How to Approach God (How to Know God’s Will Pt 1)
If you want a life that pleases God and blesses those you love (and perhaps blesses yourself in the process), then you’ll love our new Date Night Advice (DNA) series in which we’ll discuss how to know God’s will, and we’ll begin with some coaching on how to approach God in the first place.
First off, to be frank, you can feel free to come before God however it pleases you.
- You can come ready to rumble, like Jacob, but in addition to a potential blessing you’re likely to walk away with a permanent injury. (Gen 32:24-31)
- You can come with resentment, like the servant who felt he hadn’t received his fair share from his master, but that ain’t gonna get you watcha want. (Matt 25:24-29)
- You can come with a superior heir, like the Pharisee who believed he had earned credit with God, but don’t expect God to be impressed. (Luke 18:9-14)
- You can come pretending to be whoever you think God wants you to be, like Ananias and Sapphira, but you won’t fool Him. (Acts 5:1-11)
There are many strategies those in scripture took in approaching God. However, if you truly want to know God’s will, there’s only one posture God prefers: a humble one.
“Humble.” Does that word make you bristle a little?
Maybe a lot?
Especially when you’re hurting, confused, frustrated, or fearful. When you feel forgotten by the God who said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” When your current circumstances seem beyond your ability to comprehend – or withstand – say like during a pandemic which has canceled all church gatherings and sporting events, closed all public meeting spaces (from malls to theme parks), and practically shut down the entire world economy.
It can seem unfair for a good God to expect humility in a time like this.
Regardless, if you truly want to know God’s will, you need to adopt a posture of humility.
It’s Hard to be Humble when You’re Hurting
Are you ready to humble yourself?
Perspective is a great place to start, and there’s no better person to teach us than the man with whom God was so pleased, He couldn’t help but brag about him. To Satan, no less.
And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” – Job 1:8
God not only loved Job, He had blessed him. Abundantly!
Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. – Job 1:9-10
And then comes the challenge.
But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. – Job 1:11-12
When it was all said and done – that is to say when Satan had done all God said he could do – Job had lost everything.
First all his wealth. Then all of his children. All in one day.
And a few days later came the boils. Over his entire body.
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. – Job 1:20-22
The Perspective We Need
If Job could declare, “blessed be the name of the Lord,” Why can’t we?
For starters, we need the same profound perspective Job had in regards to himself. He realized everything he was and everything he owned had been given to him. Life (and any good that came with it) was a gift. Undeserved.
Is that your perspective?
I’m not trying to belittle whatever hurt, loss, need, or fear has you longing to know God’s will.
Instead, I’m hoping to appeal to you that, no matter what your personal circumstances, the saints who have gone before us can relate to us, which means their lives can be an example to us.
And here is Job’s example after having a few days to ruminate on the seemingly unjust – certainly inexplicable – circumstances he found himself in:
“Truly I know that it is so:
But how can a man be in the right before God?
If one wished to contend with him,
one could not answer him once in a thousand times.
He is wise in heart and mighty in strength
—who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?—
he who removes mountains, and they know it not,
when he overturns them in his anger,
who shakes the earth out of its place,
and its pillars tremble;
who commands the sun, and it does not rise;
who seals up the stars;
who alone stretched out the heavens
and trampled the waves of the sea;
who made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;
who does great things beyond searching out,
and marvelous things beyond number.
Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not;
he moves on, but I do not perceive him.
Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back?
Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ – Job 9:1-12
So in addition to taking on Job’s perspective in regards to who we are, we need to take notes from Job on who God is!
You simply can’t hold onto the dual realities of how great God is and how ungreat we are, and hold onto your pride at the same time.
Did Job hold to this humility without wavering?
Not exactly. He had his pity parties, but who can blame him?
However, regardless of how “well-earned” your personal pity parties may be, you have to decide whether you want God’s pity on your life or God’s will for your life.
And the cool thing about Job’s occasional lapses in humility means we don’t have to do this humility thing perfectly either.
God is pleased by every attempt at virtue. At least if it’s done out of faith that He exists, and that He rewards those who seek Him.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. – Hebrews 11:6
Believe it or not, I get down on my knees almost every night and pray for those who read these DNA posts.
So join me!
On your knees!
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:6-7
God’s will awaits!
And so does the next post in this series.
In the meantime, get together with one or two faithful friends (maintaining safe social distance) and discuss these questions:
- Do you struggle to humble yourself? Why or why not?
- What lies do you believe about yourself or God that make it difficult to humble yourself before God?
- What Biblical truths could you cling to (and maybe even memorize) to encourage a humble posture in your life and in your relationship with God?
Our LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to grow spiritually and date wisely, so you can marry well.
This discipleship series is NOT for couples, but for the wise individual who wants to prepare for their future marriage like a successful career: intentionally, intelligently and IN ADVANCE!
This discipleship series is NOT about dos and don’ts. It’s about learning the life lessons, mastering the life disciplines, and making the life decisions necessary for relational success.
Check out all three study guides. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.
Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!