To successfully navigate God’s will, we need to recognize potential obstacles. Dr. Stanley examines some of the things we allow to interfere with our progress on the path God has for us. The effects of pride and sin, ignorance and doubt, mistakes or deferred decisions, and even our busyness will hinder what we accomplish and become for God in this life.

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male announcer: “In Touch”
with Dr. Charles Stanley,

celebrating 45 years
of God’s faithfulness

and sharing the gospel

Next on “In Touch,” “The Rocky
Road to the Will of God.”

Dr. Charles Stanley: One of
the most important subjects in

the Bible is the will of God.

And unbelievers sort of
scoff at the idea and believers

oftentimes ignore it.

But the truth is, every single
day you and I are either living

in the will of God or
out of the will of God.

It’s a choice we make, and it’s
a choice we make on the basis of

the decisions we face in
life, and we face many of them.

So, when you think about the
will of God for your life, you

think about how you go about
discovering His will, what you

do when you
understand what His will is.

Do you obey Him or do you not?

Or you just think about it?

Do you wonder why you get
yourself in trouble sometime?

And you think, “Well, if
I’d have just thought

about so-and-so.”

Very important subject.

So, what I want to title this
message is this as I thought

about “The Rocky Road to the
Will of God,” because it’s

not easy and there’s stumbling
blocks along the way,

if we’re not careful.

And what I’d like to do is
to simply tell you about the

obstacles and let you ask
yourself the question: Is that

why I’m not seeking the
will of God for my life?

Have I neglected one of the most
important aspects of my life?

So, I have a number of
points and I hope you

get them all down.

And so I want to
begin with number one.

One of the rocky roads is simply
this, and that’s self-will.

We want our way.

It’s a matter of pride and
selfishness on our part.

We don’t want to ask God
about a lot of things.

We just like to do it and then
ask God to bless it, but that’s

not His way of operating.

And people say, “Well, nobody
is going to tell me

how to live my life.”

That’s a very foolish attitude
because none of us, not one of

us is sufficient within
ourselves to live out

the will of God for our life.

Nowhere in the Bible does He
say it’s a smooth road,

but it is a rocky road.

To think there’s so many
stumbling blocks to

doing the will of God.

You face them on your job, you
face them at home, and you look

at your life and you think
about, how many times have you

stepped out of the will of God?

How many times have you
almost missed the will of

God for your life?

So, it’s a rocky road.

And I simply want to
mention some of those rocks,

and self-will is the first one.

A second one is the
influence of other people.

Other people are quick to tell
you how you ought to live your

life, how you can make
decisions, what your decisions

ought to be, how you spend
your money, who you marry,

how you raise your children–

they can tell you all
kinds of reasons of

how to live your life.

But the truth is, oftentimes
you’re listening to the wrong

voices, because God is willing
to show you what you need to

know about any area of your life
if you’re willing to listen.

They want to place their opinion
above God’s opinion, and they

say, “Well, listen.”

When somebody says,
“If I were you,” watch it.

They are not you to begin with.

They can’t be you.

They don’t know what God’s plan
is for your life and they

don’t know what God’s up
to in your life.

They may think that what’s
happening in your life is

terrible, and God thinks
it’s perfectly on time.

A third one of those
obstacles is ignorance

of God’s principles.

Naturally, you can’t walk in
the will of God if you don’t

know the principles of God.

So let me just mention a few.

For example, one of those
important principles to walk in

the will of God is learning,
listen, learning to wait on God.

God’s timing is a major issue
in living the Christian life.

And then a second one is this:
learning to trust God, leave all

the consequences to Him, which
is a foreign idea to the world.

What do you mean, trust God
and leave all the

consequences to Him?

That’s what faith’s all about.

We walk a
difficult road oftentimes.

The will of God is
never promised to be easy.

We’ll face obstacles in
life, but we keep moving in the

direction of obedience to Him.

And then, of course, one of
those principles is that God’ll

supply all of our needs.

Most people don’t believe that.

They think they’ve
got to supply them.

No, God will supply all of our
needs that when we’re walking in

the will of God, we’re going
to have everything we need.

And then, one of the other
obstacles is willful,

known sin in our life.

Now, you may want to jot down
these four things because

this is what it’s all about.

First of all, sin deafens
our ears to the voice of God.

When you choose to disobey
God, you no longer hear God as

clearly as He desires to show
you and to speak to your heart.

The second fact here is
that it blinds our eyes

to the vision of God.

We don’t know the will of God.

Willful sin in our life blinds
our eyes to the vision of God of

what He’s up to in our life.

And naturally, you’re not going
to be happy about your life if

you don’t know
where you’re headed.

Then the third thing is
it hardens our heart

to our awareness of God.

Disobedience to God
always hardens your heart.

And this is why people stumble
along the way, because they’re

allowing sin in their
life that’s a distraction.

And God’s best is ahead of them,
and they get sidetracked because

they allow sin in their life.

And then how many times have I
heard people say, “Well,

I just don’t want–I just
don’t understand why God

treats me the way He treats me.”

No, it’s how
you’re treating Him.

You’re not listening to Him.

You’re not obeying Him.

And things are not
going to work out for you.

There’s no promise in God’s Word
that He’s going to bless your

sin, your disobedience, and
your indifference to Him.

Life’s just not that-a-way.

And then, of course, sin
dulls our conscience to

the Word of God.

When people say, “Well, I
read the Word of God,

it doesn’t say a thing to me,”
it’s because you’re living

in disobedience to God.

You’re not listening to Him.

You have your own
mind and heart made up.

And when you think about
this, anything that does what?

Deafens my ears to Him, blinds
my eyes to Him, hardens my heart

to Him, and dulls my conscience
to Him–I’m in trouble.

And when you’re out of the will
of God, this is what happens.

You begin to sense that
something’s not right.

You wonder why.

Don’t look somewhere else; look
within your own heart to see

what’s going on in my own life.

Do I really and truly want
to know and to walk

in the will of God?

And then, of course, one
of those obstacles

along the way is doubt.

Because living the
Christian life is not easy,

it’s easy to doubt.

And when we doubt
God, what happens?

We make wrong decisions.

So, if I doubt Him,
what am I doubting?

I’m doubting–let’s think about
this, analyze this for a moment.

If I’m doubting God,
what am I doubting?

I’m doubting that God has
a will for me, personally.

He may have some general
will, but not for me personally.

Yes, He does.

I’m doubting that God
will make His will known.

We doubt Him because we
don’t have the facts.

The facts are God loves
each one of us individually.

He has a plan for our life.

He’ll walk us through that plan.

He’ll provide
everything we need.

There’ll be difficulty,
hardship, and pain

and suffering and loss.

And all of that, God will
turn for our good if I

recognize the source of it.

All difficulty and hardship
and trial doesn’t

come from the devil.

God allows things in
our life to do what?

To grow us up, to mature us in
areas that we’re not mature.

And sometimes people trust
the Lord Jesus Christ as their

Savior and then great difficulty
comes into their life.

Now, watch this.

That difficulty God
allows in order to do what?

Shape them, mold us, make us,
change us, eliminate stuff in

our life that
shouldn’t be there.

We take it all personal and
say, “Well, God doesn’t love me.

It doesn’t really work,
because look what’s happening.”

Look at the Apostle Paul.

Look at all of the major
characters of the scripture.

Think of the difficulty
they went through, all

of which God used to do what?

To accomplish His purpose
and to mold and make

men and women godly.

And remember, this
is always God’s goal.

God’s goal is not to please you.

God’s goal is not to
give us everything we want.

God’s goal is to fashion us like
unto the likeness of Christ.

So, when there’s doubt,
doubt usually heads us

in the wrong direction.

So, ask yourself the question.

As best you know your life,
are you living a life

of obedience to Christ?

You have the job
that He gave you.

You’re dressed like a believer.

You spend your
money like a believer.

In other words, your goal is
to follow the leadership

of the Lord in your life.

Could you say, “As best I
know my heart, I’m living

a life believing and
trusting the Lord’ll guide

me every step of the way”?

He wants to, He desires to,
He’s planned to, and the

outcome of our life is the
result of whether we

follow His will or not.

It’s not easy, because
there are many obstacles.

And that’s what I’m doing, I’m
just listing them, and one

of them is, we said,
feeling of unworthiness.

As Gideon–look at Moses.

When God came to Moses and Moses
listened at what God’s told him

He wanted him to do, he
said, “Mm, mm, mm, mm, not me.

I can’t speak, I can’t do
this, I can’t do that.”

And I wonder how many of God’s
servants stepped out of God’s

will early in their life because
they told God they couldn’t

speak, couldn’t sing, couldn’t
do this, couldn’t do that,

wouldn’t make it in that job.

Listen, don’t underestimate–
watch this carefully.

Don’t underestimate what He
thinks you can do, because

He’s there to help you get it
done, help you to become the

person He wants you to be.

So, don’t make decisions based
on how you think; make decisions

based on what has
God called you to do.

He’s going to do whatever
He knows is best for us,

provide everything we need
to accomplish His will

and purpose for our life.

Didn’t say it was an easy road.

And many people backslide.

Now, what I mean by that is
they just get back into sin.

They slip back into sin, and
it’s not so much a slipping

as a matter of choosing to make
a decision to do what you used

to do that God delivered you
from because you don’t think

you can be the person
God wants you to be.

But remember this: there’s no
place in the Bible where God

says as His Word that if one
of His children sins,

that’s it, finished.

No, what did He say?

“If we confess our sins, He’s
faithful and just to forgive

us our sins and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness.”

All along the Christian way,
we’re going to make mistakes,

and we’ll sin at times.

And God has given us the
assurance that He doesn’t

make us an outcast because we
disobey Him, because we

falter somewhere along the way.

We’re not all as strong
as the other person may be at

times; and so, we make
mistakes, choose to disobey God.

We pay the consequences.

What do we do, walk away?

No, ask God to forgive us
sincerely and honestly, and look

to Him to give us wisdom and
guidance and direction and a

warning in our heart
to avoid that sin.

God is on our side to enable
us to become the

persons God wants us to be.

And no–watch this.

You say, “Well,
suppose I sin badly.”

I don’t know what you mean by
badly, but I can think of a few

things, but let
me just say this.

You can’t sin so badly
God won’t retrieve you.

But you can sin so bad, heh,
you’ll wish you hadn’t, because

God has a chastising hand.

Watch this.
But you know what He’s doing?

He’s loving us
back unto His will.

He’s not going to cast you
out because you falter

somewhere along the way.

And then, of course,
one of those excuses

we give is busyness.

You know, I’ve just been so
busy I don’t have

time to go to church.

I’m, well, I’m so busy I don’t
have time to read the Bible.

I’m so busy I whisper a–
right before I go to sleep,

I whisper a prayer.

Busyness is a tool of the devil.

We can all claim busyness as
an excuse for our sin because,

watch this, we live in a world,
watch this, we live

in a world that’s in
opposition to who we are and

the kind of life we’re living.

We have a world that’s in
opposition to who we are.

And so, one of the most
important things we

do is spend time with Him.

It may be a short period of time
or a long period of time, but

all of us need
that relationship.

It takes, watch this, it
takes time to be a godly person.

It takes time to
walk with the Lord.

It takes time to know His will.

But it’s a rocky road, and if
you’re looking for it to get

easy, I can tell you
this: it doesn’t get easy.

Some things may not be quite
as difficult as others, but

there’ll never come a time in
your life when living a godly

life is easy and
you can just relax.

Next thing you know, you’re
being disobedient to God.

God has given us a life.

He’s given us an awesome life.

He’s given us the Holy Spirit to
live within us, to walk with us

every single day and to face
every circumstance we face.

Remember this: you may feel
like you’re alone,

but you’re not alone.

You may feel lonely,
but you’re not alone.

And when you look at your life,
for example, and you think,

“Well, what am I missing?”

Ask yourself the question: Are
you missing that precious time

He desires to spend with you?

To give you comfort, strength,
wisdom, guidance, direction,

support, help,
warnings in your life?

That’s who He is.

The Christian life’s not easy.

It’s a rocky road, but having
the Holy Spirit to enable us,

the presence of God in our life,
and all the promises of the

Word of God, and this handbook,
the Word of God itself, makes

living the Christian life
life at its best,

no matter what’s
going on around us.

Where would you place
yourself in the Christian life?

Would you say that you’re
living in the will of God?

That you genuinely, honestly
attempt to walk in His will

for your life each day?

Or you find yourself complaining
and moaning and groaning and

thinking, “Well, you know what?

What’s missing in the
Christian life?”

Nothing’s missing in
the Christian life.

Usually you can trace it all
back ultimately to, when is the

last time you sat down
and read the Word of God?

Asked God to speak to your
heart, show you

His will for your life?

You say, “Well, I don’t
even know where to turn.”

It’s amazing.

When you don’t know where to
turn and you turn some place,

you look down and–looks
like it’s got your name on it.

God knows what you need to read.

He knows when you need to read
it and He knows exactly what it

takes to encourage your heart.

So, ask yourself the question:
Are you satisfied

with your Christian life?

I don’t mean that you think
everything’s just perfect.

But do you feel
like you’re growing?

Then, I think of three things
that I think people fear that

they’ll miss it in
the Christian life.

Number one, they fear of
what God may require of them.

And so they think, “Well,
you know, God may call

me to be a missionary.”

Don’t be concerned about that.

“God may require me to do
this, that, and the other.”

No, watch this.

A loving Father will only
require, watch this, what

He knows you’re capable of
doing with His help,

His strength, with His wisdom.

Never require more than He’s
willing to enable you to do.

Secondly, a fear of failure.

Say, “Well, I can’t
live the Christian life.”

Well, none of us can live the
Christian life ourselves,

and we all fail at times.

We ask God to forgive us and
move on, but we don’t take it

for granted and we don’t do
it foolishly or haphazardly.

If–He says, “If we confess
our sin,” that means

if we agree with Him about it.

If we confess our sins, “He’s
faithful and just to forgive us

of our sins and to cleanse
us from all unrighteousness.”

Pick us up on the road of the
Christian life and move us on.

You don’t live in the muck and
mire of disobedience

and sin in your life.

You ask God to forgive
you and you keep moving.

No such thing as
a sinless saint.

We’re all contaminated, because,
listen, the road to living

the will of God is a difficult
road and we will stumble

unless we lean heavily upon
our Lord, listen to Him,

depend upon the Holy Spirit.

And so therefore, watch this,
this is God’s indwelling

Spirit within you to enable
you to do any and everything

God will require of you.

That’s God’s godly assurance.

So, if we fail,
it isn’t His part.

And He knows when we do
fail, He’s there to forgive us.

And so, we fear, for example,
of what God may require of us.

We fear failure.

Then one of the things
we fear is criticism.

How many times have you
disobeyed God because you were

afraid of what somebody may
say to you about your life?

It’s amazing how Christians
can become afraid of

other people’s criticism.

Watch this.

You live a godly life,
you’re going to be criticized.

You live a godly life and obey
God and attempt to walk in His

way and His will, you’re going
to be blessed no matter what.

God is on your side,
living within you.

And listen, God is all about
helping you, enabling you,

equipping you, entrusting to
you the strength and wisdom and

guidance you need to
live a godly life.

Because all of us shine brighter
when we’re living godly.

So, let me ask you
a simple question.

As you look at your life, it
is nobody’s business but yours.

Nobody else can read
your mind this morning.

Would you say that you are
walking in the will

of God for your life?

Now, I didn’t say
that you never sin.

I didn’t say that
you never falter.

I didn’t say that you
never going to make mistakes.

I didn’t say you had to
confess–in other words,

do you believe as best you
know your life, you’re

walking in the will of God?

Not the past, not what you’re
going to do; but do you believe,

the best as you know your life,
you’re walking in His will?

There’ll be times in your
life when it’ll be easier to be

obedient than other times.

There’ll be times when it’ll
be very difficult for you to be

obedient to God because of the
circumstances in which you’re in

that maybe you didn’t create,
somebody else did.

The safest place to be is in
the center of the will of God.

Nobody else can put
you there but you.

You say, “How do I get there?”

You ask God to forgive you for
your sin and you tell Him that

as best you know your heart,
Lord, I want you to govern my

life, guide my
life, show me the way.

And Lord, with your help and
strength and the power of the

Holy Spirit, I’ll do
my best to follow You.

You can’t ever promise Him
you won’t ever sin again.

You can’t promise
Him perfection.

You can’t promise Him
you’ll always do right.

But you can say,
“Lord, here’s my life.

That’s my heart’s desire, and
I’m going to trust the Holy

Spirit that you placed within
me and promised me the power

and the strength to be
obedient to you.”

Is that your prayer?

Father, thank you, thank
you, thank you for grace.

Thank you that You understand
who we are, where we are,

why we are where we are.

Thank you for Your
willingness to step into

our lives at any point.

Forgive us of our sin.

Cleanse us, stand us up again,
and move us on in

the center of Your will.

I pray that You have spoken
to every single

one of us this morning.

And I pray for that person who
came today who doesn’t even know

anything about Your will, who
never thought about that You

have any real personal interest
in their life, that they would

surrender their
life to You today.

Thank you for loving us, Father.

Thank you that You never,
never, never give up on us.

And thank you that the very
moment we pass on from

this life to the next, You’ll
be there, because You said,

“I will never leave you
nor forsake you.”

So, we say hallelujah this
morning in Jesus’s name, amen.