Approaching God: Accepting the Invitation to Stand in the Presence of God

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Tell us what you like, so we can send you books you'll love. Join our mailing list! Price may vary by retailer. About The Book. About The Author. Photograph by Scott W. Steve Brown. We therefore have an obligation to fulfill His will as His workmanship Ephesians and His children 1 John Like Jesus, our spiritual food see John should be to do the will of Him who has called us "out of darkness into His marvelous light" 1 Peter ; see Matthew We not only have an obligation to God but also to ourselves to discern and fulfill His will for our lives.

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Positively, it is only by making this a top priority that we will find the joy and satisfaction of an ultimately meaningful existence on this earth. Negatively, it is only in this way that we will avoid the undesirable and sometimes devastating consequences of pursuing our own will while rejecting God's. The initial pleasures of sin do not outlast the guilt, double binds, and disillusionment that are its final product.

God loves us and desires what is best for us; He is also omniscient and knows what is best for us. Since His will for our lives is "good and acceptable and perfect" Romans , it is in our own best interest to affirm His desires even when they are contrary to our own. A third reason for making God's will a priority in our lives is our obligation to others.

Opening Prayers / Calls to Worship

We cannot choose in a vacuum--the decisions we make will inevitably affect others, sometimes in ways we could never imagine. God has entrusted each of us with the stewardship of a unique sphere of influence. In the decisions we make and in our resulting life-styles, we are called to be faithful ambassadors of Christ to the believers and unbelievers we touch 2 Corinthians All too often, God's will is seen in terms of a program that has been laid out before us.

Benny Hinn - Experiencing God's Presence

When it is viewed this way, the emphasis falls on developing a technique that will help us discover the details of that program as we move from one important decision to another. Should I marry this person? Should I accept this job offer? Should I move to this city?

It is far better to see the will of God as a process rather than a program. Viewed this way, the emphasis falls on developing an intimate relationship with God and not on following some all-purpose technique.

The Presence and Awareness of God

Who we are should take priority over what we do. The Bible concentrates on our need to cultivate intimacy with God but says little about methods of determining His will. It is not a how-to-do-it manual but rather a guidebook on who-to-know. God will not be manipulated by impatient demands and magical formulas.

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Instead, our paths will be illuminated by our growing and trusting relationship with Him. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong; because the Lord is the One who holds his hand" Psalm With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory" Psalm The biblical model of knowing God's will centers on a relationship, but we must be careful to use the right earthly analogy. In some relationships we simply want to be told what to do or we want to get approval for our predetermined plans.

A better analogy is that of the joint decisions reached by a married couple who enjoy an intimate relationship of mutual concern, respect, and trust. In this case, both are involved in the decisions that are reached, and it is sometimes impossible to distinguish the parts each played in the process. When we consciously acknowledge His presence and depend upon Him in the course of making decisions, the choices that are made are both ours and His. God's will, then, is not an end but a means of knowing Him better and becoming more like Christ.

Because God honors our choices and desires our unforced love, He does not overpower or coerce us. He may long to come in and help, but he will never cross the picket line of our unwillingness" James Jauncey. He speaks to us in a subtle voice, and we may be unable to hear Him when there are too many distractions in our lives. Just as we would have trouble carrying on a telephone conversation in a room full of blaring music and chattering people, in the same way the clamoring voices of selfish desires, lack of submission, pride, independence, and unforgiveness prevent us from being receptive to the quiet voice of God.

Yes, I believe that he does. Most times, I believe, he guides in subtle ways, by feeding ideas into our minds, speaking through a nagging sensation of dissatisfaction, inspiring us to choose better than we otherwise would have done, bringing to the surface hidden dangers of temptation, and perhaps by rearranging certain circumstances. God's guidance will supply real help, but in ways that will not overwhelm my freedom. God's will is a way to be and a way to behave.

He does not unfold His plan before us like a blueprint and expect us to do nothing until we see it. His will for us is a dependent walk in which we invite Him to participate in all of our activities. We make thousands of decisions each day, most of them unconscious which shoe to put on first, when to look out the window , and it would be impossible, not to say foolish, to seek God's counsel on each of these decisions.

Approaching God

But there are still a number of decisions that are significant enough to capture our attention in the course of each day. A deliberate acknowledgment of the presence of God during these times will carry us far in making God's will a way of life rather than a crisis experience.

The fabric of our lives is woven out of the threads of such minor choices, so it is wise to form the habit of being conscious of God while making them. This habit of taking God seriously in small decisions will make major decisions less traumatic. We have seen that the whole matter of God's will centers around a relationship rather than a program or a technique. The character and quality of this relationship, then, is the key to how sensitive and responsive we will be to His guidance.

The five C's of conversion, commitment, confession, concern, and compliance are prerequisites to guidance, because they are facets of our relationship with God. Our relationship with God begins when we become His children by trusting in Jesus. Until this happens, we do not know God, we cannot please Him Romans , and we cannot understand or do His will. After becoming a child of God, each Christian must come to the point where he places himself on the altar before God in an act of total commitment. Without this declaration of God's complete ownership, our relationship with Him will be compromising and mediocre.

Since a living sacrifice tends to crawl off the altar, this initial act of commitment can only be worked out in our lives as it becomes an ongoing process of daily submission to His will. This involves a gradual movement from a worldly to a biblical mind-set as our relationship with God continues to deepen: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect" Romans This all-out commitment and humble dependence upon God is the basis for what the wisdom literature of the Old Testament calls "the fear of the Lord.

He will instruct him in the way he should choose" Psalm Our fellowship with God is hindered by unconfessed sin. Before the Lord we must openly acknowledge any known sins in our lives 1 John and ask Him to illuminate areas we have overlooked Psalm so that we will continue to walk in the light. An obvious yet sometimes overlooked prerequisite to guidance is a genuine concern on our part to know God's desires for our lives. We must decidedly want to know His will John At the time of His greatest trial, our Lord cried out, "yet not as I will, but as You will," and again, "Your will be done" Matthew , An attitude of indifference will inhibit our knowledge of God's will.

Are we merely curious, or do we really want to know what God wants for us? There is little point in pursuing God's will if we are not willing to comply with it. This begins with obedience in the things He has already made known to us. How can we expect more light if we have not responded to the light we have been given? God's guidance ceases when it is unaccompanied by our acceptance. Therefore, if we are serious about knowing and doing the will of the Lord, we should examine our lives to see if we are disobeying in areas He has already made clear.

Second, we must be willing to comply not only with what God has already shown us, but also with whatever He will show us. An attitude of availability in advance is crucial, because it is the true measure of the degree to which we really trust God as a person. God's will for us is "good and acceptable and perfect" Romans , but just as the serpent deceived the woman in the garden into thinking otherwise, we too will be tempted to think otherwise.

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Our natural tendency is to believe that our own plans are in our best interest, and that anything else is a threat to our happiness. This is why so many people limit their availability to God through multiple choice prayers. Instead of giving Him the whole deck, they offer up a small hand of cards with one or two sticking out prominently and tell Him, "Pick a card--any card. After throwing it several times, she was asked why.