The Lord’s primary aim is not to be giving step-by-step instructions, but to teach His wisdom to His children.
A Christian woman had her children in a school. Even though the school does not belong to a religious body, the owners are Christians and the head is a vibrant Christian. They have Christian assemblies in the mornings and preachers do come to expound the word of God to the students. It therefore qualifies to be called a Christian school.
Ok, that is settled. One of those days this mother went to the school to complain about a way things were being done in the school which she felt was not the best way and which she had a better way to suggest. Her concern was for the welfare of her children and the other pupils in the school.
She met a brick wall; they wouldn’t listen to her suggestion, insisting on their own way without giving any reason that any thinking adult could easily understand. When pressed further they came up with it: “We know what God told us to do.” Essentially, they were doing what God told them to do, and though it was not reasonable to a thinking fellow Christian, and is not commanded in the written word of God which we all have, no one should complain as they were simply obeying the Lord.
This scenario is all too common in today’s Christianity. Now, I am not addressing the issue of how to hear God or whether He actually speaks to people (even though I am certain that in more than 90% of cases, the Lord didn’t say anything to any of the people claiming He did), what I want to point out is that something is wrong if after obeying God you are still not able to own the decision. Something is wrong if after supposedly obeying God, you still have to pass the buck over to the Lord as the reason why you did what you did. Maybe you actually heard God, but something is definitely out of place if you cannot see the wisdom of God, rejoice in it, and be defending the Lord, so to speak; it is curious if you still have to be hiding behind “God told me.”
Let me explain further.
See, following God’s plan (or God’s will, if you prefer the expression), has three basic stages. Stage One is becoming aware of it; Stage Two is to accept it, even if grudgingly, while Stage Three is to own the decision. To own the decision is to become fully convinced of the wisdom of it. It is for the decision to have become yours and not just the Lord’s.
Let us look at the life of the Lord Jesus to see these stages.
We know that He knew the will of the Father all through His life, and He was determined to do it. Numerous verses show us that He was always doing precisely what the Father wanted. For example, He said, “the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me” (Jn 14:24). He would say, “The Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does” (Jn 5:19). This is Stage 2 of following God’s plan that is being described.
But he did not live in Stage 2.
Beyond doing what the Father wanted simply because the Father wanted it, He lived in stage 3. He said, “I delight to do Thy will…” He actually loved what He was doing. He enjoyed it. He said it gave Him satisfaction (Jn 4:34). He was united with God to the extent that even if the Father said noting, that very thing is what He would also do. The only difference was that as a human (having laid aside His glory), He had to accept limitations in knowledge, and so had to depend on the Father’s decisions. But the Father’s heart was His heart too. No difference.
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature (Heb 1:3, ESV)
So you never see Him telling someone that “the Father said I should heal you.” We didn't ever hear Him say that “the Father said I should forgive you of your sins.” He just healed who He wanted to heal, forgave who He wanted to forgive, and that was all. The Bible shows us that He called His disciples and sent them out two by two. He chose those He wanted to be with Him and send out to preach (Mk 3:14). The decisions were presented as His own even though we know these were in total agreement with the Father. Essentially, He owned all the decision as His even though they originated with the Father.
Until we get to that point, our obedience is actually not complete. We see that the Lord actually said that we must not only be obedient but we must also be willing. The blessing of the land is only for those who have gone beyond just being obedient but are willing (Is 1:19). God in not only at work in us to make us do, He is actually first working in us to make us willing. But many are stuck in the ‘do’ side, and they brag on it.
What does it mean to be wiling? It is to begin to take ownership of the decisions. It is to become converted to divine viewpoint, not to continue to pass the buck of the responsibly over to the Lord all the time.
At a time, passing from stage 2 to the 3rd stage was difficult for the Lord Jesus. So He went into the garden and prayed until the decision to go to the cross was no longer just that of the Father, but it became His own too. Our sacrifices are not fully accepted until we get to that point.
Many people like the sound of saying they are only doing what they are doing because the Lord wants it so, but it is not so good. It shows they are not fully persuaded about the wisdom of God; it is not actually a sign of spirituality. Imagine a man asking a woman for her hand in marriage, and telling her that it is only because the Lord said he should. I actually know a man who did that. He told the lady that left to him he wasn’t particularly interested, but that he had to obey the Lord. How would you like to be told that as a woman? ‘The Lord loves me, and has a plan for me, but the husband who He wants me to marry is not interested, He is just obeying the Lord.' Not exactly an exciting thought, is it? You feel just like an assignment and not a loved woman. It certainly wouldn’t be nice to live in a home where everything is done only because the Lord wants it, while we actually have no feeling about it.
See, we will all pass through stage 2, but our obedience is not complete until we reach stage 3. Yes the Lord may have shown me His plan to marry that woman, but I am to pray until I want her too. The Lord doesn’t want a marriage where every day you are enduring and telling your spouse, ‘I am only here because the Lord wants me to be there.’ No, it is not good. We must get to the point where even if the Lord were to say, ‘come out,’ you would feel. Derek Prince’s story is instructive for me in this regard.
Two years after his first wife went home to the Lord, he had a revelation that the Lord wanted him to marry another woman. He saw this in a kind of dream or vision. He was perplexed and told the Lord he didn’t really love the woman. To make a long story short, a day came that he saw the lady wearing the dress he had seen in the vision, when she came to speak with him about something, and love for her just flowed his heart. After that day, he wanted to marry her. He now loved her and did what was necessary to woo the woman. It was no longer the decision of the Lord; it had become his decision too. That is what it is supposed to be.
Obedience to the Lord is not just for the sake of obedience, but it is so that we will be converted into His own nature. We often overlook this purpose of God. Even though it may seem very spiritual to be able to say ‘I heard God,’ actually it is not at all a sign of spirituality. The Lord rather wants people He doesn’t have to ‘talk’ to. He wants children who are developed enough so that in themselves they are like Him and can make God-like decisions, decisions so God-like they can be trusted to judge angels (1 Cor 6:3).
Spirituality is not the ability to hear God, but the development that has taken place inside us so that we think like Him. A spiritual man knows the mind of God through understanding of the nature and character of God. Remember there was a man, Ahithophel, who understood life so much that through reasoning he could give counsel so wise it was as if you inquired of the Lord (2 Sam 16:23). For the Christian, we are to be spiritual Ahithophels. Within the limit of the knowledge we have, we are to understand the mind of God so much that we think like Him. And if we learn anything new by the special operation of the Spirit of God, then we are to seek to understand the wisdom therein and make that wisdom part of us. We are not to take pride in ‘God told me,’ but that ‘Yes, I have the mind of Christ.’
Let us end this with the words of David:
The Lord is good and decent.
That is why he teaches sinners the way they should live.
He leads humble people to do what is right,
and he teaches them his way.
Every path of the Lord is one of mercy and truth
for those who cling to his promise and written instructions.
For the sake of your name, O Lord,
remove my guilt, because it is great.
Who, then, is this person that fears the Lord?
He is the one whom the Lord will teach which path to choose.
He will enjoy good things in life,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
The Lord advises those who fear him.
He reveals to them the intent of his promise. Ps 25:8-14 GW
(For more on this subject, please read my book GUIDED BY THE SPIRIT)
By Okeke Obinna on 18 Aug, 2017
I understand that God always converts us to His will. And He doesn't always have to come and speak directly to us. What happens when a deep sitted conviction in you is constantly being thwarted by events...does questioning those convictions mean you are yet to really know His will or lack patience?
Convictions must be tested with the word of God. If they are in agreement with the word, then we hold on to them no matter what outward circumstances say. Yes, circumstances may cause us to reflect, but only the word of God is the true judge of what is right or wrong. If it is something that the word of God does not specifically address, them we do what we have to do to actualize the desires, as long as ALL the actions we take are righteous according to the precepts of God. We are to also pray. Solomon said "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your WAYS submit to Him...". Do this with patience, and the result is the will of God.
By JOSHUA OJO on 19 Aug, 2017
Thank you sir for consistently striving to bring clarity to us, His body.
By Peter Ogburu on 30 Aug, 2017
Thank you very much sir, for the dishing out of the undiluted secrets and truths of the word of God. I always look forward to it on the specified days on radio every morning (magicfm). l must confess, it has really and always been of help to me in dealing with various issues my life. Ones again, thank you Pastor
By NONSO DANIEL OKONKWO on 02 Sep, 2017
Thank you Daddy, thank you for this post, it blessed my soul. Yes Sir we must cooperate with God and agree with the Lord before we can be blessed by His WILL and PLAN for our lives. "The Lord is the one who is working in us to WILL (first) and TO DO(second) of His Good pleasure. I remember the woman who her daughter was raised and she was instructed "GO in and take her by yourself"yes even though the will of God is for her daughter to be raise from dead, she must make what God want her own want, Yes sir we must come to unity with God in every of His will for us. God bless and Strengthen you
By Philips Ekum on 03 Nov, 2017
Good day, my Pastor.