God's standard will and specific will
A farmer in North Carolina lived on a beautiful farm that his family owned for many decades. They had cultivated that same land for several generations, sowing and reaping in the fields year after year. Finally the farmer died, and after being in the family for more than two hundred years, the property was sold to one of the neighbours.
As the new owner of the farm was walking in the field, he saw a large, unusual-looking rock just barely sticking out of the dirt. He picked it up and began to examine it. He could immediately tell that this was no ordinary rock but some type of gemstone. He took it home, washed it, and took it to a jewellery store in the town where he lived. The jeweller confirmed what the owner already suspected; the old stone that had been in that field for thousands of years was a large, uncut emerald that has since proved to be worth several million dollars!
The reality is that often what we are looking for is right under out nose.
This gemstone was in that field all along just waiting for someone to come along and 'discover' it. For generations farmer after farmer had worked in that field. Undoubtedly that emerald had been seen thousands of times before, but it was overlooked because, to the casual observer, it appeared to be nothing more than an ordinary rock.
When we 'discover' a thing, we are actually uncovering or finding something that is already in existence but that we were unaware of previously.
And while many people are desperately seeking God's will for their lives, the reality is that often what they are looking for is right under their nose, but they continue to look for it because they don't recognise it. In order to recognise a precious stone, one would need to be familiar with its characteristics and know what it should look like.
In the same way, if we desire to discover God's will for our lives, we must learn to recognise the characteristics of His will. The first characteristic of His will that I want to look at is His Standard and Specific will.
God has already gone to great lengths to reveal to us in His Word what His will is for everyone.
I was approached recently by a man who wanted my advice in a very difficult situation. The man, who was a husband and father, had decided to leave his wife for another woman. He felt this other woman was his 'soul mate,' and he believed God had spoken to him and told him to divorce his wife to marry the other woman. When he asked me for counsel in this matter, I immediately knew God's will for the situation. I told him in no uncertain terms that it was absolutely not God's will for him to leave his wife for another woman and that God had not told him to do so.
Now you may ask, 'How did you know this? Did you hear an audible voice from heaven? Did you receive a prophetic word?' No, I didn't even need to pray about it. I knew it was not God's will for this man to leave his wife and commit adultery (Matt. 5:28) simply because of what God has already revealed to us in His Word.
The specific will of God for your life will never go against His standard will'”what He has already revealed to us in His Word.
As we begin the journey of discovering God's will for our lives, it may seem like the options of tasks God may be calling us to are endless, and this can feel overwhelming. The good news is that God has already gone to great lengths to reveal to us in His Word what His will is for everyone'”I call this the 'standard will of God.' But in addition to His standard will, God has something tailor-made for each of our lives. I call this the 'specific will of God.'
It is important, however, to understand that the specific will of God for your life will never go against His standard will'”what He has already revealed to us in His Word. This understanding will quickly help us to sort through the plethora of options and instantly eliminate confusion. For instance, if you hear a voice telling you to open a Christian strip club or start a Christian drug cartel, you can be sure that the voice you are hearing is not from God.
Whatever you do in life, it must line up with God's Word.
These may be extreme examples, but this problem is not as far fetched as you might think. It never ceases to amaze me the things that have been done throughout history by people who thought they were doing God's will when they were actually working in direct opposition to God's revealed Word. People claiming to be Christians doing God's will carried out the Crusades in the Middle Ages; the atrocities committed during that time could not have been more contrary to the teachings of Jesus. The Ku Klux Klan also uses the Bible to justify its detestable activity. According to Jesus these hateful hypocrites are murderers at heart. There are, in fact, many people who have done appalling things in the name of God. Many of them sincerely believed they were doing God's will. But there is no need for this confusion because God has clearly revealed His standard will for everyone in His Word if we would only make it our compass and our guide.
Discovering God's specific will for your life is something that is unique to you as an individual and something that you must discover for yourself. But our quest to discover God's will for our lives must begin with the Word of God.
By following principles from the Scriptures, we will be able to navigate the ocean of options and opportunities without a shipwreck. Whatever you do in life, it must line up with God's Word, and He will never call you to do something that is contrary to it.
God has a plan for everyone.
Do you know yours?
This Bible Study has been taken from Chapter 3 of Daniel Kolenda's book, LIVE BEFORE YOU DIE, which is not only a 'wake up call' for you but also offers practical and scriptural insights on how you can discover and fulfil God's will for your life.