While growing up, I did not know of anyone who was “discipling” new believers. So, I was never discipled after I had an encounter with God when I was about nine years old. But in my experience God convinced me that He was God—and that I was not! This truth has affected the rest of my life.
Every quiet moment I had with God would bring me to a heart-desire to know and to do His will. Experiences in God’s Word and in prayer brought me face to face with God. I expected Him to guide me, to teach me and to lead me into His will. To me, it was not complicated. He was God, and I was not—so He was Lord of my life, and I listened to Him.
I expected God to make Himself known to me. That, to me, was His will, and I obeyed. His call was a call to an intimate relationship with Him. As a child of God, I served Him with all my heart—and with all my life. This led me to university and then to seminary.
“God convinced me that He was God—and that I was not!” While attending seminary, I followed God and served His people, first as a minister of music and education at a church. The church was made up of God’s people, and I was His servant in the midst of His people. So when they asked me to be pastor, I obeyed. To whatever God knew His people needed, I was available to respond as His servant. I later served as a missionary, a president of a theological college, a church planter and an area coordinator of a group of churches. This ultimately led me to act as our denomination’s guide in areas of prayer, revival and spiritual awakening, something that I did for 12 years.
All this helps to explain to new believers (and mature believers) that which I have learned from the Scriptures, and from their confirmation in my life, about knowing and doing God’s will:
l. He is God—we are not! He brought us into His “great salvation”(1) by His will. We could not save ourselves. We desperately needed Him.(2)
2. From the moment that God saved us, He made us His children; we entered into His Kingdom, and He became for us the Way, the Truth and the Life.(3)
3. From the moment we became God’s children, He has worked in us to want to do His will and to enable us to do His will.(4)
4. The entire Christian life is Christ’s living out His life in and through our lives. His wisdom has become our wisdom; His power has become our power; His life has become our life. Our lives are lived in the active presence of God who is working out in us His will.(5)
5. As new believers, we want to serve Him and to please Him. To do this, we need to know Him intimately. To know Him is to love Him. And to love Him is to trust Him and obey Him. And when we consistently trust and obey Him, we will experience Him as He lives out His will in us and through us.
This is an exciting process for Christians. Jesus said, “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.”(6) Being in God’s will is to be in an intimate relationship with Him, with His Son and with His Holy Spirit.
One of the best Scriptures describing this total relationship with the Trinity is found in Ephesians 3:14-21: “I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, … that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.”(7)
(1) Hebrews 2:3, KJV. (2) John 6:44-45,65; Ephesians 2:1-10; Hebrews 2:3. (3) John 3:3,5; 14:6; Romans 8:14-17. (4) Philippians 2:12-13. (5) Galatians 2:20-21; Colossians 2:9-10; 2 Peter 1:2-4. (6) John 12:26, NKJV. (7) Ephesians 3:14-21, NKJV. Bible verses marked NKJV are taken by permission from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee
Staying in God’s Will
The following checkpoints may help you to remain in God’s will:
Stay in a vital relationship with God daily through:
• reading the Bible;
• meditating on Scripture;
• living out every truth that God brings to your mind and heart;
• committing yourself to follow and to obey everything He makes known to you.
Stay in this vital relationship all day long. Watch for Him whether you are alone or with others; watch for every evidence of the Holy Spirit’s activity.
Stay in meaningful relationships with God’s people—your local church body—through regular Bible study, worship, prayer, fellowship and ministry together.
To learn more about the incredible relationship God promises to maintain with you, read and study the following chapters in Scripture: Psalm 23; Isaiah 40-44; John 10; John 15; John 17. In God’s great salvation you are “yoked with Christ”(1) and spend a lifetime learning to “walk in Christ”(2) and to “walk in the Spirit.”(3)
(1) Cf. Matthew 11:29. (2) Cf. Colossians 2:6-7. (3) Galatians 5:16, NKJV. The Bible verse marked NKJV is taken by permission from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee