Matthew 6:24 | Matthew 7:9-11 | Ephesians 2:14 | Romans 12:2
It’s all about choices.
Here is a term for you… mutually exclusive. It basically means, “You can’t have both.”
It describes the relationship between you having your cake and you eating your cake. (“You can’t have your cake and eat it, too!”) If you eat the cake, you no longer have the cake. Of course, that is assuming you would eat all the cake…probably a safe assumption.
Some things are mutually exclusive. For instance, Jesus said…
“You cannot serve both God and money.”(Matthew 6:24b NIV)
He explains that you cannot serve two masters, because you will always favor one over the other. Sometimes serving God will not make sense financially. But notice that God and money themselves are not mutually exclusive. You can have both–you just cannot serve both. Besides, money is a tool that God created to help us interact with each other.
Here is our suggestion: Serve God, and let money serve you.
Let’s talk more about serving God. If you are going to serve him with your life, you will need to understand what he wants you to do. That is called God’s will for your life.
The first key to understanding God’s will for your life is this: God wants to give you GOOD THINGS.
“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”(Matthew 7:9-11 NLT)
This means you. God is your heavenly Father and he wants you to have the nourishment you need to grow in every way. Through belief in Jesus Christ and a commitment to follow him, you become part of his chosen people who will bless the whole world.
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.(Ephesians 2:14 NLT)
As a follower of Christ and a part of his family, you can be sure that God has good plans for you. How do you learn these plans? Let him change the way you think.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.(Romans 12:2 NLT)
God can change the way you think if you let him. And it comes from reading his Word (the Bible), praying, and from deciding to let him change you.
And remember what Quinn and Josie said about the line and the dot. That will help keep you from overthinking it.
Questions for Group Discussion
- How can you learn to know God’s will for your life? (Don’t forget Romans 12:2!)
- How do the line and dot examples that Quinn & Josie gave apply to knowing God’s will?
- When can you be sure that something is not God’s will for your life? How can the Bible help?
- When you pray, do you ‘talk’ more or listen more? Which is more important in human conversation? How could you listen more during prayer?
- Do you think it is possible to ‘hear God’s voice’? If so, how?
Hear God’s Voice: Application
Hearing God’s voice takes practice. But knowing his voice is part of being a follower of Jesus. He said:
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.(John 10:27 NLT)
Try listening to (or for) God’s voice when you pray. Here’s how…
- When you pray, pause after asking a question. Listen for an answer. It may show up as words, a feeling, an image… God can speak to you however he wants.
- Understand that God will not contradict himself. So if what you see, hear, etc. does not line up with scripture, you are not hearing from God. This can be tricky, though (consider Peter’s vision in Acts 11) so continue in Prayer and ask God for clarification if you are stuck. God is patient (and kind, does not envy, does not boast…)!
- Ask God for other ways to hear his voice and know his will.
- Ask yourself if you trust God enough to obey him if you know his will. Be honest. If you don’t trust him, tell him (through prayer) and work it out with him.
- Understand that learning to hear and obey God is a lifelong process, so do not expect to be ‘good at it’ or not. Expect to need practice and improvement for the rest of your eternal life!