1. The mind and the heart must be determined and sincere to know the truth.
The truth of God comes only to those who look for it. If one says he is searching for it but is slothful about it, then he is deceiving himself and will find nothing.
2. Both intellect and emotion must be willing to give up prejudices.
Almost all people have their prejudices about different things, but the simple analogy of a full cup that cannot contain anything more will suffice to explain why no one can be both full of prejudices and open to the will of God. Giving up one’s conjectures means looking at the big picture—to all aspects of a thing, an issue, or a situation.
3. Between intellect and emotion, the former must be superior to the latter. The intellect should moderate the emotion but must not discard it altogether.
Not because one part of a person is better than the other parts; it is the job of the intellect to gather information and to moderate the whole person through these concepts. Emotion is dangerous if not restrained properly. Too sentimental persons are equally too attached with the objects of their emotions. Personal belief is one of the objects of sentimentality (and even of idolatry); therefore, to make some space for the truth of God, one should be detached from any emotion-centered notions.
4. In times of mazy confusions, the rule is “Go back to the basic.”
Problems sometimes are very perplexing that we no longer know where we came from, where we are, and where we are going. The description, itself, of this situation gives us the answer on where to turn to: Go back to where you came from by redefining what you are searching for. Make it clear where you are now by reminding yourself about the reason of your pursuit. After successfully doing that, begin your quest again by scrutinizing the information that are readily available and getting whatever is not on hand that may help complete the picture of your condition.
5. The most obvious clue: If anything happened not according to your will, then it is God’s will.
This is the principle behind the ancient practice of casting lots to know the will of God. Some examples include the story of Jonah of Nineveh and the replacement of Judas by Matthias as apostle. So whenever things come to pass against your will, give thanks for it since you know that the will of God happened to you.
6. Forget stubbornness and be truthful.
If you really want to know the will of God, leave obstinacy. Insisting your emotional and proud ideas will only make you learn things the hard way, at best; at worst, will lead you to your total blindness. Be honest with your quest—it is God’s will you are looking for, not your own.
7. Do not be too excited or too depressed because of a new discovery or a change in circumstances.
Too much excitement will distract your aim and may lead to self-praising or to goal disorientation. Being overwhelmed by frustrations, on the other hand, may lead to hopelessness; to the betrayal of your own set purpose.
8. Trace your way back to the beginning. Analyze the situation from specific to general.
The key question is “In what situation am I now?” Think of the reasons why you are not satisfied with your present state. After gathering these factors, analyze each one about the core reason why they do not seem to be completely agreeable, until you come to the bottom line.
9. Pray constantly for humility, wisdom, discernment, patience, and faith.
One may use some or all of these guidelines in knowing God’s will for them, but the most important thing to do is to pray fervently, and do not waver. You need humility to accept God’s will which is often not easily acceptable; wisdom to know when and how to use your knowledge to help you in knowing God’s will everyday; discernment to distinguish which ones are coming from God and which are not; patience to be able to wait in God’s term; and faith to be able to leave everything to God.
10. Do good deeds; avoid sin and temptations.
Good deeds prepare our soul for receiving good things—that is enlightenment and holiness—and they help develop our heart to be trusting and courageous. Temptations, on the other hand, lead to sin if left unchecked; and sin sows in us fear of everything, including the fear of doing good deeds and knowing God’s will.
May 10, 2007