NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passages: Esther 4:14; Acts 16:6; Ephesians 1:11
— How do you determine God’s will for your life? How would you counsel a friend to do so?
— What role do circumstances play in understanding God’s will? A sure-fire indicator? Irrelevant? Tool of the devil? Explain your answer.
— Will following the will of God always result in affirming circumstances? Explain your answer. From your observation, do you think most believers would agree or disagree with you? Why?
Food for thought with J.D. Greear:
“How can I know the will of God?” Though not necessarily stated the same way, that is possibly the most asked question in all of Christendom. We want to know how to discern God’s will. Some take a simplistic approach — if it happens it is God’s will. Some require a direct “word from God” where they can quote Bible book, chapter and verse that clearly answers their question. Some take the approach that God has given us minds and expects us to use them, so whatever makes the best sense must be God’s will.
Southern Baptist Convention president J. D. Greear, a pastor and author, explores knowing the will of God in “Jesus Continued,” examining the Holy Spirit’s role in revealing God’s will. Perhaps we all know Mordecai’s admonition to Esther, “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” Circumstances can point us to God’s will, but not blindly.
Greear offers seven principles for using circumstances to discern God’s desire.
1) Obstacles don’t always mean a “closed door.” Many a great work of God testifies to God’s overcoming obstacles, not their absence. 2) An open door doesn’t always indicate it is God’s will. Eve found some good-looking fruit and Jonah found a ship sailing in the opposite direction, but neither “open door” led to obedience to God’s will. 3) We can’t always explain what God is doing What follower of God has not joined Job in being fully baffled trying to figure out God’s will and purpose in the midst of devastating circumstances? 4) Following the Spirit means more than just reacting to circumstances. God’s clear instruction in Scripture still stands, regardless of our circumstances. 5) God works through even sinful choices in accomplishing His will. God’s promise of Romans 8:28 is not rendered null and void by our or someone else’s sin. 6) God’s work in your past hints at His plans for your future. He uses our past to prepare us for our future. 7) Trust the Shepherd. Enough said!
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.