Thursday, July 23, 2009
Have you ever wondered what God’s will was for your life? I know that I have. Is there any way to actually know what God’s will is? Let me tell you a story.
It is the story of George Mueller. He grew up in Prussia, which is now a part of Germany. He didn’t care about anything other than pursuing his own pleasures. When he was fourteen and his mother lay dying, he was out partying and getting drunk with his friends. By the time he was sixteen he was a thief, a swindler, a drunkard, and in jail. His future looked bleak, but God was working in George’s life. While he was attending the University of Halle in 1825, he became totally devoted to serving God. He changed from a drunken con man to a humble man who depended on God for everything.
In 1832 he became the pastor of a Brethren congregation in Bristol, England. Bristol would be the center of his ministry for the next sixty-six years. As his work among the poor in Bristol grew, Mueller saw the need for an orphanage. For a man who had no money to attempt to build such a house, depending only on God was a real exercise of faith. Within a year, one hundred orphans were being cared for. By 1870, the orphanages had multiplied and two thousand children were being cared for.
The history of the Bristol orphanages is page after page of answered prayer. In his prayers, Mueller would present his specific and immediate needs before God. It was this unshakable faith in God's providing hand that made the Bristol orphanages so unique. They never accumulated a surplus of funds, but daily relied on the Lord for their provisions.
George and his wife Mary decided not to accept a salary. They wanted to daily depend upon the Lord for their needs, and they accepted only unsolicited freewill offerings. Mueller's journal is full of the amazing ways the Lord provided money and supplies for them throughout his ministry. Many times, he received unsolicited food donations only hours before they were needed to feed the children, further strengthening his faith in God.
In the years that George Mueller spent ministering to others, he touched many lives. The 117 schools he established collectively had over 120,000 students. The orphanage he operated had five mammoth buildings, and over the years took care of the needs of over 10,000 orphans. Friends of the Mueller’s would ask, “How can you operate such a large operation without knowing where the money is going to come from?” George would reply, “It is God’s will”.
How can you know what is God’s will for your life. Is there any way to determine what you should do when decisions need to be made in your life? How was George Mueller sure that he was following God’s will? There must have been people that asked George that very question, because he came up with a method for determining God’s will.
George Mueller outlined 8 steps for knowing God’s will in your life. Step number one is “Have no will of your own on the given matter”. If we are serious about discovering God’s will, we have to surrender our own. Step number two is “Don’t simply go by feelings”. The idea that if it feels good we should do it doesn’t come from God. Step number three is “Study God’s Word”. Many times this step is all that is needed. The Bible provides answers to most of life’s questions. Step number four is “Consider providential circumstances”. In my life I have experienced this step many times. When my wife and I made the decision to move to Arkansas, our home in Colorado sold within 2 weeks. To me the quick sale was an affirmation that our plans were God’s will.
Step number five is “Consult with Godly friends”. Friends and family who are Christians can provide good advice. Proverbs 11:14 tells us “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Step number six is “Ask God in prayer to reveal his will”. Take everything to God in prayer, especially your decisions. Step number seven is “Make a decision”. Sometimes you have to make a decision to determine if it is the right one. Step number eight is “Proceed with your decision”. Move forward with your decision. Let God have the opportunity to affirm your decision, or shoot it down. Choose to say to God like Jesus did, “not my will, but yours, be done.”