Back in the early 90’s I was a part of a group that did the Henry Blackaby course on knowing and doing the will of God, titled Experiencing God. I remember it was an awesome teaching. For some reason, I pulled the book out the other day to take a look and found myself learning again some of the lessons of knowing and doing the will of God. I want to share some of what God has been re-emphasizing to me and what He is doing in my life. Knowing and doing the will of God is a life long encounter because the Lord desires a relationship with me, not some type of arrangement based on methods and formulas. There are some truths He gives to help that only fully work in the context of relationship. One of those truths is God is always at work around us. Jesus never asked the Father what His will was rather, He always looked for what the Father was doing and joined Him (John 5:19-20). So it is not God’s highest for me to seek His will for my life, but rather ask Him to reveal to me what He is doing so I can join Him. In what He reveals to me is the will of God for me. That is the way Jesus did it.
Paul said, “Find out what pleases the Lord” (Eph. 5:10). In terms of doing the will of God I can know some of what pleases Him. He is pleased with what He is doing not what I am doing. I can have and believe I did have a vision from Him (knowing the will of God), but that does not mean I am going about accomplishing it in the way that pleases Him. I have to continually look at what He is doing and seek to do that with Him. Jesus said, “We get life from every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). I noted that it says proceeds not proceeded; it is what He is saying not necessarily what He said. Well guess it really is His way or the highway, the highway being frustration, added expense, delay, misunderstanding. And maybe it really can be an actual highway at times as one may walk away from a vision or a ministry believing it was never His will or intent in the first place.
I have come to that place recently in my own life…with the vision God gave me for some areas of ministry and my life. I know the vision is from the heart of the Father, but almost everything I have done in the past two years has not worked. I have worked and worked and found myself in a place of such frustration with all the doing that was not working that I really started to question the vision and if I had ever even heard God in the first place. Probably anyone that has experienced such a thing knows that is not a good place to be. After a lot of searching I have finally settled in my heart that it is the way I have been attempting to do the will of God and I have settled in my heart that trying so hard to do things my way was not pleasing to Him.
God is working, but He is not doing what I thought He would or should be doing and on my timetable. Blackaby calls this the crisis of belief and says that “God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that require both faith and action.” Well, I have been in full-blown crisis. I have been at this place before in my life and just like way back then…I wanted to just run away from it all. Having been a runner in my earlier years though, I know that cost is way, way too high. So I have had to take a hard look at myself and my works and make some decisions. Am I going to continue down the highway of frustration or shall I stop and ask the Lord for a fresh perspective, for a fresh proceeding Word? I know that in retrospect that looks like a no-brainer, but in the heat of the moment and what has been clearly a battle, it has been very difficult. I was afraid if I did the vision would die, but I found that the pain of continuing is greater than the pain of risking failure. I had to surrender. God being God….the moment I surrendered He began to show me some of what He was doing and that I needed to shift my strategy to that. Shifting my strategy meant also though a shift in me. Here in a place of surrender I found that I had spent alot of energy once again trying to blame my failure on so many other things and people around me, and even God… but really…it was me. It is a lesson I go over and over in my life. Will I ever learn? His way is not always the easier and it may require major change on my part but it is always the only way.
As Blackaby states, “You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.”
So I have to continually make adjustments in my life to join God in what He is doing by His design. I am learning that knowing and doing the will of God really is a life long encounter and one of the ways I grow in relationship with Him is by looking to what He is doing and adjusting myself to Him. Now…God is calling me to stop and ask Him for a fresh perspective, for a fresh proceeding word and if I ever needed such a word, it is right now.