1-24-15 “God’s Will – Avoiding The Detours” – Pastor Shane Idleman

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God’s Will – How to Avoid the Detours

INTRO: Matthew 12:46-50, While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

  • He’s not being cruel.

Matthew 7:21 (NIV), “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

The real acid test: do our actions line up with God’s will consistently?

  • “Good people” go to church.

  • I go because my parents do, or my spouse.

  • I go because the person I’m dating goes.

There are some things that are clearly God’s will for our lives:  to be saved and to worship Him, to be holy and set apart for His glory, to be filled continually with the Holy Spirit, to witness to others, to make disciples, and so on. (Refer to I Timothy 2:4; I Thessalonians 4:3-7; Ephesians 5:17-18; and Matthew 28:19.)

But what about other areas? How Does God Guide Us?

Numbers 9:17 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents. 18 At the command of the Lord the children of Israel would journey, and at the command of the Lord they would camp; as long as the cloud stayed above the tabernacle they remained encamped….22 Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey.

  • We are not led by clouds but by the Spirit: Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”


DETOUR 1: We Make Choices Based on Feelings or on What Others are Doing

Numbers 11 – their cravings began to influence their attitude: they should have just took it to the Lord.   I Want!    I Want!    I Want!

Moses also complained…what was the difference? He took it to God.

  • Don’t look to the culture for validation

  • Don’t look to the culture for direction

  • Don’t look to the culture for truth

Jesus said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about…to do the will of Him who sent Me” (John 4:32 & 34).

  • Doing God’s will brings spiritual nourishment and energy: negative feelings take a back seat to God’s will and what others “think” becomes irrelevant.

DETOUR 2: We Become too Distracted (busy, rushed, and in a hurry)

Numbers 10 thru 15 – they were always in a hurry

  • Before someone tries to deceive you, they try to rush you

  1. Hurry and sign this contract

  2. ..I can’t hold this deal much longer

  3. ..I need an answer now

When you slow down you can meditate, ponder, contemplate, consider and weigh the options and patiently ask for God’s guidance. Then, when you step out, there’s confidence in your decision.

Recharge: “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).

1 Peter 5:8, Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

  • Are you being rushed, pushed, and anxious? Recheck your course.

Busy people who don’t have time for God rarely hear clearly from Him. Their family life also suffers.

Exception: jump in the pool

DETOUR 3: We’re often Led by Pride, not God’s Spirit

Numbers 12:2 – Miriam & Aaron desired Moses authority – “Hasn’t God also spoken through us?”

You can’t promote yourself…you can’t ordain yourself, nor can man ordain you.

This is huge when it comes to God’s Will

  • Led by the Spirit doesn’t mean “forced” by the Spirit – if we don’t submit [humble ourselves] to the direction of the Spirit, we won’t be led by the Spirit.

  • Let me take this to God in prayer rather than let me post this on Facebook and seek feedback.

  • Let me spend time in prayer rather than let me try to push this through and see what happens. Prayer changes your heart not God’s.

  • Let me spend time in God’s Word for insight rather than spending countless hours listening to secular media.

  • Let me set my heart to worship rather than staying busy going here and there.

Here are some good books to read as you seek God’s will:

Systematic Theology: Grudem to Giesler

Church History: Early Fathers thru the Reformation to Revivals

Biographies: Hudson Taylor to Any Carmichael and Wesley and Whitefield and Reformers

Christian Living: Prayer, Surrender – Andrew Murray and EM Bounds

“That’s alot!” – Correct, I’m talking to HUNGRY people

DETOUR 4 (a product of the other 3): A Hard Heart

  1. God used what they desired to actually judge them. Be careful what you ask for – “if I could just be on my own, if I could just find a different spouse, if I could just get a job where I make tons of money,” and so on.

  1. Are we always complaining? How quickly the Children of Israel forgot about the whip of their taskmasters.

  1. Here we find an important principle: Certain desires are not wrong but when they turn into lusts and cravings, and we have to have them, they become destructive. Is there something that you have to have every day? And you get mad when you can get it?

Numbers 14:3 & 21:5 – they blamed God and those over them for their problems: “why did you bring us here to die?”

  • Blaming God and others is a terrible place to live. Not only are you outside of God’s will, but “joy and peace” have left.

The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt” (14:11)? This is serious!

Numbers 10 thru 15 – the hard heart caused them to fear the will of God

*God’s will is scary when we look thru the lense of human understanding. Often, the challenge is great so He gets all the credit. He doesn’t call us to do things we can do in our own strength.

*Caleb said, “If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land…” (14:8).

CLOSING: Many times we drift away from trusting Him. But if we drift away that means we can also drift back.