Determining Gods Perfect Will PT. 2
We want to continue the subject of how we can find the perfect will of God for our lives. This is so important, because, if we find God's perfect will, we can live the most useful life, any human being can ever live, on the face of the earth.
So we need to know what the best way to live on this earth is. God has made a plan for each of our lives. But you will never know it unless you seek Him for it. So, in our last study, we listed 12 questions that we need to answer, if we are to know God's perfect will. We saw two of them already.
Firstly, we need to ask ourselves this question: 'This thing which I am considering, this step which I am taking, is it contrary to any of the teachings of Jesus and the Church or is it contrary to the spirit of the New Testament, as far as I know?'
Secondly, 'Is it something I can do with a clear conscience?'
Let me say a word about a clear conscience. It is possible, sometimes, for us to kill our conscience. When our conscience forbids us from doing something, we silence our conscience by asking it to keep quiet and go ahead and do what is forbidden by it. If you keep doing that for a few occasions, gradually your conscience will no longer trouble you because you have killed it.
A third question that we need to ask ourselves is, 'Is this something that I can do for the glory of God?'
In 1 Corinthians 10:31, we are told, "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God." God has created us for His glory and our salvation lies in seeking to do everything for His glory. God has designed this in such a way, because that is the very best for us. Otherwise, we would seek our own glory and destroy ourselves. That is what is happening in the world. Men seek their own glory and their own in so many ways that they fight and clash with each other and destroy themselves. It happens in Parishes as well, unfortunately.
Supposing you are trying to find out a particular action, whether it is something that God wants you to do or not, maybe watching a particular TV program or going to a particular place. Here is a good question to ask yourselves, as it says the scripture that we just saw, 'Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.' Ask then, 'Lord can I do this for your glory? Can I watch that for your glory? Can I go there for your glory?' And if you find you cannot, drop it. Even if it looks very innocent, if you cannot honestly say that you can do that for the glory of God, don't do it.
A fourth question you need to ask yourself, 'Is it something I can do in fellowship with Jesus?
Is it something that Jesus and I can sit together and do?' Take for example, is it right for a believer to smoke a cigarette? Well, can you offer a cigarette to Jesus as well and ask Him to smoke along with you? If so, go ahead. Is it right for a believer to be drinking alcohol, particularly in excess? Well, ask yourself, would Jesus join you in such a bout of drinking? And if He won't join you, then you better not go in for that yourself. Is there a particular movie you feel like Jesus would go along with you to watch? Then go ahead and watch it. A particular program on TV that you feel is good, would Jesus watch with you? Then go ahead and watch it, otherwise avoid it. The Bible says in Colossians 3:17, "All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" Everything I do, I need to do in fellowship with Jesus Christ.
A fifth question that we could ask ourselves is, 'Can I ask God to bless me as I do this particular thing?'
Maybe you are in doubt, whether something is good or right or wrong. You are not sure. Maybe it is a borderline matter. Then you ask this fifth question to yourself. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:8, "And God is able to make all grace abound in you; that ye always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work," God gives grace and His blessing for every good deed. So ask yourself, and your conscience will tell you. Is this something, which you can ask God to put His blessing upon as you move ahead? If not, hold back.
A sixth question, 'Will my doing this blunt my spiritual edge in any way?'
We read of Paul advising Timothy (2 Timothy 2:15), "Carefully study to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." He is saying be very, very careful to always present yourself to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed. So, this particular course of action that you are considering right now, is it something that will (it may be good, it may be right in so many ways), blunt your spiritual edge. That means you won't be spiritually sharp if you keep on doing these types of things. You see, there are many legitimate things in the world like music, sport, or entertainment and certain good TV programs. There is nothing wrong in engaging in these activities. But, when these things are taken to an excess, man becomes a slave to those activities and he loses his spiritual sharpness. He is no longer sharp. And there we see how many believers have their effectiveness for God nullified by Satan.
A seventh question, 'Is this spiritually profitable?
Will it be spiritually profitable and edifying to the best of my knowledge?' Paul says, "All things are lawful to me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful to me, but I will not be dominated by anything." (1 Corinthians 6:12). He repeats somewhat similar words later where he says," 'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,'but not all things build up" (1 Corinthians 10:23). So the question is not whether it is lawful or not. Many Christians are always operating on the level of, is it lawful or is it not lawful, will God permit it or won't He permit it. I am not talking about God's permissive will for your life; I am talking about God's perfect will for your life.
God permits many things, which are not His perfect will. So, if you want to live in God's permissive will, just ask yourself is it right or wrong. Don't do anything unrighteous and don't do anything unlawful and you will be in God's permissive will. But, if you want God's perfect will for your life, you need to ask one more question: 'Is this spiritually profitable and edifying? Is this something that will help me? Is it a profitable thing spiritually? Is it something that will build me up, help me to be a better disciple of Jesus?' If you ask questions like these, you will find God's perfect will in your spirit.
Now when I say spiritually profitable and edifying, don't misunderstand. I am not saying that only Bible reading and prayer and going to Mass are spiritually profitable and edifying. We are creatures made with a body and this body has certain needs. There may be times that you need to relax. Sometimes just sleeping may be the most glorifying thing to do for God. There may be times when sleeping is the most spiritually profitable and edifying thing to do. Or, it may be some type of relaxation or entertainment - going to a picnic with your children is the most spiritually profitable and edifying thing to do. So don't think that it is only fasting and prayer and reading the Bible are the only spiritually profitable, edifying things. We need relaxation, we need a certain amount of rest and we need food to eat. There is nothing wrong with any of these things. Jesus slept, Jesus ate good food. So don't go to the fanatical extreme when you ask this question.
But here are good questions that you can ask yourselves and, as you answer them, you will know what God's will is for your life. 'Is it something that I can do for the glory of God? Is it something I can do in fellowship with Jesus? Can I ask God to bless me as I do it? Will my doing it blunt my spiritual edge? Will it be spiritually profitable and edifying?' Then you will know what God's will is for your life.