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*Frequently asked questions*
The Bible, the written word of God, is our sole authority in answering all questions pertaining to our spiritual life. However, in reading the Bible, we must keep in mind that the Bible is not written like a book of science where each statement is exact and complete in itself, nor like a book of law where the goal is to elaborate matters in sections and sub-sections so as to avoid loopholes. The Bible is written for the heart, and can be understood in its proper sense only by those who are spiritually minded (1Co.2:14), and who desire to do the will of God once it is revealed (Jn.7:17). Those who want to argue against the word of God can always find arguments, and those who do not want to obey what God says can appear to find words of God themselves to support their stand. Please read the following with an open heart and a willingness to know God's ways and obey them. - Jacob Ninan
Finding God's will
1. Do you really think God has made a definite plan for our lives?
God tells us in His word that God keeps a 'book' on each of us and that before we began to exist, "all our days" were written in that book (Ps.139:16). This not only refers to the number of days we would have on earth, but also about what each of those days means to us. We can infer from this and out understanding of God's nature that He has planned things for our lives, such as who our parents would be, where and when we would be born, what we would do each day of our life, who we would get married to, how many children we would have, what work we would do, etc.!
2. Are you saying that God has made some plans even for small people like us?
We know definitely what plans God had made plans for Jesus, even before the foundations of the world were made (1Pe.1:20). We know that Jeremiah was called to be a prophet before he was in his mother's womb (Je.1:). John the Baptist was designated to be the forerunner for Jesus before he was conceived (Lk.1:17). But what you are asking is whether God has made plans for lesser mortals like us. Of course He does. We make the mistake of assuming that since we are 'small' as people think, God also thinks we are 'small.' But we are, each one of us, so priceless in God's eyes that He gave His only Son to die for us! Not only that, each of has a unique role to play in God's kingdom that no one else can fulfill. There are plans which He has made for us.
3. If God has already made plans for us they will take place anyway, won't they?
We must not forget the fact that God has granted us the ability to make our own choices. He has not 'programmed' us to mechanically do certain things at certain times. We have the ability to do according to His plans or even to disobey Him and go our own way.
4. If we mess up, what will happen to God's plans?
Fortunately for us, God has taken into account the possibility that we may fail Him. If His 'Plan A' is not successful, He has already got 'Plan B', 'Plan C' etc., ready. Think of what happened to Jacob, Moses, Jonah and Peter, just to take a few examples. If we repent after we mess up, God is wise enough to turn things around and accomplish His plans, at least most of them (Ro.8:28). Many times it is our mistakes that humble us, teach us many valuable lessons and prepare us to be what God wants us to be.
5. My life has been such a mess that I think even God can't do anything with me.
Is there anything too hard for the Lord? (Ge.18:14;Mt.19:26). He can make deserts to blossom and bring water from rocks (Is.35:1;De.8:15).
6. How can I know God's plan for my life?
1. The first and most important requirement is that we must want to do His will (Jn.7:17). It won't do if we are just curious. Once God shows His plan to us, we must be willing to carry it out. God knows our heart, and we can't fool Him. We may try to go through an act of seeking God's will when we have already made up our own mind about what we want to do. In that case God may even allow us to fool ourselves into thinking that we are doing His will. When God saw that even after He had clearly told Balaam that he shouldn't go with Balak to curse Israel, Balaam still wanted to go, He 'agreed' to let him go (Nu.22:20). But in the end he came to his ruin.
2. Secondly we must let go of our own special choices and preferences, and trust God to make the right plans for our lives. The more we hold on to our own plans, the more difficult it will be to hear God. We must believe that His plans will always better than the best plans that we can make for ourselves.
3. We must ask and keep on asking till we get an answer (Mt.7:7). The answer may not be what we expect, and it may come in a way we don't expect. We may make the mistake of thinking that since God has done certain things in a certain way for others or for us in the past, He would act in the same way always. Not so. Our God is known for His variety.
4. As we keep asking God, we must also exercise our minds to think of God's ways and consider what He would have us to do. We can rule out possibilities that are contrary to God's principles. God may make things clear to us as we wait on Him and examine different options.
5. Even though it is we who have to make the decisions, it is safe for us to ask for advice from other people, especially from those who know God better than we do. We don't have to follow someone else's suggestion or advice if we cannot agree with it. But we need to examine it sincerely before the Lord to see what He would have us to do.
6. God may answer us in different ways. He may speak to us through His word as we are reading it or listening to is. He may bring some thought into our mind which becomes stronger and stronger as we consider it. He may close some of the paths we could have taken and narrow down our options. But in the end we may have a strong assurance in our hearts concerning His will.
7. In most cases when we seem to understand His will, there may be still some lurking doubts in our minds concerning the possibility that we could be making a mistake. At such times, we may have to put our trust in God and place our foot on the water 'by faith.' We may then be able to walk on the water or the water may part and show us dry ground to walk on. But faith is required.
7. What about going to a prophet to find God's will?
Under the Old Testament, even kings had to go to prophets to find God's will. But it is not so in the New Testament. The promise now is the all of us, from the least to the greatest, can have the privilege of knowing God (He.8:11). We know God as our Father, and we can directly go to Him with our questions. Even though there are prophets in the New Testament times who bring us special revelations about the future (Acts.11:28), and who bring us the right word from the Lord to encourage, exhort and build us up (1Co.14:3), we should not neglect the privilege of knowing God by ourselves or hand over the responsibility for our lives to others.
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