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Sometimes it is not easy to know the right thing to do. Even when our hearts are right, the correct course does not always make itself obvious. It often takes wisdom, courage, and hard work to discern the Lord's will. The more we mature spiritually, of course, the easier it becomes (Heb. 5:14) -- but it is not always easy to "understand what the will of the Lord is" (Eph. 5:17), even for those who have grown deeply in godly wisdom.
There is one thing, however, that we ought to bear in mind: if we truly want to obey God, He will help us find out what we should do. We need to have the confidence that, if we have the right attitude about both knowing and doing the truth, God will lead us toward the truth that we need. Without a genuine will to obey, truthful answers to our questions may elude us, but if our intent is to obey every bit of truth as we discover it, then God promises that we'll come into possession of the truth we are looking for.
Gaining wisdom involves diligent effort. Solomon instructed his son, "Incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding" (Prov. 2:2 NKJV). Then he observed, "If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God" (Prov. 2:3-5). Paul prayed for his brethren that "the eyes of your understanding [might be] enlightened" (Eph. 1:18 NKJV). Gaining the wisdom to discern God's will requires, among other things, recognition of the need for growth beyond our present understanding.
Whether we recognize the truth when we encounter it depends mainly on what our intentions are with regard to obedience. Jesus said, "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority" (Jn. 7:16,17). Our motives, then, are crucial to our understanding: the question is not merely whether we want to know the truth, but what we plan to do with the truth once we find it. So this week, let's think about whether our basic disposition is to obey all of the truth we know to obey.
Monday: John 8:42-47
Key Idea: If God is truly our Father, we should desire to do whatever He wills.
Questions for Family Growth: According to what Jesus said in vv.43,44, why did the Pharisees not understand the truth about Jesus? Who was their "father"? Why was this so? What makes some people "of God" (v.47), in other words, are some people born that way and others not?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:25,26.
Tuesday: 1 John 2:15-17
Key Idea: We must make a choice between loving the world and loving God.
Questions for Family Growth: Can anyone love the world and love God at the same time? Why not? How can we tell whether we love God more than we love the world? In v.17, who is it that "abides forever"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:27.
Wednesday: Matthew 26:36-46
Key Idea: We must make a choice between obeying our own will and obeying God's will.
Questions for Family Growth: Was it easy for Jesus to decide to go to the cross? Why did He decide to do it? What did Jesus say about His Father's will in Jn. 6:38? Can we make the same choice that Jesus did?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:28.
Thursday: John 7:10-24
Key Idea: If we truly want to do God's will, we will understand what God's will is.
Questions for Family Growth: What kind of person did Jesus say would know whether His teaching was from God? Is the person who says he loves God the same as one whose "will is to do God's will" (v.17)? Consider Lk. 6:46 and 1 Jn. 5:3.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:29.
Friday: 1 Timothy 1:12-17
Key Idea: If we have an obedient attitude, God will give us a chance to correct our mistakes.
Questions for Family Growth: What great mistake was Paul making before he learned the truth about Jesus? Did God excuse Paul's sins because he did not know any better? What did God grant Paul a chance to do?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:30.