John Markum

Five Confirmations of God’s Will

FIVE CONFIRM“They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says’–when the LORD has not spoken.”
Ezekiel 22:28

We all want to know God’s will: for our lives, vocations, families, hardships, and relationships. Aside from what the Bible directly tells us though, how do we know what God’s will is for us? I mean, the Bible didn’t tell me which college to go to, that my wife’s name would be “Tiffany”, what to name my kids, or that I was suppose to plant a new church in Silicon Valley. How do you know for sure when God is telling you to do something? How do I know? How does anyone know? How can you know?!

Here are five quick principles to seeking confirmation regarding something you feel God is leading you toward:

  1. Consistent with Scripture. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) God doesn’t contradict what He’s already said. If what you’re considering to be “God’s will” goes against the grain with what God’s word clearly says, reconsider your direction. God’s will is always according to His word.
  2. Affirmation from others. God’s will for your life may not be popular with everyone you know. That’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying, is that God strategically places people in our life to help us see our blind-spots. If all the people you trust spiritually are shaking their heads, there’s a strong chance you’re attempting to move outside of God’s will. In Matthew 18, while talking about confronting a brother or sister in Christ regarding a sin issue, Jesus adds, “ that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’” God confirms His will through fellow Christ-followers. If there is an obvious lack of such, reconsider your direction.
  3. Clear direction. Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” God makes His will clear to us as we submit to His leadership. If your way seems very murky and unclear, it’s likely that God is not in it. And please note – there’s a substantial difference between clear and easy. Just because you know what God wants you to do, does not mean it won’t be a massive uphill battle.
  4. Motives in check. You must constantly be asking yourself the hard questions of understanding your own biases. I can convince myself that God has spoken or willed something over my life, when in reality “the Lord has not spoken” for me to pursue that. Much of the trouble we get ourselves into is for this very reason: we want something so bad that we convince ourselves that God wants it for us. This is why #2 is so important. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked – who can understand it?” This is why you can’t “follow your heart”… you must learn to “lead your heart.” Acknowledge your biases. Do what God actually wants you to do, and one day your heart will thank you.
  5. Faith is relationship-oriented, not task-oriented. Don’t you just wish sometimes, that God would drop a scroll from the Heavens containing specific, personal instructions for our individual lives and scenarios? I know I have. So why doesn’t God do that? From what I read in Scripture, God is far more interested in us knowing HIM, than in knowing His will. Don’t get me wrong – He wants us to know His will. But His much greater desire is that we draw closer to Him… and we find His will in the process. God is far more interested in who we are becoming than in what we are doing.

I’m going to say with a high degree of confidence that if you have none or few of these going for you, you’re out of God’s will. Or if you’re trying to manipulate the reality that you’re missing these five things, you should probably focus on #4 and #5.

However, if all five seem to be coming together in almost supernatural ways – you’ll know. You begin to realize that God seems to almost be doing it without you! You still have a part to play, and there may be a great deal of work to do on your part. But you realize that His will is sitting right in front of you. That’s when you know you’re on to something! May you find the pure and perfect will of God in your life – and may you more so find and know Him more personally and intimately than ever.

Pastor John

Before you know God’s will…

Gods willTherefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1, 2

Without a doubt, the greatest thing I get asked about as a pastor is something along the lines of, “How do I know God’s will for my life?” It’s a fair question. And it’s one that I’ve wrestled with most of my life, also. People have often asked me stuff like the following:

  • How did you know which college to go to?
  • How did you know Tiffany was “the one”?
  • How did you know God was calling you into ministry?
  • How did you know God was leading you to start a church?
  • How did you know God was sending you to California?
  • How did you know you were suppose to wear that shirt? (ok, this one, less often.)

Well according to Heb. 11:1, “knowing” any of these things is a stretch at best. You cannot “know” for sure anything God calls you to accept on faith. But the bigger reality check is that, despite all of the mystery and wonder we put to knowing the specifics of God’s will, what God really wants for each of us, is very clearly spoken to us in His Word.

No, God didn’t answer any of the above questions for my life in the Bible. He gave me answers to more important issues than the details of His specific will for the “what” to do with my life. He gave me the divine ways for the “how” I should live my life.

In Romans 12, Paul tells us quite clearly -even begging us- to submit ourselves as a “living sacrifice” to God, and that doing so is both “holy” and “pleasing” to God. When we do this, we live in such complete submission to the ways of God, that we understand this is our “true and proper worship.”

He goes on to contrast this way of living a life of worship by telling us not to be conformed to the “pattern,” or ways, of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This “transforming” comes from our regular submission in our hearts to God’s ways.

But we want DETAILS! How do I find the answers to all these important life questions?!? Paul tells us that as we submit ourselves as living sacrifices to the ways of God, then He will lead us into the perfect will of God. In other words, as I obey God in what He has revealed, He will guide me in what He has concealed.

God’s will is a subject too broad for me to understand in my own life, let alone explain it in yours. But what I do know is this: As I walk in God’s ways, I will always be in His will. That’s why Paul can tell us later in 1 Cor. 10:31, “whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” If you want something for reasons that give God glory, go for it!

It still might not work out the way you think it will. But Romans 8:28 reassures us that, “All things work together for good, to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose.”

When we were first telling our kids that we were moving to San Jose to start a church, my little girl, Kali, asked, “I thought we were going to California?!” I had to explain to her, “When you’re in San Jose, you’re in California.” The same is true of God’s will – when you walk in God’s ways, you’ll always be in His will.

So what should you do with your life?! Whatever you want to,… as long as you are doing so out of a love for God and a desire to bring Him glory. He’s got the details of getting you to His will under control.

Pastor John

Bullies, Flashlights, Fire, and Kali

What could possibly have come from the mouth of my precious little 4-year-old daughter, Kali? This story that she dropped on me and Tiff this afternoon:

Kali: “Mom. Dad. We have to go now!”

Tiff: “Why, Kali?”

Kali: “To get the flashlights!”

Tiff: “What flashlights?!?”

Kali: “The flashlights that the bully took!”

Tiff: <snickering> “Uhh, John? You might wanna hear this one!”

Me: “What is she saying?”

Kali: “We have to go to the bully’s house to get the flashlights back! Uh huh, that’s sounds like a good deal…”

Me: “Kali, how are we going to get the flashlights back from the bully?”

Kali: “We’re going to tie him up with the rope and throw him into the fire, and he’s going to get all burned up.”

Me: “WHAT!?!”

<Kali repeats, quite adamantly!>

Me: “Kali where is this bully?”

Kali: “At his house!” <said with an obvious “duh, Dad!” attitude>

Tiff: “And where is his house at, Kali?”

Kali: “It’s far, far away. We have to get a whole million gas in the car and go get him!”

Tiff: “Kali, we can’t burn up bullies…”

Kali: “Yes we can! We have to get the rope, and…”

John: “Kali, if we tie up a bully and throw him in to the fire and burn him all up, then we go to jail…”

Kali: <disappointed> “Ahhh…”

Don’t mess with my kids… They will straight-up tie you with rope and burn you! I laughed so hard at this today, but secretly feel a little worried. Just don’t tell Kali that. I’m afraid of getting up in the middle of the night with a horse head laying next to me.

Blessings (LoL),


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