Ten Questions That Can Help Us Discover God’s Perfect Will
by Pastor Gene
Zac Poonen is a former Indian Naval Officer who’s been serving the Lord in India for over 50 years as a Bible-teacher. He oversees a number of churches in India and abroad, especially the Christian Fellowship Centre, Bangalore. He is truly a remarkable servant of Jesus and a precious brother in the Lord.
Zac writes, “We are commanded in the Scriptures to pay close attention to ourselves and to our teaching … (1 Timothy 4:16). Our life and our doctrine are like two legs that give stability to our Christian life. Both legs should be equally long, as in normal human beings. [But] generally speaking in Christendom, we find most believers over-emphasize one or the other of these two ‘legs’.”
This is a keen observation. Throughout my 30+ years as a Christian, most of the believers I’ve encountered hold these two great aspects of the Christian life – doctrine and experience – in a false balance, significantly emphasizing one over the other.
The Christian life is certainly about doctrine, but it’s about far more than doctrine. The Christian life is also about experience – the experience of living out our faith as followers of Jesus. But it’s more than just experience.
To emphasize experience over doctrine is to forget that God must be worshiped in Spirit and in TRUTH. It’s to welcome false ideas about who God is and what He’s said.
To emphasize doctrine to the exclusion of experience is to forget that God has called us to be witnesses, it’s to forget to love as Jesus commanded us to love.
Doctrine means that we have right thinking about who God is, who we are and what God has said. Experience means that we’re living out the truths we’ve learned as witnesses to what God has done.
To have one without the other is a disaster. To claim that doctrine is all that matters is to deny what doctrine actually says: ‘Love one another,’ ‘Love your neighbor,’ ‘Love your enemies’ (John 13:34-35, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 6:35).
That’s why Jesus, in John 13:17, said, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Pure doctrine lived out in real time and space = a life pleasing to God.
And, after all, God’s people should continually see to find that which pleases the Lord.
Ephesians 5:8, 10: “… For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light … and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”
Toward that end, Zac offers 10 simple questions that we can ask ourselves as we attempt to discover the perfect will of God for our lives.
He writes, “When faced with an issue concerning which we are unsure as to whether it is God’s will or not, it is good to ask ourselves ten questions. As we answer these questions honestly, it will become increasingly clear to us what the will of God is.”
Well, I’m not sure these questions will definitively show us the perfect will of God in a given situation, but they will certainly help us to dismiss any imposters to God’s will!
(Note: There are no questions for reflections below because these questions are the questions. Take some time to look up the verses cited. And, by the way, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep a copy of these questions in your Bible for future reference.)
So then, here they are …
(1) Is it contrary to any of the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, or to the spirit of the New Testament, as far as I know? (2 Timothy 3:16,17)
(2) Is it something I can do with a clear conscience? (1 John 3:21)
(3) Is it something I can do for the glory of God? (1 Corinthians 10:31)
(4) Is it something I can do in fellowship with Jesus (Colossians 3:17)
(5) Can I ask God to bless me as I do it? (2 Corinthians 9:8)
(6) Will my doing it blunt my spiritual edge in any way? (2 Timothy 2:15)
(7) Will it be spiritually profitable and edifying, to the best of my knowledge? (1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23)
(8) Would I be happy if I were found doing at the moment when Jesus returns to earth? (1 John 2:28)
(9) Will my doing it cause anyone else to stumble? (Romans 14:13, 1 Corinthians 8:9)
(10) Do I feel free in my spirit to do it? (1 John 2:27)
Of these questions, I personally find numbers 3, 8 and 9 the most challenging. How about you?