Being creatures to whom God has given the power of choice, we all have the opportunity every day to make good and bad choices in matters large and small.
Big & Small Choices
What is a big choice? What is a small choice? Does God care which route we take to a certain place or the time and place in which we do certain things? I'm reminded of the incident recorded in John chapter 4 where the Lord Jesus was traveling from Judea to Galilee. Verse 4 says that He had to go through Samaria. Was that the only route from the one place to the other? No—there was more than one way to make that trip, and the route He took on that day was not the preferred route for many.
So how did He decide which way to go? As the story unfolds, we find Him taking a rest from His journey at Jacob's well in Sychar. This was not an accidental layover, however, for the woman with whom He had a conversation at that well was just one of many people from that town who came to know the Saviour as a result of His stopping for lunch that day. His "small" choice of routes, and His decision to rest at a certain place and at a certain time, put Him in the right place at the right time to be a big blessing to the people there.
Does this mean that God wants us all to go to Sychar for lunch? Of course not. We each have our own spheres of influence and the Lord has different paths for each of us to follow. Consider Peter and John. Jesus gave Peter a glimpse into his own future, and when Peter asked what was in store for John, the Lord said: "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou Me" (John 21:22). Maybe the Lord has a different path for you than He does for your friend. There is a lot that we can learn from witnessing how the Lord is working in someone else's life, and we can gain great wisdom by marking the consequences that other's choices have brought. However, when it comes to the Lord's path for you, His word is: "follow thou Me."
The Deciding Factors
So if the Lord has different paths for each of us to follow, how can we discern what His will for our life is? Paul's prayer for the Colossians was that they "might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" (Colossians 1:9). The last part of the verse unlocks the first: How can we be wise apart from the Scriptures? How can we have spiritual understanding apart from the Spirit of God?
To know what His will is, we must be familiar with His Word. If we are thinking about a certain thing that is contrary to the mind of God revealed in Scripture, we need not go any further—His will does not contradict His Word. For other matters, our ability to know God's will is absolutely dependant upon the closeness of our walk with Him. As J.N. Darby has said: "There exists no means of ascertaining [God's will] without reference to the state of our own soul."
May we each examine the path that we are on in the light of God's will, and seek to be walking that path each day in such a way that He can use us for His glory.
—T. Don Johnson