The Will of God

Human nature is plagued with curiosity. We want to know about the future and how to get there. Some throw their lot in with “prophetic words” – a trust which borders on spiritual fortune-telling.

“What is the will of God for my life?”, you wonder. “Should I accept the job offer?” “Should we move on to a new address?” How do we know that the choices we make are within the will of God?

Can we know the will of God? Is it possible to know the will of God?

The will of God is not something mysterious which is revealed after ascending through different strata of spiritual accomplishment and high levels of holiness or duty. On the contrary, no Christian will ever grow in Christ without understanding what the will of God entails.

In seeking the will of God our focus should primarily be on how we now live as God’s children. Christians must know God’s will. Disobedience to the will of God is a terrible thing because “… that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating.” (Lk 12:47).

Where do we look for the will of God? David knew where to find it: “Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments” (Ps 119:66). We find it in the Word of God! It’s more prominent than you might think.

Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit

Christ came to do and reveal the will of God (Eph 1:3-5). He gave us the Holy Spirit to know his will (Jn 16:13). He also intercedes for us according to the will of God (Rm. 8:27). The Spirit understands God’s mind and plan regarding our salvation. This revealed will is therefore not concerned about future events.

In living according to the will of God, Jesus was submitting to his Father’s plan to redeem sinners; He agreed to live in complete fulfilment of God’s desires in order that His kingdom would come. “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn 6:40; also, Mt 18:14).

Christians and the will of God

The journey of Christians begins when they receive new life in Christ. Once out of their toddler boots, they must grow to maturity. They must “… be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col 1:9).

Christians must also grow in holiness, “for this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1Thes 4:3–5). This happens when Christians do not conform to this world but are “transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rm 12:2).  Nothing human, apart from the divine will, can provide the impulse live according to the will of God. It is therefore essential for God’s children to live in close contact with their Master. Prayer is thus indispensable, “This is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us.” (1Jn 5:14; also, Jn 9:31)

The Christian life is one of obedience; it is to follow in the footsteps of Christ. We must “… live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” (1Pt 4:2). That’s why John writes: “Do not love the world or the things in the world the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1Jn 2:17)

Living a life of gratitude to God for all his benefits is a to live according to the will of God, “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1Thes. 5:18).

Christians submit to Christ for the benefit of unbelievers, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” (1Pt 2:15, Hb 13:21). This attitude was present in the Macedonians when they served the Christians in Jerusalem with their love offerings, “… they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us” (2Cor 8:5). To live according to the will of God determines the way we fulfil our daily work, “…as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man…” (Eph. 6:6–7).

When the going gets tough and choices become difficult, they must trust God because “… for it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1Pt 3:17). In this race they need fortitude “so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (Hb 10:36).

What is God’s will for our lives? We need to stop looking over the rainbow where skies are blue. We must take up our cross and follow Christ (Lk. 14:27).

One last stern word from our Lord, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 7:21).

All in all, to know the will of God is to glorify Him. When our wills line up with the will of God, we understand that purpose why God saved us, is to be ready to do his will.

But, how do you know to make the right decisions? Pray about it, consider the impact on your family and your service in the kingdom of God, and ask your mature Christian friends for their advice. The final stage is to be responsible: take of all known circumstances, advice, knowledge, and insight in consideration. Only eternity will tell if you were right. But don’t rely on a prophetic word.

– Rudi Schwartz