This Sunday we began a new series, What You Don't Know Can Hurt You. Pastor Ross Wright got us off to a great start as we looked at the Will of God. In case you missed it, or if you want to watch it again, here it is.
Here is Ross' post with some next steps on how you can start the process of living out God's will today:
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. (Proverbs 16:3)
God’s will is not a hidden, detailed roadmap for where we’re to go and what we’re to do. His will – or his ways – are plainly given to us in his word, the Bible. Where there is a command in God’s word, we obey. Where there is not a direct command, we have freedom and a responsibility to choose. In those times, we make a wise choice – an informed decision that will honor God. We choose, we walk, we surrender the outcome to God, and he will establish our plans.
Tools for studying God’s word
Priority – If God’s will is a priority in your life, studying God’s word is paramount. In addition to pastoral teaching (in church services) and sharing and accountability (small group and Christian friends) we need to keep a diet of personal Bible study. The details (how/when/where) are up to you. Find what works but don’t let it be a boring routine. God’s word should bring freshness and spiritual sustenance to your day.
Translation – Read the Bible in a translation that allows for clarity. Every English translation of original Hebrew and Greek biblical text is just that – an English translation. There isn’t a right or wrong translation, though they are different. If you consider yourself a “beginner” when it comes to personally studying God’s word, I suggest NLT or NIV. Once you are familiar with a passage, also read it in the Message (MSG), which Pastor Eugene Peterson wrote as a translation to keep the Bible fresh, current and understandable.
YouVersion – this Bible app and website (Bible.com) are user-friendly and deep. Not only can you read the entire Bible in numerous translations, but you can create a profile and begin to tackle reading plans. There are plans to read the Bible in a year, plans for specific portions of the Bible, and plans about specific topics. Some of the reading plans have supplemental devotional content. Right now, I’m using the YouVersion app to read through the Bible in one year historically (the order in which biblical texts were written).
Blue Letter Bible – This is also an app and a website (blueletterBible.org). It’s a great companion to your Bible study. The site and app can be overwhelming in its amount of study options, but it’s an awesome resource. When looking up a particular passage, you can view each word in its original language and discover its meaning. Viewing the original word (and its different meanings) can help us understand why it’s translated to us the way it is. Beyond biblical text, Blue Letter provides many commentaries from theologians throughout history. The commentaries can provide historical context, translation insight and spiritual application. Blue Letter can be daunting in its scope, but don’t be intimidated. It’s worth checking out.
Scripture for further reading on God’s will:
Book of Psalms
Book of Proverbs
Things to have on hand:
I suggest owning a physical copy of the Bible in the translation you prefer and a physical commentary that is easy to read and understand. Though websites and apps provide almost limitless in-depth resources, you will find holding God’s word in your hand to be an invaluable option. Some days during my current YouVersion reading plan, I look up my daily passages and opt to read a physical copy of scripture.
You’ll also find copies of the Bible that have some study/commentary/dictionary features. This is very helpful to many.
If you cannot afford a copy of the Bible, contact our office and one will be gladly provided to you (804-730-3676 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Books for further reading:
Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen
God’s Guidance: Finding His Will for Your Life by Elisabeth Elliot
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
I pray your hunger for God’s word increases with your knowledge of his ways. Keep studying, praying and obeying. Make decisions that honor God and with each step you will grow more confident in your faith and in God’s goodness.