Understanding and Doing the Will of God Once and For ALL
By: Dr. Rickey A. Nation, Ph.D.
I believe most Christians have asked this question in their walk of faith. What is the will of God for my life? I know I have asked this question many times. Believe it or not, people in Jesus’ day were struggling with the same issue. What is the will of God?
In John 7:12 we see the people of Jesus’ day wrestling with this issue as the Bible records, “And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but He deceiveth the people.” As usual, Jesus took the opportunity to lay a foundation for divine guidance or how to understand the will of God. Jesus states in John 7:16-17 “…My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” Therefore, the first prerequisite to the knowing and understanding the will of God is a whole-heartedness to do His will. One of the main reasons some precious Believers never discover God’s will is because there is not a whole-heartedness to know God’s will. The order of Scriptures is know then do/obey. Are you willing to seek God with your whole heart so He can reveal Himself to you? Proverbs 8:17 reveals, “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”
After purposing or determining in your heart to do God’s will, what’s next? Seek your new identity in Christ. What’s that? An identity means to identify with something or someone. In this teaching , we are concerned about identifying with Jesus. Some identity statements are as follows: “I am the salt of the earth,” (Matthew 5:13); “I am the light of the world,” (Matthew 5:14); “I am a child of God,” (John 1:12); “I am Christ’s friend,” (James 15:15); “I am a servant of righteousness,” (Romans 6:18); “I am a new creation designed for His glory,” (II Corinthians 5:17). These statements reveal what God says about us and whom we now are in Him. These statements, and many more like them, reveal God’s will about whom we are as His children.
So, what is Gods will for our lives? Dr. Neil Anderson, best selling author, reveals in “Freedom In Christ” a devotional, “God’s will for those who believe in Him is to be alive in Christ [knowing my new identity] for the purpose of establishing His Kingdom by overcoming the evil one and becoming fully the people He has called us to be.”
Surrender today and begin asking God to reveal Himself to you as well as committing to grow in your new identity. As you do, God will begin to make known to you His perfect plan for your life.
Have you ever been awakened by fear? You know, things, people or circumstances that concern you now turn into fears—worse yet you’ve awakened to the worse fear of these. Personally, I have been awakened to fear many times in my Christian journey. Here are some suggestions I have found helpful.
First, make sure God is first. Matthew 6:33 reveals,”But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Notice the emphasis in this verse. We are to ’seek’ the Kingdom of God. The word ‘seek’ is a verb and berbs display action. We are to put action into pursing God’s Word, principles and Truths into our needs, struggles and conflicts. When we do, God adds all thing unto us.
Second, fear and faith both ask us to believe something that we cannot see, according to one well known ministers. Fear says, “Believe your negative emotions and circumstances. You lost your job, now you are going under. You are not going to make it.” Faith says, “God is your Sustainer. He will meet all your needs according to ‘His riches in glory’. Philippians 4:19 states, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ.”
Fear says, “Your situation will never turn around. You are stuck. You are hopeless.” Faith says, “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:10,33
Here is the freedom principle that is the key in this situation. What you focus upon takes root into your core belief systems. If fear, negativity and condemnation is the focus, then fear will wake you up at night. However, if faith and Truth are the focus, it will set you free. John 8:32 states, “And ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.”
If I am awakened to fear, it is a reminder that I need to switch over to faith. As I do, God’s power begins to set me free and He will do the same for you.
It has been said “every failure is first a failure to pray and pray diligently”. While I agree with that statement in principle, prayer may not be working in your situation for three key reasons.
Prayer is my lifeline. I have spent as much as 6-8 hours per day in prayer, My average time now is about an hour to one-and-a-half hours, daily. My time in prayer keeps me focused, balanced and communicating with God about my needs, as well as seeking His will. However, I have discovered three key reasons prayer does not work. Prayer does not work if there is unresolved anger, bitterness or unforgiveness. While all three are related, each one is a separate experience in which a person goes through when hurt, offended, abused, etc.
The Bible has much to say about anger because it is a legitimate human emotion. Also, everyone has experienced anger at some level when not dealt with. Scripturally, anger can cause harm and damage in relationships. Anger gives way to the devil and grieves the Holy Spirit. Those two reasons prevent God from working through our prayers. Ephesians 4:26 reveals, “Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath [intense anger].” Verse 27 tells us why, “neither give place to the devil,” and verse 30 admonishes “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Anger can be dealt with through repentance, forgiving the offender and seeking God for cleansing.
Bitterness is the second reason why prayers may not be working in your situation. Bitterness is anger left unchecked or dealt with, year-after-year-after-year. Some older people find themselves struggling with bitterness because of not dealing with or overcoming hurts that lead to anger that leads to bitterness. Hebrews 12:15 states: “…lest any root of bitterness spring up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”
We now see two damaging affects as the result of bitterness. First, it brings trouble of all types, shapes or forms to the life of the Believers. I don’t know about you but I do not want nor need more trouble. Second, a defiling process takes place within the mind, emotions and personality. I have never been around an embittered person for a long period of time in which their bitterness began to affect me in some negative way. If at all possible, avoid people struggling with bitterness. Bitterness definitely hinders our prayer life and prevents God from working in our situation.
Last, unforgiveness definitely plugs the flow of God’s blessings and workings on behalf of His people. II Corinthians 2:10-11 states, “To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ. Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
Satan gets advantage of us through unforgiveness, because forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity. Colossians 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” Because God, through Jesus, forgives us of all sins we to must forgive others.
Friends, if your prayer life is lacking it is probably because of unresolved anger, bitterness or unforgiveness. Seek God for cleansing and watch God begin to work on your behalf, because we are to “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamoring, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32.
16 Ways To Find Peace and Happiness In 2017 ~ Guaranteed!
By: Dr. Rickey A. Nation, Ph.D.
I have always been intrigued about the story of the Prodigal Son, (Luke 15:11-32). You know the story about the man whom had a son whom had an itch he couldn’t scratch (unmet need).
Here is my version of the story. The son goes to his father and wants his inheritance. The loving father, against his better judgment, gives the son, whom does not know God or Jesus as Saviour, his inheritance. The son goes to the very place his father warns him about—down to Egypt.
While I do not want to focus solely upon the son, I want to mainly focus upon what the father did to experience peace and happiness in this very hurtful situation. It is called “letting go”. “Letting go” means the following:
1). To properly let go in a hurtful situation, means you do not stop caring but you accept the fact you cannot do it for someone else. The prodigal son believed he could live life his way—apart from God and his family. His father knew better. However, the loving father let him go so that the son would learn the valuable lesson of “living according to God’s principles and truths” and being loyal to family.
2). Letting go, in a healthy way, means to not cut yourself off but to accept the fact that you don’t and cannot control another. The loving father did not attempt to control the prodigal son’s every move nor did he attempt to stop the son from going down to Egypt and facing hardship.
3). Properly letting go is not enabling but allowing others to learn from natural cause-and-effect consequences that God has built into life and life’s decisions. The loving father did not say “I know you are going down to Egypt and spend all your inheritance. Therefore, I’ll loan you some money so you will not waste your inheritance. When you come back, you can work to repay all I have loaned you.” NO! That is only enabling! Enabling is an act of helping someone to do something wrong or harmful to themselves, others or both. Also, enabling is short-circuiting cause-and-effect which is interfering with God’s built in correction of choosing a wrong path.
4). This next area is the most difficult for a lot of people. Properly letting go means to admit powerlessness and the outcome is not in my hands but it is in God’s control. The loving father freely admitted powerlessness – probably to his wife and most certainly to God. Also, the loving father surrendered his fears, doubts, worries and all concerns to God. Matthew 11:28 reveals “come unto me all ye that labor and I will give you rest.” In this critical step the loving father gained control by giving up control and giving it all over to God. You can experience the same. Go ahead and give it to God now.
5). Before the Prodigal son left, the loving father did not try to change him; change his mind or blame him for the hurts he was causing. He probably did not say “you can’t leave because you will crush your mother.” Also, the loving father probably did not say “if you leave, we will be short handed. Who will do your job? We have no one to replace you.” The loving father let go. You must let go, too! Go ahead and seek God now for strength to completely let go.
6). The loving father supported his son’s ability to choose even though the choice the prodigal son made was not the wisest and directly against his father’s advice. I am sure the loving father did not give three reasons his son was/is making unwise decisions. He simply let his prodigal son choose his own course. Moreover, he did not attempt to fix or correct the son’s actions but supported his right, ability and responsibility to choose his own destiny – right or wrong!
7). An interesting point to note about the loving father…he did not care more about his son making wrong choices –than the son cared (the son actually did not care because if he cared he would not be making this very unwise decision). In other words, if the loving father did not forbid his son from leaving by refusing to give the son his rightful inheritance. If he did, the loving father would be caring more about the problem than his son. Instead, the wise and loving father is more concerned that his prodigal son learn the Truth that will set him free because it is the Truth that will keep his son from repeating the same mistakes.
8). If we could sit in the living room as the loving father and mother were talking, we probably would not hear words of judgment or condemnation toward their prodigal son. Why? To truly let go means to not judge or condemn others but to allow them to be a human being – even though their actions, attitudes and behaviors are sinful and hurtful to themselves and/or others.
9). Interfering? The wise and loving father did not send servants to ‘check on’ his prodigal son. Why not? Because to truly let go means I am not in the middle arranging the outcome. But allowing others to determine their own actions – right or wrong.
10). The morning the prodigal son was to leave, the loving father did not attempt to protect or shield his son from danger or harm, but he allowed his prodigal son to totally face the reality of his very unwise decision.
11). As painful as it was going to be, the loving father did not deny his situation or the pain that was soon to follow. He made the willful choice to accept it by facing reality. Letting go, as the loving father understood it, meant to accept reality and not deny it.
12). As the prodigal son leaves, the Bible does not record the loving father lecturing, nagging, scolding or attempting to convince his rebellious son to not leave. Instead, the loving father focused upon his own life and the different lessons, he too, was learning.
13). The next day after the prodigal son left, the loving father made the most of his current situation. He did not attempt to adjust everything to his own desires or needs because the loving father wisely knew this rebellious situation is not so much about himself but God and his prodigal son. Moreover, he learned to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
14). The loving father continued to be focused upon his own life and the divine destiny God had given him. He kept his own dreams alive by being in touch with God, daily.
15). As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, the loving father did not live in the past but stayed focused on his bright future by keeping hope in God. The loving father did not make his son his very reason for living because he already put God, first.
16). As time went on, the loving father grew in his love for his son instead of focusing upon fear, anger, revenge or unforgiveness.
By applying these timeless principles, you can experience peace and happiness as never before. I apply them regularly and am amazed at the freedom they bring no matter what I am facing.
As I stood before the judge with my eyes to the floor,
I heard him say I’d go to jail once more.
They all said “A.A. is the answer to your prayers;
A place to find comfort and release all your cares.”
Chairs full of hopeless people cluttered the room.
They told stories of sadness, stories of gloom.
They spoke as if this battle can never be won;
But I want to be finished, I want to be done.
“Impossible!” They tell me. ”You’re in it for life.”
“You must put us before your mother, your daughter, and your wife.”
If there’s no hope, no end in sight;
If there’s no hope, then why even fight.
I’ll just have a drink to clear my mind.
A really small one, it won’t take much time.
Just one more drink and I’ll be through;
But on second thought, I’d better have two.
Two turn into ten and another day’s wasted;
It’s that first drink I shouldn’t have tasted.
Days turn into months and the monster’s growing stronger.
I’m miserable now, and I can’t take it much longer.
Time with my family was once free from strife.
But now they’re broken-hearted when they look at my life.
I’ve hurt so many people. It’ll never be the same.
No one wants to see me or even mention my name.
The choices I’ve made and this misery I’ve created;
Do you think perhaps the two could be related?
Maybe I should move away and start my life fresh and new;
But knowing me, the way I know me, I’d probably drink there too.
There is no escape. I can’t get away!
So I’ll just drink some more and try to forget this day.
I used to talk to Jesus, I met Him long ago.
But I turned my back to go my own way.
Would He hear me now? I guess, probably……no.
Oh, how I long to be free, but it seems that death is the only way out for me.
The thought of taking my own life is so very frightening;
So I pray each night, I’ll be in a car crash or be struck by lightning.
I’ve even thought of hiring someone to cause my death.
I believe peace can only come with my last breath.
I hope my death is painful, I deserve to suffer so!
How much hurt I’ve brought to others, I’ll probably never know.
Maybe tonight I’ll die in my sleep and stop causing such sorrow;
But the sad truth is, if I don’t die tonight, I’ll have to live this day again tomorrow.