As we discussed in the previous post, the first step in discovering the will of God is to make certain that we're already doing the things that He's told us to do. Most of these instructions can be uncovered by spending time in the Word of God, and that's what I would like to discuss today.
As Christians, we shouldn't need to be told how important it is to read God's Word on a regular basis. It is the source of information and encouragement we need to face whatever each day may bring. It is the means by which we can better know and understand our Lord and Savior. It is a guidebook, a love letter, a history book, a tale of miracles and so much more. That being the case, hearing the preacher read a few verses in Sunday morning service simply isn't enough to get us through each week. We need more, and that's why the Bible encourages us to study for ourselves.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15)
I think we all realize the importance of daily Bible time, and I pray that we're all doing our best to set aside time each day to read God's Word. But simply reading isn't enough. We need to meditate on it. We need to understand how the passage that we're reading applies to our current lives. We need to ask God to speak to us through His Word and to reveal His will. Sometimes the answer comes quickly, and it's so obvious that God may as well have placed a neon sign in the heavens.
For example, when I began writing, I knew--without a doubt--that the Lord wanted me to write, but I honestly wasn't sure what He wanted me to write. Books? Articles? Copyright work? Blogs? Believe it or not, the possibilities are boundless. So, for the first couple of years, I found myself flitting from one thing to another, never finding peace or settled that I was fulfilling God's purpose. Finally, I had had enough, so I sat down with my Bible and prayed my heart out. I pleaded with God to make His will in regards to my writing perfectly clear. I begged Him to speak to me through His Word so that I would have no doubt that the message was from Him. I began with my scheduled Bible reading which was in the book of Ecclesiastes. I didn't really hold out much hope of finding an answer to my question there and was prepared to read several different passages until I had my answer. Fortunately, I didn't have to. As I read Ecclesiastes 12:12, a particular phrase leaped off the page and smacked me across the head (not literally, of course).
And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Of making many books there is no end. That was it! That was the answer I needed. After reading it and meditating on it and praying about it, I had such overwhelming peace that I needed to focus my writing on making many books. Now, sixteen books later, I can tell you that there are still many more books on my "to-do" list. The ideas for new books come far faster than I can write them, but I cannot describe to you the peace that I have in knowing that I'm in the Father's will.
Sadly, the answers don't always come that quickly or precisely. I have followed the exact formula in other areas of my life, and it took far longer to find out the Lord's will and to have peace in that revelation. In fact, there are certain circumstances where I'm still seeking His will (for example, the Song of the Day), and the answers haven't come. The way I see it, the more time I spend in God's Word, the more likely I am to uncover His answer. We can't ask the Lord to speak to us, then ignore the very Book through which He often speaks. Yes, there are other ways for God to reveal His will, and we'll get to those, Lord willing, in the following posts, but one of the main ways God reveals His will is through His Word. It is amazing how God can (and often will) lead you to verses that you never even realized were in the Bible. You know you've read them, but for whatever reason, they didn't stick. But now, when you need them the most, God will allow them to leap off the page. But the only way you'll find those amazing passages is if you'll spend regular time in the Word, prayerfully seeking God's will. God has a lot to say. It's up to you whether or not you'll listen.