The WILL of GOD
It is common for Christians to wonder, and to ask, “What is God’s will for my life?” – “Should I marry so-and-so?”, “What school should I attend?”, “Should I take a certain job, or not?”; and the list goes on. There are no specific answers to those specific questions in the Bible (of course there ARE principles found in the Bible to guide you in all of those decisions!). But did you know that the Bible IS very clear in telling us certain things that ARE God’s will for your life and mine? Please consider the following:
It is God’s will (purpose, desire, intent) that you be “saved” –
In John 6:38-40 we read: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
We find this same truth clearly stated in what the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
It is God’s will that we gain understanding in regards to the will of God
Paul writes in Colossians 1:9-14 “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
In that same letter, in chapter 4:12, Paul tells of the prayers of Epaphras for the saints at Colosse – “Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”
John 7:17 reminds us that understanding often comes as a result of obedience, rather than understanding being a prerequisite for obedience: “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.”
Understanding also comes from being teachable – and preaching, teaching and discussion can all help increase understanding. Consider these verses:
The Lord speaks to Israel through the prophet Isaiah and says “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:18-20) The “reasoning” here is not about compromising, it is about understanding the will of the Lord and doing the will of the Lord and accepting the blessings of obedience or the consequences of disobedience.
“Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;…” (2 Cor 5:11a)
“And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 19:8-10)
God does not want us to be ignorant – He wants us to have understanding.
Consider the wisdom from the second chapter of Proverbs:
“1 My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
8 He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.
10 When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
11 Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you,
12 To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things,
13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness;”
Proverbs 4:7 echoes that: “Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.”
Paul gives similar encouragement in 1 Corinthians 14:20” Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.”
Matthew 13:18-23 warns about the dangers of not understanding: “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
How does “understanding” relate to the “will of God”? Please consider:
Paul exhorts us in Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Please read this portion of Ephesians 5:1-17 through to the last verse! “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “ Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
It is God’s will for us to rejoice, to pray, and to be thankful!
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 it is very clearly stated: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
In contrast, being unthankful is condemned in Romans 1:18-21 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Similarly, Paul warns Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
It is God’s will for us to be holy – and set apart for Him.
In 1 Thes. 4:3-7 we are exhorted: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”
Peter also instructs us in 1 Peter 1:13-16 “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and restyour hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you isholy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” This is a reminder from what we read in Leviticus 19: “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God amholy.” And also in Leviticus 20:7-8 “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”
It is God’s will that we obey Him.“Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.” (John 9:31)
“Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work”. (John 4:34)
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me…” “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word;…” “He who does not love Me does not keep My words;….” (Excerpts from John 14:21-24)
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
Can we say, like Jesus said, “nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” ?