Take Heed, CFP, Watchman Nee
The reason why so many believers make no progress in their spiritual life is either because they do not walk in God’s will or because they do not know how to walk in God’s will. They have in their mind so many thoughts—each seeming to be God’s will—that they cannot discern what is the right walk. Due to their not walking according to the will of God, their spiritual lives remain stagnant. To those who do not at all seek after God’s will, I would beg them to do so. They must not be independent and follow after their own will, for God is our Redeemer who has the right to have us obey His will. Indeed, this is quite proper, whether the matter be viewed from the perspective of rights or from that of love. His great love has so constrained us that we cannot help but seek to do His will.
For those who do not know how to walk in God’s will, I would ask you to pay attention to the following considerations.
(1) We must walk in the direct will of God and not in His permissive will. The direct will of God is that original mind in the heart of God which He commands us (or guides us) to follow. The permissive will of God, on the other hand, is that which He permits us to do after our (off times persistent) entreaties. Let us take the following as an example: The parents see the need one day of an outing for their children. So they take them out for a day. Days later, their children wish to take another trip because they love the beautiful scenery they witnessed the first time. The parents, however, do not see such a need. Yet due to their children’s persistent request and their failure to persuade the children otherwise, the parents finally permit them to go out a second time. Here we see that the first outing is the direct will of parents whereas the second outing is their permissive will. Many believers come to God asking—and even insistently so—for permission to do a certain thing, instead of coming to God inquiring if the thing in question is according to His will. This is truly lamentable!
* This message was first delivered in Chinese by the author at a Friends Revival Meeting presumably sometime in 1924, was later revised by him at Nanking on 4 November 1924 in preparation for publication as an article, and subsequently published in Chinese in Spiritual Light magazine—a Christian periodical which was then appearing in China. It is here translated and published in English for the first time.—Translator
A review of an incident recorded in the Old Testament will help us understand this matter better. In Numbers 22 we learn that the Moabite king, Balak, had sent emissaries to the prophet Balaam inviting him to come and curse the children of Israel. He promised to give the prophet great rewards, which moved the latter’s heart (see Jude 11, 2 Peter 2.15). Balaam indeed wanted to go, but having the fear of God in him, he felt he must ask Jehovah first before any decision was made. “And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people; for they are blessed” (Num. 22.12). This was unquestionably God’s direct will. Now after receiving this word from the Lord, Balaam ought to have given up any thought of going. But he told the princes of Balak, “Get you into your land; for Jehovah refuseth to give me leave to go with you” (v.13). How reluctant in sound is the word “refuse” that comes from the mouth of the prophet. It was as though Balaam had said to them. “It is not because I would not wish to go, but because the Lord does not allow me to go.” Whereupon Balak sent princes again to Balaam and promised to promote the latter into great honor. So Balaam came to God once more to ask.
How strange, Balaam! Did not God already tell you on your first approach to Him what His mind and will is? Why do you come to ask the Lord again? Do you think because you are moved by great honor that God too will be so moved? Do you think His will is subject to change? Do you not know that He is the same yesterday, today and forever?
Let us clearly understand here that if Balaam had really wanted to do God’s will, he should have frankly told these men on their second visit to him: “God already plainly told me last time that I should not go. So, please return. I will never go.” But his greediness so overcame him that he came and entreated Jehovah a second time. Then God said to Balaam: “Rise up, go with them” (v.20). What the Lord meant by His words was: “Since I am not able to restrain you, you may simply go.” Which thing the prophet did and went his way.
Now many today do not understand why the angel of Jehovah later came to block Balaam’s way to kill him, they not realizing that the way of Balaam was crooked before the Lord (see again 2 Peter 2.15,16 and Num. 22.32b). The same is true in the experience of many Christians today in their walk. They know already in their hearts that the Lord does not want them to do certain things, yet they still love to do them. And whenever opportunities come, therefore, they continue to annoy God by asking. Even though they may not do these things for a time, their hearts have nonetheless already departed from God. And if they eventually do get the Lord’s permission, who can question the discipline of the Lord which—as in the case of Balaam with the angel of Jehovah—may follow? For this reason, we must get the Lord’s “best,” not His “second best.” Whoever has a heart that is estranged from God and yet seeks the Lord’s will as a cover will be disciplined.
(2) We must not take any text of the Scriptures out of context. The will of God has already been clearly declared in His holy word. All who desire to know the will of God need only search the Scriptures and they shall know His mind on a certain matter. Many believers, however, will simply seize upon one or two verses in the Bible as the will of God for them and act accordingly. They do not seek to know how the whole Bible resolves this problem. This is most dangerous.
Please read Matthew 4.7, which states this: “Jesus said unto him [the devil], Again it is written, Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God.” “Again it is written.” Again! and again! The devil also quoted Scripture in his temptation of Jesus. Had our Lord been like many believers today, He would have thought that He ought to obey the word of the Scriptures which the Tempter had flung at him. Yet did the Lord Jesus obey? Not at all; for He is one who considers the teaching of the entire Scriptures. Hence He answered, “Again it is written.” For this reason, in our seeking to know the will of God, we must not pluck a text out of context, randomly choosing and accepting a single verse or passage of verses—in isolation—as the teaching of the Scriptures on a specific issue facing us. We always need to search out whatever other Scripture passages might teach on the particular issue or subject confronting us—that is to say, what further words may have been written on it. Let us never make a hasty decision. For just as in the past, the devil today often uses an isolated Scripture verse to deceive men, causing them to listen to lopsided doctrines and to practice many things against the word of God, thus violating His will.
Some believers have a strange way of making a decision—they basing it on a text taken out of context. They treat the Bible in the fashion of augury.* When something happens in their life and they find themselves in a quandary, they will place the Bible before them and pray, “O Lord, I am now about to make a decision on a certain matter, but I do not know if this suits Your will. I will open the Bible at random, and whatever verse my eyes first light upon, this I will take as Your direction for me.” Or some may say to God: “I shall open the Bible and whatever verse my finger points at, that shall represent for me Your will.” Still others will perhaps say this: “I shall now open the Bible, and the verses which I shall see above (or, below) my eye (or, finger), this I shall take as the Lord’s direction.” Such a manner of seeking the Lord’s will is full of error and quite dangerous to pursue. Satan can easily cause your finger to point at the wrong verse or turn to a wrong page. He has many means and opportunities to ensnare us in his plot. When you ought to stay, he moves you to go. When you should speak, he induces you to be silent.
* Augury: “divination of omens or portents (as inspection of the flight of birds or the entrails of sacrificial animals) or of chance phenomena (as the fall of lots)” (emphasis added). Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (1971 ed.), p. 143—Translator
In conclusion, using the Bible as a means of augury is already out of the will of God. It is very difficult and well-nigh impossible to find the Lord’s will through a means that is out of His will. We should never seek to know the will of the Lord in this manner. We ought to spend time daily in the Bible so that we come to understand what it plainly teaches on a certain matter. And thus, when such a matter arises, we will not be at a loss and forced to find a Scripture verse as the Lord’s will for us.
(3) Let us never do anything if peace is lacking in our hearts: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Col. 3.15a); “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee” (Is. 26.3). When we are confronted with a difficult problem and we do not know how to act in accordance with the will of the Lord, there is a good (though in and of itself not a perfect) way of guidance, which is, to discern if there is peace in our heart. If I do this or that and I have no peace, this shows I should not do it. The word peace here does not simply mean a kind of tranquil feeling. It means that there is an unchanging, proper tranquillity in our spirit. If a thing will cause you to lose the tranquillity of your spirit, it is better for you not to do it. Yet, this is not a perfect means of guidance. Sometimes a thing which ought not to be done gives you peace when you do it and makes you feel unpeaceful if you do not do it. Satan can easily play on our feeling, giving us false peace or false unrest in order to make us do what he wants us to do. Hence, in judging whether or not a matter is God’s will, peace is merely a partial consideration. We cannot solely depend on it.
(4) Do not look only at environment and need as an indication of God’s will. Many in seeking the Lord’s will depend on environment as their sole guidance. This will end up in confusion and defeat. Let us look at the story of Jonah. God’s will was for His prophet to go to Nineveh, but Jonah decided to go to Tarshish. When he went to the port of Joppa, he indeed found a ship going there. So, he paid the fare and went down into the ship to go to Tarshish (see Jonah 1.3). If the prophet looked solely at environment, he would certainly reckon his escaping from Jehovah as the will of God. Otherwise, how could there have been such a smooth arrangement? In the first part of verse 3 we read: “Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish”; and in the next part of the same verse, it states: “and found a ship going to Tarshish.” Not only was there a ship going there, it so happened also that he had money in his pocket to pay for the fare. At this time, therefore, the environment was fully in concord with his thought. If a Christian were to find himself in such a situation today, he too would consider himself to be walking in the will of the Lord. Will he not think as follows?—if I go about seeking the will of God in this way, I shall get the approval of my friends and relatives; thus I do not lose human affections and at the same time I can still serve the Lord. I need not spend lots of money and time, and yet the success will be great. The environment is so perfect that I can proceed or stop as I wish. Do not all these factors show that God is leading me?
Let us go back to the story of Jonah. Did he know that he was out of God’s will? Let me tell you, there are plenty of ships going to Tarshish. There is sufficient money to pay for the voyage. Nonetheless, neither ship nor cash can guarantee that your trip to Tarshish is correct. For the will of God is for you to go to Nineveh. Hence, in our seeking the Lord’s will, we must not look to environment alone, lest we lose our way.
Furthermore, the greatest attraction in environment is need. We may frequently reflect that because there is need in a certain place and because we are able to supply the lack, that that must indeed be the place to which we should go and render help. Suppose, for instance, that I lack some theological education. And suppose, further, that an opportunity is opened to me to provide this lack. If not careful, I might very well interpret this as God’s arrangement for me. To take the element of need in environment as their guidance is the common symptom to be found among the majority of believers when it comes to determining the will of God. Their slogan is: “This needs to be done, so I do it.” Let us remember, however, that “needs to be done” may not be what God wants you to do.
Let us look at the example of Paul and his companions: “They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden of the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and when they were come over against Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia; and the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not” (Acts 16.6-7). Before the time of verse 6 Paul and his friends had done good works in different places elsewhere. At these places many believers were edified and many sinners were saved. Now they intended to go to Asia (Asia Minor) because the people there seemed to have tremendous needs since many had never heard the gospel that Christ in bearing their sins on the cross had died for sinners such as they. Such great needs among these Asians appeared as though God was leading them to Asia. But no, that was not to be so. The Holy Spirit forbade them to go to Asia. Their thought of going to Bithynia was likely the same, and yet the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not to go there as well. In the light of all this, therefore, it becomes clear that when we seek to know the will of God, we must not depend too much on need that can so easily attract us. For in so doing we may miss the Lord’s will.
(5) Do not take the vision or dream as the will of God. Nowadays there are not a few believers in the Church who singularly trust in supernatural phenomena like this as guidance for their actions. They frequently speak of their supernatural experiences, such as when they saw the Lord Jesus and what He said to them; that on a certain night they dreamed of heaven and heard the Lord speak face to face with them regarding what they should do afterwards. Or else that they have had some strange dreams and received such and such interpretations as God’s way of directing them to do certain things. Many are the cases like this which can be cited.
Now I do not suggest that all these are false, but I do say that even if these things give us some help we cannot lean on these phenomena alone in knowing the will of God. This is because Satan is quite capable of deceiving believers with false dreams and visions so as to lead them astray from the direct will of God. As a matter of fact I know that many supernatural experiences of many believers are but the disguise of Satan as an angel of light. Not discerning the wiles of the Enemy, God’s children end up doing things that do not glorify Him.
We can learn a few things from considering a supernatural experience which the apostle Paul once had. “A vision appeared to Paul in the night: There was a man of Macedonia standing, beseeching him, and saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And when he had seen the vision, straightway we sought to go forth into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel unto them” (Acts 16.9-10). Now someone may ask, Did not Paul and his fellow-workers decide on the direction of their way by knowing God’s will through a vision? The answer is a definite No; for if you read carefully, you will discern that that was just not so. For, first of all, Paul was the only one who saw the vision, yet the decision to go to Macedonia was made by “us.” The clear record here is: “he [Paul] had seen . . . straightway we sought to go.” Their going to Macedonia was not caused by the vision Paul saw. Yes Paul indeed had a vision, but then he and the others with him were led of the Lord. All of them together were of one accord to go to Macedonia. They were not singularly guided by a vision or dream, taking it and it alone as the indication of God’s will in the matter. Moreover, the word “concluding” in verse 10 indicates the fact of them all examining the situation before the Lord and deciding together afterwards that God had indeed called them to go and preach the gospel to the Macedonians in Europe.
Hence we see from this that Paul and his companions did not move precipitously merely because of the vision; rather, they weighed the matter very carefully before the Lord in advance of their making the decision to go. In view of this, it ill behooves any of us to rely on these supernatural experiences alone; instead, we should carefully weigh and examine them before the Lord to see if these agree with God’s will. Only then should any decision be made.
(6) Avoid preconceived ideas lest you fail to receive God’s will. One major thing which believers when seeking God’s will must avoid is preconception. Having a preconceived notion about anything prevents us from hearing God’s voice. “I verily thought with myself,” confessed Paul, “that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 26.9). Such was the preconceived idea which Paul had had of persecuting the church in his unconverted days when he was known as Saul. He did not know the relationship between Moses and the Lord Jesus. He viewed the latter as a great sinner who had perpetrated a great sin against so-called Judaism. So he determined to wipe out this new religion. He went so far as to give his consent to have believers killed and to force them to blaspheme (see Acts 8.1, 26.10-11). He could do all these unrighteous acts with a good conscience. And why? Because he had thought: “I ought.” But he had been wrong. Formerly, he had thought that all he had been doing was according to God’s will, not realizing it was the very opposite. His mistake lay in his preconception and private idea. Because he conceived what he formerly did as something “ought,” therefore he could not receive God’s will.
It is highly natural for us to have preconception and personal opinion about matters or about doing things. We cannot forget the persons who hate us or the things we do not like. We are not willing to seek any solution as to God’s will by means of a tranquil and restful heart. We always exalt our preconception and private thought, interpreting these to be God’s will. Though we may discover our fault later on, it is already too late. Hence, each time we come to God, we must cast aside all our prejudices and ask the Father to guide us. Even if His guidance is totally contrary to the concept we have held earlier, we should gladly follow Him. Never let us plan and decide first, and then pray, using prayer as a pretence and cover.
(7) Do not be hasty, but wait. Some believers are so used to doing things according to their own idea that it is difficult for them to seek and do God’s will in all matters, both big and small. They are like wild horses without a bridle, and are thus uncontrollable. They may sometimes appear to be seeking God’s will, but before they get an answer from the Lord they have already taken action. How hasty is our flesh in doing things. It deems seeking and following the Lord’s will as too slow. When we seek the Lord for His will, we want Him to tell us right away, so that we may commence doing. No doubt our Lord would gladly tell us His will immediately, but for our benefit—because we are yet unready, or because the time has not come—He cannot show us His mind at once. In such circumstances, we must not be hasty, but rather let us wait patiently upon Him. He will reveal His will to us at the proper time.
How sad that in spite of our desire to seek the Lord’s will on a certain matter we do not seek to know how to wait. There is a timing involved. If we seek His will but fail to wait for the time He desires to reveal His will, such seeking is false and the result is nil.
In this very connection, let us look closely at an incident from the Old Testament. “He [Saul] tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither the burnt-offering to me, and the peace-offerings. And he offered the burnt-offering. And it came to pass that, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt-offering, behold, Samuel came ... And Saul said, Because I saw the people were scattered from me, . . . I forced myself therefore, and offered the burnt-offering. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly; thou hast not kept the commandment of Jehovah thy God, which he commanded thee: ... but now thy kingdom shall not continue” (1 Sam. 13.8-14a).
Seven days was the time period agreed upon between Samuel and King Saul. Before the seventh day ended, and seeing that Samuel had not arrived, Saul began to offer the burnt-offering. Yet just as he ended the offering, Samuel did come, arriving on time. Saul had rebelled against God’s will and was thus reprimanded: and all because he could not wait to the very end. It had appeared to Saul as though Samuel had missed his appointment, so the King began to offer the sacrifice towards the end of the last day. But as soon as he had finished offering, Samuel arrived. Israel’s prophet had not broken the agreement; otherwise, how could he have reprimanded King Saul and announced the judgment of God upon him? Saul was denounced because he was too hasty; he could not wait.
Many people act like King Saul. On impulse, they imagine they have to worship God in a certain way, they must arise and do certain work, or they should go to a certain place. So powerful is such inner impulse that they cannot wait but must act straightaway. Do you sometimes feel that a fire is burning within you which drives you to do something at once? You ought to go to sleep, for after a good night’s rest, you will find out if such pressure has come from God. Be at rest for a few days. During these few days’ quietness God will cause you to understand His will. Let this become a practice in your walk with the Lord. For if such a thought has indeed been injected suddenly in your mind by Satan, it will be calmed down after a good night’s sleep or a few days’ rest. Let us never act impulsively. Be very sure before any step is taken. Otherwise we too will be reproved by the Lord just as was Saul.
In sum, then, we should wait on the Lord and act only after we have His will. May God protect us from not being able to wait to the last, from not being patient to the end. Let us never “force” ourselves to do anything that we are absolutely certain of, lest we sin against God.
(8) Do not run ahead of the Lord, nor lag behind Him. In this connection, note the following portion of Scripture: “Whenever the cloud was taken up from over the Tent, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel encamped. At the commandment of Jehovah the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of Jehovah they encamped: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they remained encamped. And when the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of Jehovah, and journeyed not. And sometimes the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; then according to the commandment of Jehovah they remained encamped, and according to the commandment of Jehovah they journeyed. And sometimes the cloud was from evening until morning; and when the cloud was taken up in the morning, they journeyed: or if it continued by day and by night, when the cloud was taken up, they journeyed. Whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, abiding thereon, the children of Israel remained encamped, and journeyed not; but when it was taken up, they journeyed” (Num. 9.17-22).
Here we see a life—a corporate life at that—which obeyed wholly. Whether the Israelites journeyed or remained in camp depended entirely upon Jehovah. With no regard to place or time—whether it were morning, evening, two days, a month or a year—they only followed the will of the Lord. They neither went ahead nor lagged behind Him. They walked in perfect step with their God.
Yet many believers are not like this. Some walk ahead of the Lord. They have entertained many plans and plots and have now already made up their minds. When they contemplate doing a certain thing, they not only decide on doing it, they even know how to do it. Then they kneel down and pray: “O Lord, we have planned to do a certain thing. Please help us that we may succeed.” Though they confess God as Lord, the fact of the matter is that in essence here is how they pray to God: “Hear, my servant! I now have decided on doing a certain thing, but I cannot do it alone. My servant, come and help me!” How sad that many believers treat their God as a servant and know it not. If we are self-centered, it would be better not to ask for the Lord’s help lest we make Him our servant. May we not be so self-centered that we walk ahead and therefore ask the Lord to follow.
Some Christians, however, are just the opposite to these who walk ahead. They instead lag far behind the Lord. In whatever matter which the Lord has commanded, they hesitate to proceed. They view fear and excuse as signs of humility. They never finish the course which the Lord has assigned them each day. Such people act like Moses once did—who made many excuses and greatly hesitated to take up responsibility at the time he was called by God (see Ex. 4.1-17). May the Lord keep us from rushing ahead or lingering behind.
(9) Do not take a prayer answer as the evidence of God’s will. Once I asked a Christian, “How do you know this is the will of the Lord?” He said, “Because I have prayed and received an answer.” I said, “It is better you do it without prayer.” Why? Because what he did was against the Scriptures. Many believers think because they pray and get some sort of response before they act, that what they thereafter do is in conformity to the will of the Lord. This, however, is not so! There is no difference between doing a thing after prayer or doing a thing without prayer (unless in prayer one really comes to know the will of God). There are some people who surmise that the first thought or voice that comes after prayer must belong to the Lord. They do not know how easily Satan can play his trick on them at that moment and lead them astray. There are other people who fancy that the thought or voice which comes during prayer must come from God. How about those wandering and wanton thoughts that sometimes flood our minds during prayer? Can we acknowledge them as coming from God? Of course not! Hence we cannot assume that all which we hear and think during or right after prayer is coming from the Lord.
Some people conclude that a concrete, tangible answer they receive in prayer must surely be the will of God. For instance, I may ask the Lord to open a way for me to do a certain thing. And lo, the way is opened and everything is ready for me to take action. Under such circumstances as these, most of us would likely think that it must certainly be God’s will for us to do it. Now sometimes this may indeed be true; nevertheless, this is still not a perfect indication of divine guidance.
Let us take an instance from God’s word as an illustration of what has just been said. The children of Israel had lusted exceedingly in the wilderness for meat. The Scriptures tell us this: “he [God] gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul” (Ps. 106.15). Did not God hear their prayer in this instance? Had He not then performed a great miracle for them that they might have meat to eat? Yet He also sent leanness into their soul, because they were outside of His will to have lusted as they did in their repeated request for meat. How easily they might have mistakenly interpreted the answer to their prayer as proof of their having asked aright in the will of God—that it was indeed His wish to give them meat—yet failing to realize that their leanness of soul was caused by it.
The same could happen to us. Because we pray in the name of the Lord Jesus, we are heard by the Father. But let us here and now be warned lest we consider answered prayer as evidence of our being in the will of God. Sometimes it is better to ask the Lord not to hear our prayer that we may stand firm in His will.
To recapitulate on this point, let us not indiscriminately think that because we have prayed, that because we have received some idea during prayer, or even that because we have had our prayer concretely answered, we can therefore conclude that we must be in God’s will. Rather should we seek to know God’s will clearly before we make a move. Again let it be reiterated that we are not saying here that answered prayer is totally undependable; not so; yet what we are saying is that we cannot solely depend on it. Other factors need to be taken into account along with answered prayer.
(10) Do not be so stiff-necked or foolish as to wait for the Lord’s chastening before knowing His will. Many children of God are frequently out of communion with Him. When their “wild nature” is stirred, they walk according to their own mind. Seeing their wantonness, God is forced to use trial, affliction, even disaster to turn them back. Unless they witness the strong hand of God upon their life, they will not stop proceeding on their own independent way. If, for example, they decide to go somewhere, they will commence their journey without having first ascertained the will of God. They are those who have to wait till they are faced with a mountain without trail or a river without a bridge before they realize that God has not wanted them to go. In doing things they invariably fail to ask the Lord for His will on matters. They will not desist till they meet the heavy hand of God, either in being laid aside sick, in experiencing a surprising lack of funds, or encountering unexpected disaster. Such believers are to be most pitied.
We can use Balaam and Jonah once again as examples here. Not till he met the angel with the sword drawn did Balaam realize that his trip was not in God’s will (see Num. 22.31-34). He thought he could gain fame and wealth by taking this trip to Balak. So, too, in the case of Jonah: not till he was buried in the belly of the great fish did he repent (see Jonah 2). If we possess an instructed heart to seek the Lord’s will in all things, we will be saved from many rough and unnecessary encounters in life. How many are the trials, afflictions and sorrows that can thus be avoided! Due to our stubbornness or foolishness, however, these things come our way. Yet let us not think that such behavior and consequences belong only to a certain special group of believers. On the contrary, let us acknowledge that in our own experiences many times we, too, will not desist till God raises His hand against us.
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will counsel thee with mine eye upon thee. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding; whose trappings must be bit and bridle to hold them in, else they will not come near unto thee” (Ps. 32.8-9). These two Scripture verses plainly tell us that God’s original thought is not to instruct us with a strong or heavy hand. He does not want us to be ignorant like the horse or the mule which must be held in with bit and bridle; otherwise, like them, we will not know how to obey. His desire is to have us commune with Him, and through such sweet communion come to know His will and then do it. He promises to guide us with His eye, which means that we ought always to look at Him so as to preclude His having to open His mouth but can counsel us with His eye alone. How wonderful this must be! However, for the Lord to be able to counsel us solely with His eye, we must maintain such communion with Him that as soon as He commands we know instantly and follow immediately. We ought to so wait on Him, look at Him and obey Him that He finds no need to use bit and bridle for getting us to know His will.
The ten points discussed above are the key elements upon which all who desire to walk in the will of the Lord must take special care to ponder. Please notice that in seeking to walk in the Lord’s will we need to consider a variety of factors and not depend on but one particular way or method of guidance; otherwise, we shall fail in our attempt. In the event we make any decision before we are very clear of the Lord’s will, we should purpose in our heart to stop proceeding or to change our mind as soon as we discover it is not the will of God. But if we already know of the Lord’s will, we must not doubt or hesitate but rather press on and obey to the end, in spite of many oppositions or persecutions seemingly waiting to push us down. In so doing, we will discover that the afflictions and oppositions we anticipate are but the volleys lobbed at us by Satan ahead of time. In that case we can view them as empty threatenings; for as we move on in fulfilling the Lord’s will they shall all disappear. Then we shall realize how meaningless have been our fears and doubts.
Hence after clearly knowing the Lord’s will, we must launch straight ahead and be anxious for nothing. Though on the way there may be many threats, we nonetheless recognize that these are but the roarings of Satan. They cannot hurt anyone. Therefore, brethren, “Arise, and let us go on!”