The Messy Process of Knowing God's Will
And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.
Following Jesus is a Daily Exercise in Yielding to God
The cross was a potent symbol of Roman authority and power. A condemned person bearing their cross to the place of execution was a public demonstration of Rome's authority over life and death. The bearing of the cross also exhibited the condemned person's powerlessness. The person bearing the cross was completely under the power of Rome.
In this verse Jesus explains that following Him means voluntarily and intentionally yielding oneself to the power of another. It means doing God's will rather than their own. For Jesus, doing God's will was to suffer, be rejected, die, and be resurrected. These were things that Jesus must do (Mark 8:31). Every disciple of Jesus is called to do God's will and not their own.
I don't know God's will for your life, but let me be so bold as to make some suggestions how you can find His will for yourself. Begin with an attitude of yieldedness. By this I mean resolve to yield your thinking, your feelings, and your actions to whatever God wants for you.
Second, read God's word. You will be surprised to see how often God provides specific commands. For example, Romans 13:1 says everyone is to be subject to the government. Romans 13:7 says to pay your taxes, 1 Thessalonians 4:3 means we are not to be sexually immoral. There are a lot of specific, clear commands like this that are God's explicit will for our lives.
Third, develop wisdom. Not everything we are to think, feel, and do is clearly spelled out in Scripture. Who we are to marry, where we are to live, how many children we are to have are decisions that require wisdom. The Holy Spirit develops wisdom in us through learning from the Bible, seeking the council of more mature saints, and learning through our successes and failures. So be in God's word regularly particularly the Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes; seek the fellowship of more mature Christians; and reflect on the successes and failures in your life and learn from them.
Lastly, pay attention to what God is doing. He providentially brings people, opportunities, and circumstances to bear on you every day. For example, God often gets my attention by bringing up the same topic, multiple times, through different people. I have learned to be alert for this.
God will reveal His will for you through this mix of Word, wisdom, and providence. Read, discuss, and reflect, then act. To be Jesus' disciple is not to be paralyzed into inactivity but rather to be actively yielding your mind, emotions, and will to Him. You will sometimes make mistakes, get it wrong, and need to start over. This can be a messy, frustrating process. But take heart that God is forgiving, patient, and is at work at every step of the way.
Praise God that Mountain View Bible Fellowship is a community where those trying to work out God's will for their life find support, encouragement, and forgiveness.