So, how do you know if you are doing the will of God for your life? While working at Hyster Company in Portland, Oregon, I had the great privilege to introduce my boss, his brother and our secretary to my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It was so exciting to see their lives change and to dig for answers to their questions. I soon was having a Bible study with a couple Christian brothers during our lunch break. We also started a home Bible study and saw how getting into God’s Word was bringing spiritual growth in all of our lives. My wife Kathy and I began discussing and praying about the possibility of becoming involved in full-time vocational Christian ministry to share God’s Word with others.
I had been doing volunteer work locally with Campus Crusade for Christ and, again, saw the transforming power of the Gospel as people responded to the message of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection to pay for their sin. So, I knew that if I left my engineering job at Hyster that CCC was the possibility of future ministry. But, on our previous summer visit to our home area in Montana, we had visited with Rocky Mountain Bible Mission regarding a possibility of serving as missionaries in Northwest Montana for them. Kathy’s dad, pastor Clarence Kutz, had recently retired from pastoring Faith Bible Church in Libby and he and his wife Irene had joined RMBM. The Mission invited us to come work with them as an understudy to Pastor Kutz. Or, we could join CCC in Portland. Most likely that would involve an eventual move to a new area to minister for them.
So, what to do? We had two very viable options of Christian ministry. Or, I could stay at Hyster where it would likely soon mean a move to one of their plants in Illinois. As we prayed about what to do, we didn’t hear any voices from God or have any signs of which choice to make. We didn’t “cast lots” or put out a “fleece” to determine God’s will. We found it in God’s Word. Ironically, it was one of the leaders with CCC that helped us with our decision, pointing out to us Psalm 37:4,5: “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” We were delighting in the Lord, and had a passion to serve Him. We also had a desire to return to Montana to minister and to rear our family (our children were ages two and four). As we weighed the advantages and disadvantages of each of our options, we chose to leave Hyster and join RMBM and return to Montana. That’s not to say that God wouldn’t have used us if we had made a different decision. If our hearts are right with God, if we are consistently spending time in His Word, and if we make ourselves available to Him, God will use us wherever we go or in whatever we are doing providing we stay within the moral will of God as revealed in His Word.
Many Christians seem to think that there is only one perfect choice when they face decisions and they look for confirmation from some inner voice from God or from some special sign from Him. Meanwhile they spin their wheels doing nothing. But, God has already given us all we need for making wise decisions. He has given us the Scriptures and the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us through the very Scriptures that He inspired as well as the circumstances which He ordains (the sovereign will of God). And the Holy Spirit is not alone. Jesus, while with His disciples in the Upper Room, promised concerning the Holy Spirit: “…He abides with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you…In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (Jn. 14:17-20). Thus we are “filled up with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19).
Through the equipping with the all-sufficiency of Scripture (II Tim. 3:16,17) and the fullness of the Godhead dwelling within us, we have all we need to make wise decisions in every area of life and have no need for special signs or inner whispers from God to direct us. Scripture is the voice of God! Justin Peters said, “If you want to hear God speak, read the Bible. If you want to hear Him speak audibly, read it out loud!” (God Doesn’t Whisper by Jim Osman, page 270). God has “granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (II Pet. 1:3), and that knowledge comes through His written Word. So, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you…,” (Col 3:16), make sure your decision is within the guidelines of Scripture, ask for wisdom and make a decision, saying, “Lord willing, this is what I am going to do.” For an example in Scripture, read Romans 1:9-15; 15:14-33 and see how the Apostle Paul made decisions in his ministry to the Gentiles. He made plans to visit Rome for he had a “longing” to do so (v. 23). Or read the story of David in I Sam. 24:1-7 where he had opportunity to kill the man (King Saul) who was hunting him down. David said, “Far be it from me because of the LORD that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the LORD’s anointed” (v. 6). David was careful to distinguish between his own interpretation of the circumstances and God’s command to obey His instruction and do the right thing (obey Scripture),
In the Scriptures we have commands and guidelines which constitute the moral will of God. Scripture tells us everything we need to know to make decisions. We don’t need to hear an inner “still small voice” or put out “fleeces.” God has revealed all we need to make good choices. Obey the moral will of God (His Word), apply wisdom (look at the advantages and disadvantages) and choose what you desire. On that basis, the biblical model for decision-making, we are free to do what we want with God’s blessing.
P. S. I highly recommend God Doesn’t Whisper” by Jim Osman ( a pastor in Sandpoint, ID) and Decision Making and the Will of God by Gary Friessen