with Christ. We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who breathes life into our dead spirits. As we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, the Holy Spirit begins to mould and shape the character of Christ within us. But this process of transformation is a spiritual battle. The patterns of sinful behaviour we learned before salvation are very hard to break. We want “my will” to be done not God’s will. The culture of our world exerts a powerful control over us, in many subtle ways like a brainwashing, that we don’t even realize is happening. So how do we win this battle? How do we know that when we exercise our will (make choices in life) that our decisions are aligned with God’s will? The apostle Paul gives us the answer in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, - his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We renew our minds by doing two things: 1) discovering the will of God revealed in his Word, the bible, and 2) putting the principles from God’s word into practice through the choices we make every day. The Holy Spirit is our resident teacher. As we read, study, meditate, and memorize the words of the bible He changes the way we think. Each day as we surrender to Jesus as the leader of our life, he takes us through training and equipping exercises (like a spiritual boot camp) that teach us how to apply the principles of the bible (God’s will) to our daily lives. Whenever we don’t understand what the bible says or what is happening in our lives all we have to do is pray. As the apostle James says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). The Holy Spirit is the wisdom of God. I have learned that God will reveal his will to me in 5 different ways (using the letters CS for ease of remembering) and in the following order of importance. 1. Commanding Scripture Much of God’s will is clearly revealed in the words of the bible 2. Compelling Spirit The Spirit may give us dreams or visions or put thoughts in our minds 3. Counsel of the Saints God may speak through our Pastor or mature Christian friend 4. Common Sense God has given us amazing natural intelligence to reason out God’s will 5. Circumstantial Signs God may open a door for an opportunity or put up a roadblock if we get off track God wants us to know his will and walk in it. Then we will experience the abundantly fulfilling and deeply satisfying life that Jesus promised. All we have to do is: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
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