Much of the will of God can be learned from His Word. But God wants His children to know His will in all things. He intends for us to have confidence when we pray and know that our prayers have power to produce results.
So how are you to know the nuances of God's will along with those aspects of His will that are clearly written in Scripture?
Something Paul wrote to the Ephesians gives us a clue: "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe" (Eph. 1:18-19, NIV, emphasis added).
The Greek word translated "know" in this passage literally means to see and understand. It suggests fullness of knowledge, not progressing or growing in knowledge. God's plan is that you will fully understand the hope of your calling, the riches available to you and His incomparably great power for you.
His method for fulfilling this plan is by the power of His Spirit, who resides in us after we are born again. Jesus said to Nicodemus, "'I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again'" (John 3:3). To state it another way, if a person is born again, he can see the kingdom of God.
The person whom the Spirit of God indwells has the spiritual ability to see. And seeing spirit-truth changes one's perception of material facts.
Jesus suggested to Nicodemus that the Spirit is like the wind. You don't know where it comes from or where it's going. You know wind only because of its effects.
Suppose, then, that a person decides he does not believe in the wind. This person will reach some strange conclusions about what is true. For example, he will conclude that trees lean over all by themselves sometimes; or that leaves lying quietly on the ground sometimes jump up and twirl through the air.
The person will ascribe power where there is no power. He will not understand that the trees and the leaves are responding to the power of the wind that is acting on them.
If a person who does not believe in the wind and a person who believes in and understands the wind look at the same scene, they will see two startlingly different truths. The first will see trees bending over, the second will acknowledge the wind.
Likewise, the person who learns to observe with spirit-eyes will look at earth and see as God sees, not as the world sees.
WHAT ARE YOU SEEING? To see as God sees requires spiritual vision. Spiritual vision occurs when God creates a picture in your mind of spiritual realities. In physical vision, the impetus for sight is light bouncing off physical objects. In spiritual vision, the impetus for sight is light reflected off spiritual realities. The light source for spiritual vision is Jesus.
His light illuminates kingdom realities. They register on our understanding and become part of what we know (see Eph. 1:17).
When you were born into the kingdom of God, the kingdom of God was born into you. Kingdom realities are within you, and Jesus is causing you to see them.
How will you know the hope to which He has called you? How will you know His riches which He has invested in you? How will you know His incomparably great power that is working for you and in you?
He will give you light. He will enlighten the eyes of your heart. Then you will know--see and fully perceive.
Through the steady discipline of prayer, spiritual vision is sharpened. The more we live in His presence, the more opportunity He has to enhance our ability to see and bring into sharper focus what we already see.
The person with clear spiritual vision will recognize dimensions of reality that are invisible to the physical senses. In the second chapter of Luke we are introduced to two such people--Simeon and Anna (see vv. 25-26,36-38).
Simeon had no distinctive title or position of leadership. He is described merely as a man in Jerusalem. We know that the Holy Spirit was upon him, and that he was especially attuned to the movings of the Spirit.
We know that God had placed into Simeon's life a clear mental picture--vision--of a future event. The Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah.
Simeon, moving in the flow of the Spirit, went to the temple, where he saw Mary and Joseph bringing the infant Jesus "to do for him what the custom of the Law required" (see v. 27).
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