This topic is adapted from the Jefferson Bethke YouTube channel.
Learning to hear God’s voice and know his will can be tough, and it can be even tougher when we have big decisions to make.
- The Bible gives us a lot of principles about life, like “have a good attitude while working,” but the Bible won’t tell you what you personally should choose as your career path or which college you should attend.
- In the past, Jefferson struggled a lot with this issue. He thought God’s will was a “dot,” meaning he had to make choices about his life that were exactly right otherwise he was outside of God’s will. The trouble with this is we rarely have signs from God of what the “dot” issues in life are. So should we spend so much time sweating about it? It can be exhausting.
- Jefferson came to understand that God’s will isn’t a dot, but a circle. If you view God’s will as a circle, then you know there are guidelines like “don’t commit adultery,” “don’t be a liar,” etc., but that you also have the freedom to choose going to one school over another, trusting that God is in control and he will get you where he is taking you if you have a heart of faithful obedience.
- We should be faithful to God in the little things. A lot of times Christians might seek a great revelation from God when they already know from the Bible what God’s will is. Why are we praying for God’s will about whether or not we should cheat on the big upcoming test when we already know we shouldn’t?
- Jefferson has three big signposts he looks for to know regularly if he is in God’s will, and we should look for them, too. These signposts aren’t the be-all, end-all, but they’re a good way to get an idea of where you are spiritually and where your priorities truly lie.
- First, are you on mission? Are you making disciples, or at least making disciple-making a priority? If not, you’re probably outside of God’s will.
- Second, are you living by Jesus’s greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-39?) Is the “filter” of all your choices guided by the idea that the most important thing anyone can do is love God and the second most important thing is to love others? If not, you probably aren’t in God’s will.
- Third, are you seeking justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly before God (Micah 6:8)? If not, you probably aren’t in God’s will.
- Does this mean there are never “dots” of God’s will? It doesn’t! Sometimes God does show us a unique or specific path to follow, but he will also give us the clarity we need to know that it is definitely his will, like Moses at the burning bush. Some Christians experience this more than others, but it’s important to follow the big three “signposts” listed above and to be open to God’s leading by being in his word, practicing the spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting, and being in fellowship with faithful believers who can be a sounding board for you.
God is not hiding from us. He desires to reveal himself to us, but are we putting ourselves in a position where we can hear from him? If not, how can we ever expect to know God and his will more deeply?
Written content for this topic by Daniel Martin.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Imagine you knew God’s exact, perfect will about every choice you could ever make. Would you be perfectly obedient? Why or why not?
- Have you ever had a clear sense of God’s will for a specific choice you had to make? What happened?
- What do you think about the difference between a “circle” and a “dot” when it comes to God’s will? Is this a good example or a bad one? Explain.
- Look back at Jefferson’s three “signposts.” Which of these is easiest for you to live by? Which is hardest? Explain.
- Why is it sometimes hard to wait on God’s leading?
- Why is it important that God does in fact want to reveal himself more and more to us?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.