On the subject of knowing God’s will, Paul said that we should not be foolish, but should understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:17). There is a starting point in knowing God’s will, and there is a continuation in knowing His will. If one does not have a proper start, he cannot know God’s will. But even if one has a proper start, he still cannot know God’s will if he does not have a proper continuation.
Was there one day in your life when you consecrated yourself absolutely to the Lord? I do not mean consecrating yourself to Him to be a preacher, but consecrating yourself to Him to do His will. You do not have to be concerned for what God’s will is; you only have to consecrate yourself honestly to Him to do His will. You must realize that you should have a direct relationship to God’s will; this relationship should not be affected by the brothers and sisters. If the Lord wants me to go to the east, I will go to the east. I will not be affected by any person, event, or thing. However, my eyes will not be set on the east, but on God Himself. The danger of God’s workers today is the danger of making their work the center. We cannot build up any intimate relationship with the work, people, or any event. We must be directly related to God and set our eyes on Him alone. The seven Spirits in Revelation are sent forth into all the earth, but they do not have anything to do with the earth. The seven Spirits are before the throne of God (1:4; 5:6) and are related to God alone. We must consecrate ourselves fully to God at least once, for the carrying out of His will. This is the starting point in our knowledge of His will. Without this starting point, we can never understand God’s will properly.
An absolute consecration is the starting point of knowing God’s will. But if you want to advance in His will, you must deal with all the hindrances. If you have any stubbornness, jealousy, pride, or petty problems of a similar nature, you will be spiritually sick and unable to know God’s will. If you want to stop your ear from hearing anything, there is no need to plug it with a rod or a desk; all you need is a little finger. The same principle applies in knowing God’s will—a little hindrance will stop us from knowing His will.
Once I was taking a walk with Miss Barber in a garden. After some time the two of us became tired, and we sat down on some chairs under a tree. She said, "There is a bright star in the sky, but I cannot see it because a leaf has blocked the view. Brother Nee, if someone comes and tells me many ways to see the star, I still could not see it even though the ways he said were good. The reason is that my position is wrong; I am standing on the wrong ground." The words she said that night are still fresh in my mind today. She explained that a little leaf could block the light of a big star. Many times, God’s will is frustrated by very small things. When you seek after God’s will again and again and are still unclear, you should not change the method, but change the person. If you find that you cannot know God’s will, it means that there is some blockage between you and God. It may be that God has spoken to you already, but that you are unwilling to obey Him. You have to remove these hindrances. After you have dealt with these problems thoroughly, you will know God’s will. In knowing God’s will, we have to pay attention to the person rather than the methods.
(How to Know God's Will, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)