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Many people are surprised to learn that God has a personal blueprint for the life of every one of His children. The Bible says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, NASB). This suggests that before each of us who know Christ as Saviour, is a divinely prepared pathway strewn with good works made ready for our hands. Along the way prepared for us will be all the people that He expects us to impact, all the work He expects us to accomplish, and all the discipline/training necessary to fit us for that work. Along that path lies what He who knows the end from the beginning, has concluded is best for us.
There is no doubt about it, God has a plan for each believer’s life. The Bible quotes God as saying in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans that I have for you…plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” See also Ephesians 5:17; Philippians 2:13; John 15:16.
General will and specific will – It is important to differentiate between God’s general will and His specific will.
God’s general will, among other things, includes:
How, where, when, and with whom this general will is carried out is God’s specific will for us. But how is the “how, where, when, and with whom” determined? Or is it a “hit or miss” situation pure guesswork? Or, can God’s specific will be known in detail?
According to Ephesians 2:10 in the Bible, there is a specific will for each individual believer. However before revealing His plans to each person, God asks that certain “prerequisites” be met.
Prerequisites for knowing God’s specific will
“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity” (Romans 12:2, Phillips).
The world stamps an individual with its own shape or mold. “Worldly” oriented persons talk, react, have interests, attitudes, priorities, values, habit patterns, and standards that identify them as being of the “world” (1 John 2:15). The believer is not to be pressed into the mold of the world. He is not to be like everyone else, he is to be different; he is to be like Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29).
Romans 12:2 says the believer is to be transformed or changed. In the Greek, the word “transformed” speaks of a person changing his outward expression—the change coming from his inner self. In Matthew 17:2 this same Greek word is translated “transfigured” and refers to the change in the Lord’s outward expression. In His transfiguration the Lord Jesus allowed the inner glory of God to shine through His body. The radiance caused a transfiguration; His outward expression was transformed, i.e. changed. Believers are to be transformed or transfigured individuals. They are to be different.
The believer is to be separated from the world and different not only because he does not do certain things (Romans 12:2; 1 John 2:15), but because he does glorify or reveal God in his reactions and life style (Romans 12:2; 1 John 2:15, 16; 2 Peter 1:4-8; Titus 2:12; 2 Corinthians 6:17-18).
“…be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may (ap) prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, Phillips).
The mind is tremendously important in determining the kind of person an individual becomes. Proverbs 23:7 notes: “…as a man thinks within himself, so is he…” Until a life is given over to God, the world with its emphasis on the self, self-gratification and activity independent of God, will dominate the individual and determine the type of person he becomes. If the individual is to know and approve God’s “good and perfect” will (a will/plan that is just as “good and perfect” as God is, cf. Mark 10:17; Matthew 5:48), then this “self-domination” cannot continue. God must be allowed to completely control the believer’s thinking and subsequently the kind of person he becomes.
Do we have an honest desire to know God’s specific will for our lives? God teaches those who sincerely want to know and obey His will. As we obey what God reveals to us, He continues to reveal more of His specific will to us (Mark 4:24-25). Jesus enunciated a principle in John 7:17: “anyone who honestly desires to know God’s will, will know it.” In that verse He put it this way, “If any (one) is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching…” (John 7:17).
James 1:5 says that when we lack wisdom we are to ask God for it. Properly translated the verse reads, we are to “keep on asking” for it. Sometimes the answer does not come immediately. When it doesn’t, the believer should keep on praying, and wait. But a delayed answer tends to cause doubt. James, therefore, cautions the believer not to doubt, but to keep on asking in faith (James 1:6). Psalm 37:7 adds, “Be still and rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Amplified Bible).
Why would God make us wait for the answer? In the first place, God is not our servant Whose only responsibility is to give us whatever we want, when we want it. When the time comes that we truly need to have the answer and know His will, He will see to it that we know it.
In the second place, God may make us wait for the answer because it might be we are not asking the right question (Romans 8:26). God may want to deal with us about what we are asking, trying to help us perceive our problems more clearly and thus enable us to ask more intelligently.
So we have to be patient (Psalm 37:7). As we continue to struggle toward ascertaining His will we can be sure that God is doing His part toward helping us think correctly.
The individual who is able to discern God’s will is skillful in the use of His Word. Obviously, God’s general will—His plan, purpose, and standard for the believer’s life and lifestyle—is found on the pages of His Word. In light of such verses as Psalms 119:105, 130 and Joshua 1:8, it seems logical to conclude that His specific will may be found there as well. For the believer, searching God’s Word should be a daily discipline, opportunity, and responsibility. Through His Word God instructs, comforts, encourages, challenges, and directs, and so finding God’s will need not be a frenzied, traumatic experience. Rather it should be the natural outworking of daily communication with Him. Thus, the individual who willingly takes time and knows how to allow God to speak through His Word will know His will.
Prerequisites to finding God’s will are the personal preparations to be made by an individual. Indicators of God’s will are the signposts by which God shows and confirms His will to the individual who has, by meeting the prerequisites, a prepared and qualified heart.
Indicators of God’s Specific Will:
“Delight yourself also in the Lord; and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm37:4). In Philippians 2:13 we are told that God works in us both “to will and to do of His good pleasure.” This presupposes that our desires and thoughts are under His control (2 Corinthians 10:5; Proverbs 23:7). In considering His specific will, personal desire can be a starting point. However, personal desires cannot always be trusted; thus, there must be something beyond this to confirm His specific will.
Circumstances can play a vital role in discerning God’s will. God can control what happens to us, the people we meet, or the places we go, in order to show us His plan. The Bible abounds with illustrations of guidance by circumstance. Circumstances guided Joseph to Egypt (Genesis 37). Illness, no doubt, (Galatians 4:13) guided Paul to remain in the area of Galatia, though he wanted to go and preach in Asia (Acts 16:6,7).
Some of the world’s outstanding missionaries have been guided by circumstances. David Livingstone set out for China, but the Opium War closed the door to that country and he went to Africa, and what proved to be his destiny. Adoniram Judson sailed for India, but, unable to land when he arrived, got off at the next port of call Burma. There he served the Lord for years and won many to the Saviour.
Circumstances, however, cannot be considered an infallible guide. Sometimes God leads contrary to circumstances. For example, D.L. Moody was an uneducated shoe salesman who had difficulty speaking. Yet God called him to become a preacher a preacher who during his career led thousands to the Saviour in both America and Europe. Philip, the evangelist, was called by God to leave a successful campaign to witness to one man in the desert (Acts 8:5, 26). Circumstances alone would have suggested he stay in Samaria and preach to the crowds. God had other plans.
As important as circumstances may be, however, there must be something more in order to confirm God’s specific will.
In Titus 2:12 the believer is advised to use common sense. He is to “live sensibly, righteously, and Godly in the present age.” To “live sensibly” is to live in a balanced, level headed manner; it is to utilize common sense. Indeed, the word contains the same idea as does our current term “common sense.” Common sense, however, though helpful in determining God’s will, cannot be a final guide. There has to be something else with which to confirm God’s specific will.
The Bible indicates that pastors, teachers, and church leaders are to be advisors and guides in our lives (Hebrews 13:7, 17). It stands to reason that seeking out the counsel and advice of experienced individuals is wise. This is not to say that another can make our decision for us; they cannot. The decision is our responsibility, but it can be profitable to consider the advice of mature people who have had experience in discerning God’s will (Colossians 3:16).
People can be wrong although they have good intentions; therefore, there must be something more than the counsel of friends to determine God’s will.
Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” The word “rule” actually means to “act as an umpire”; that is, peace concerning a decision will be an indicator of a correct or proper course of action. One must be careful, however, to distinguish between the genuine peace that comes from doing God’s will and a pseudo-peace that results from a psychological rationalization of the mind that convinces one of the correctness of a course of action because that is really what he wants or doesn’t want more than anything else. Though peace will accompany the knowing and performing of God’s will, because of the complexity of the human mind, it cannot of itself be a final guide. There must be something beyond this to confirm God’s will.
God ultimately and objectively reveals His specific will through His Word, the Bible. The Psalmist said, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (119:105). God speaks by impressing the believer’s mind with His thoughts as that believer reads the Bible. The Bible book of Jude records evidence of this phenomenon when in it we read that Jude intended to write a letter on the subject of salvation. While preparing to do so, he “felt the necessity” rather to deal with the subject of false teachers (Jude 3). This then became the subject of his little book; God had clearly spoken impressing Jude’s mind with what He wanted considered in that particular writing.
As the believer turns to God’s Word every day (Joshua 1:8), God instructs, comforts encourages challenges, and convicts according to His standard. God reveals His specific will for each believer’s life through His Word.
Our minds are “triggered” and directed as we read, understand, and apply His Word to our own situations. If God can impress our minds with personal adjustments that need to be made, He can impress our minds with the proper decisions that need to be made. He can activate thoughts or impressions by what we read in His Word.
Because God speaks definitely to us in His Word, it is necessary to make very effort to understand It. To guard against bending the Scripture to our own fantasizing, to prevent making Scripture say something it does not actually say, and to prevent being erroneously impressed because of faulty understanding, it is to our advantage to understand It as much as possible.
Although one may not be able to understand and interpret a passage as thoroughly as a theologian, God must be trusted to honour a diligent and honest effort before Him. This is giving God every opportunity to activate our thinking with His thoughts as to details concerning His specific will for us, as it relates to the problem and/or question with which we struggle.
In today’s frenetically paced world, God has a specific plan for our lives. Finding that plan through the utilization of God’s Word is not always easy nor is such a use of God’s Word intended to be a shortcut gimmick. Its success or failure hinges upon a basic honesty before God, a daily, continual exposure of oneself to God through His Word.
Differentiate between God’s general and specific will. Work through the prerequisites and the indicators.
o Am I totally available to God? Are all my rights His?
o Am I separate, different from the world and allowing God to transform my mind and life?
o Am I being controlled by God, obedient to His leading?
o Do I have an honest desire to know God’s will? Am I living up to what I already know?
o Am I willing to wait for God’s will to be revealed?
o Am I developing a skillful use of the Word of God?
God knows, He loves, He cares.
Nothing this truth can dim,
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice with Him
Saturday (Vigil): 4:40pm Rosary & Rec., 5:00pm Mass
Sunday: 7:30am, 9am & 6pm, Vietnamese 11:15am.
Monday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Tuesday: 6:15pm Ador., 6.30pm Rosary & Rec., 7pm Mass
Wednesday 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Thursday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Friday: 9:15am Mass & Stations of the Cr.
7pm Mass & Stations of the Cr.
First Friday: Ador. 7am-7:30pm.
Masses at 9:15am & 7:30pm with Anointing of the Sick and 4pm in Vietnamese.
Ador. – Adoration.
Rec. – Reconciliation.
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1 Beaconsfield St, Revesby, NSW 2212 Australia
Deanery: 2 South West Deanery
Archdiocese of Sydney
Parish Boundary: click HERE
Carpark: Available (Entry Via Beaconsfield St)
Wheelchair Access: Available (Via Side Door)
Office Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30am to 4 pm.
Office Location: Presbytery (Entry Via Beaconsfield St).
Priest: Rev Dariusz Basiaga SDS PP JP
Parish Secretary: Pauline Sahyoun.
Bookkeeper: Maria Amaral.
Sacramental Coordinator: Kathleen Quinn.
Catechist Coordinator: Margaret Hill.
Youth Coordinator: Ellina Nandan.
Phone: (02) 9773 9065
Email: Parish Office
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