How Do You Know What God Wants?

Guest Post by Phil Robertson.

My dad has always enjoyed telling a joke about the thermos. It goes like this. Three men were arguing over what had to be the greatest accomplishment of mankind. One said it was the trips to the moon. Another said it was modern medicine and all the cures. However a third guy said it had to be thermos. Bewildered the first two men said, “Why the thermos? All it does is keep hot things hot and cold thing cold” To which the third guy replied, “Yea, but how does it know?” Think about it. It’s silly, I know.

However, how often do you hear people saying they know what God wants? A young fella walks into a church for the first time and immediately says, “I know this is where God wants me to be.” A lady switches from one church to another because she likes the band and the entertaining worship service. When the emotion fills her heart, she says, “I know this is where God was directing me.” Another man looking for deeper love, leaves his wife and moves in with a girl friend. This new relationship is exciting and he thinks, “Doesn’t God want me to be happy? Obviously, this is where God wants me to be.”

Mankind has a long history of transforming personal opinion into God’s will. He wants to make God in his own image. He assumes that what makes him feel good is what God wants. God has always challenged these blind assumptions. “You thought that I was one just like yourself” (Ps. 50:21). He even challenged man’s ability to reason at all without His guidance.

In the days of Hosea, the Israelites, who were “God’s chosen people,” were condemned for trusting in their “own ways” (Hos 10:13). They claimed to praise the Most High but they never consulted Him (Hos 11:7). God said, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hos 4:6). They did not consult God, instead they sought counsel from their “wooden idols” and allowed the culture to direct their spiritual aspirations (Hos 4:12).

Jeremiah warned the nation of Judah about seeking man’s advice. He said, “O Lord I know that the way of man is not in himself. It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jer 10:23).

Even Solomon, the wisest man ever to live, repeatedly warned of the foolishness of following human wisdom:
• “The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” (Pro 12:15).
• “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but its end is the way to death” (Pro 14:12)
• “Every way of man is right is in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts” (Pro 21:2)
• “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge but the mouth of the fools feeds on foolishness” (Pro 15:14)
Instead of assuming we know what God wants, we should trust God knows what we need. “Seek Me and live” says the Lord (Amos 5:4). He will illuminate our path and direct us in the ways of righteousness (Psa 116:165; Psa 23:3).

The only way we can really know what God wants is to study the Bible. It is His Word and His will for our lives (2 Tim 3:16-17). He wants to obey His directions so He can mold us into His image. Therefore, if we cannot find it in His Book, then we do not have any reason to say, “I know this is where God wants me to be.”

Author: Rhodes Davis

My passion is analyzing information, exploring ideas, lifelong learning and sharing knowledge with others. I have a wide range of interests and am not easily bored so I approach unfamiliar and diverse subjects with great zeal. I am a business nerd, fascinated by what can be accomplished through innovative companies and people who want to change the world. My faith is very important and I enjoy opportunities to share my observations and study insights through teaching and writing. I follow the simple teachings of Jesus and try to reflect His glory in my life. I work with young people on applying the teachings of Jesus to their unique challenges and opportunities. "Curiosity keeps taking us down new paths." - Walt Disney