God does not want to play guessing games with His people. He wants us to securely know His will for us as individuals and as families. He does not hide answers in deep caves. God does not require some kind of magical formula to discover what He wants for our families. He wants our families to KNOW and to DO His will. The theme of our time together tonight is “Families who sincerely seek God’s will CAN find it.”
I really do believe the answer is simple. We simply need to stop, look, and listen.
I. First…Stop at the Scriptures.
Psalm 119:130 - NKJVThe entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
We need to study God’s Word as individuals and as families. Greater understanding of God’s Word will lead to greater understanding of God’s character and will. The better we get to know God, the easier it will be to recognize Him in our lives.
Martin Luther said “I study my Bible like I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest may fall. Then I shake each limb, and when I have shaken each limb, I shake each branch and every twig. Then I look under every leaf. I search the Bible as a whole like shaking the whole tree. Then I shake every limb--study book after book. Then I shake every branch, giving attention to the chapters. Then I shake every twig, or a careful study of the paragraphs and sentences and words and their meanings.”
Psalm 119:105 - NKJV
Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
A young man told me recently that the Holy Spirit led him equally as much as the Bible. I asked him how he knew it was the Holy Spirit. He said he could not answer that question. Later in that day, I asked my wife how she recognized the Holy Spirit’s leading, versus a feeling or hunch. She said she could recognize the Holy Spirit’s leading by understanding His character through the Word. For instance, one may say “I feel like the Holy Spirit is telling my family not to join a fellowship of believers.” Jesus told us that where two or more gather, He’d be there.
II. Second…Look around and within.
Philippians 2:12-13Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
This passage highlights three specifics.
(A) There is a willingness to obey.
Honestly, look with in yourself and analyze your willingness to obey God.
Then, look within your family and analyze if your family is marked by a
willingness to obey God. Men, as God created us to lead our families,
many times our obedience as an example for our families.
(B) Secondly, there is a need to “work out” or give ourselves to doing our
part with a sensitive spirit, or with “fear and trembling”.
(C) Thirdly, there is the promise that God will “work in you” to perform His
Busyness if often our worst enemy. Listen to this story from Chuck Swindoll. “Charles Swindoll once found himself with too many commitments in too few days. He got nervous and tense about it. "I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day," he recalled in his book Stress Fractures. "Before long, things around our home started reflecting the patter of my hurry-up style. It was becoming unbearable."I distinctly remember after supper one evening, the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly, 'Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin' and I'll tell you really fast.' "Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered, 'Honey, you can tell me -- and you don't have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly." "I'll never forget her answer: 'Then listen slowly.'”
Many times, we allow our children to get too busy. I believe a good piece of advice, yet tough to hear is this: ONLY ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO HAVE ONE EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITY AT A TIME.
As your family remains alert to God’s working, paying close attention to doors He opens and closes, God will direct you into His will. Remember, closed doors are just as much God’s leading as open ones. The believer who wants to do God’s will must be sensitive and cooperative, not forcing their way into areas that God closes off. God uses circumstances and expects us to interpret them with a sensitive, alert conscience.
III. Lastly…Listen to the counsel of qualified people.
Proverbs 20:5 - Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.
Moses’ father-in-law (Jethro) gave Moses good counsel in Exodus 18 when he advised Moses to balance his work load. In the book of Titus (2:3-5), older women are told to instruct and encourage younger women.
There is much to learn from aged and wise counsel. I used to go fishing with a man I called Uncle John. He seemed ancient when I was young. One day, one of my friends asked me, “Why do you want to go fishing with that old man?” I thought for a bit, and answered, “When you and me go fishing we end up throwing rocks. When Uncle John and me go fishing, we catch fish!”
I have a friend named Andy Solomon. Long before I had a child of my own, I watched Andy be a dad. He was taking me to fatherhood school. Well, really it was more than that. He was taking me to “daddy” school. Any man can father a child, it takes a real man to be a daddy. I saw Andy soothe his children when they were in pain and right them when they were wrong. I saw him correct one child with one breath and calm another of his children the next instant. It was a beautiful thing! There is no way I can repay Andy for letting God use him to teach me about being a dad. One thing that was always noticeable…there was genuine love and affection in every case, whether they were being rebuked or pacified.
It is a good thing to have the counsel of others who are mature in the faith.
Colossians 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Romans 15:14 - Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
God’s makes His will known: (1) through His Word as we stop and study it as a family, (2) through circumstances…as we look within and sense what He is saying, and (3) through the counsel of others as we bring them into our family circle.