Jun 30

Finding God's Will

Can you really know the will of God?

 Romans 12:2 says, “We may know what is that good and perfect will of God.”  Peter states that the distinguishing mark of a Christian is a preoccupation and a centering of his life on the will of God. 1 Peter  4:2 says, “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lust of men, but to the will of God.” 

It is the distinguishing mark, then, of a believer. If we say we abide in Christ, 1 John 2:6 says " we ought to walk as He walked".. Listen up! Jesus walked in submission to the will of God.  Is that your desire?  It should be if you call yourself a Christian.

 What is the will of God?  Let’s assume that we’re committed to it.  Let’s assume that as believers we desire to do the will of God. 

The next question that arises is can we know the will of God?  And there are people who question this.  Some people think that the will of God is a very elusive thing, it’s kind of like the brass ring on the merry-go-round.  If you get it that’s kind of neat, but if you don’t you still get a ride.  And you can live your Christian life without it. 

Other people think the will of God is sort of a mystery.  It’s sort of a foggy, hidden, secretive thing.  God is sort of like the universal Easter bunny who stashes it somewhere and runs around saying, “You’re getting warmer,” as we frantically try to find it.  Some people think the will of God is a trauma.  It’s something like running down the road and falling and your nose lands on a map of India and you say, “Yes, Lord, India it is,” or whatever. 

But people have strange ideas about the will of God.  Some a rather mystical visionary dream orientation, others as if God needs to speak with them out of heaven, some feeling it’s a traumatic event and most, I think, who believe those kind of things ultimately winding up with the sense of frustration and feeling that maybe they never found God’s will at all and they’ll have to wait to get to heaven to know the fullness of the meaning of life. 

But I believe we can know God’s will.  Let me tell you why.  I don’t think God wills things for us that he doesn’t make available to us.  That’s, to me, a very basic thought.  If God has a will for my life, then He will reveal it to me if I’m in the right place to receive it.  God does not purposely frustrate Himself.  And so people say, “I don’t know what school I should go to.”  Or, “I don’t know what job I should take.  I’m in the midst of making a major decision.”  Or, “I don’t know what girl to marry.  I’ve got six that are in line and I’m cutting them down.  I’m going to make a cut this week and we’ll make another cut next week and see who’s left.  But I don’t know which one, see?” 

Or, “How do I know whether I ought to move to another house?”  Or, “How do I know what I ought to do with this problem person in my family or what I ought to do to harmonize myself better with my wife or my husband?  How do I know what God’s will is?” 

The answer to that question is that God does have a will and if He does have a will that He wants you to know, He’ll make it available to you.  I really believe that God is in the business of openly, overtly, and clearly manifesting His desires for us.  You can know that. 

I want to suggest to you the things that are the will of God from Scripture, simplifying and reducing it down.

Number one.  God’s will is that you be saved.  That’s where God’s will begins.  Matthew 18:11 says, “For the Son of man has come to save that which was lost”.

Number two. God’s will is not only that you be saved but is that you be Spirit filled.  “ Understand what the will of the Lord is and do not be drunk with wine, in which is excess but be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:16. Paul says, “If you really want to fellowship with God, don’t get drunk with wine, be filled with the Spirit.”  Paul is saying, “Do not be controlled by anything other than the Spirit of God”.

Number three. God’s will is that you be sanctified1 Thessalonians 4:3 says.  “For this is the will of God - your sanctification.”  That means being set apart.  That means being pure, being holy, being righteous, being virtuous, being sinless.  God’s will is that we be pure, undefiled, unspotted, blameless.  That’s God’s will.  That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?

Number four.  God’s will is for you to be submissive.   1 Peter 2:13.  “Submit yourself to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake:  whether it be to the king, a supreme; or governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God.”  . 

He says, “Wait a minute, submit yourselves to all the laws of man for the Lord’s sake - ” not for the government’s sake, but for the Lord’s sake.  Why?  Because people are evaluating the legitimacy of your faith on the basis of your citizenship.  Amazing, amazing.  What kind of a citizen are you?  Do you obey the ordinances of man?  The king?  The governors?  Them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evil doers?  That’s the Police and sometimes the Army.  The praise of them that do well.

Number five. What is God’s will?  Saved, Spirit filled, sanctified, submissive, fifthly, suffering.   I Peter 3:17.  “For it is better if the will of God be so that you suffer for well doing than for evil doing.”  God’s will is that when we confront the world and they react to our message and our life that we may suffer.  And he says, “You shouldn’t be so surprised, for Christ also hath once suffered.”  He suffered. 

1 Peter 4:19, says, “Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful creator.”  And in 5:10 he says, “After you’ve suffered for awhile the Lord will make you perfect.” 

Sorry but a part of the growing of a mature believer is suffering.  It’s the purging of John 15, where the Word of God, and trials and circumstances strip off the  branches that retard our growth and dissipate our energy.  God has called us to suffering.  “All that will live godly in this present age will suffer persecution,” 2 Timothy 3:12 says. 

So, we have to face that.  We don’t look for that, we don’t relish it, but we’re willing to bear in our bodies the marks of Jesus Christ.  We’re willing to be bold and confrontive in the face of suffering.  We’re willing to say what has to be said no matter what happens.  And sometimes that gets a little scary. 

God’s will is that you be saved, Spirit filled, sanctified, submissive, suffering.  How about this?  One last one

Number six. Saying thanks.  God’s will is that you say thanks.  First Thessalonians 5:18.  “In everything give - ” what? “ - thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you.”

Is your heart filled with thanksgiving for every trial, every tribulation, every difficulty, everything that goes wrong as well as right?  Or are you gripey, grouchy, bitter, angry?  What is God’s will, do you know?  It’s these things, people. 

You say, “Well, Rick, you’re a big help. all you’re telling me is a bunch of Bible stuff.  You don’t tell me which one of those 6 girls I’m supposed to pick.  You didn’t tell me where I’m supposed to move, or go to school, or change my job, or how I solve my problem.  I feel cheated.  I didn’t get a straight answer.” 

I got one for you.  You’re going to like this.  You know, if you’re saved, Spirit filled, sanctified, submissive, suffering and saying thanks you know what God’s will is for you?  Whatever you want.  You like that?  Does that sound good?  Do it.  Whatever you want.  You say, “What are you saying?  That’s self will.  See?  I can’t do what I want.  I have to knock on a door and put out a fleece and - ” 

Wait a minute.  If you’re saved, Spirit filled, sanctified, submissive, and suffering, and saying thanks, who do you think is controlling your desires?  Take a wild guess.  God is.  And that’s why Psalm 37:4 says “Delight in the Lord - ” and that’s the composite of all 6 of those “ - and He will give you - ” what? “ - The desires of your heart.”  And it doesn’t mean He’ll fulfill the ones that you’ve generated, it means He’ll put them there. 

Listen up!  Once you begin to follow that desire in your heart, and if it isn’t clear yet, wait, it will be.  I found that always true in my life.  When we want to do something, and we follow that desire, then we have to allow God to apply circumstances to that desire that may alter it.  But at least it gets us moving.  You can’t steer a truck that’s standing still.  Right?  It’s very difficult.  Once it gets rolling, it’s easy. 

And so we move out on the basis of the desire of our heart and let God shape that.  The apostle Paul, Acts 16, he gets going and he says, “Well, we decided we’d go into Asia Minor.”  And the Holy Spirit said, “Nope.”  “So we said,  We’re going to Bithynia.’ ”  And the Holy Spirit said, “Nope.”  That’s south and north.  We’ve just been east.”  What is he going to do?  He never stopped.  The desire, he kept moving, and moving, and moving.  Finally got to the Hellespont and stood on the edge of the water and said, “Well, Lord, what do You want me to do?”  That night he went to sleep and had a vision to go to Macedonia.  And the gospel went to Europe. 

And if he hadn’t have done that and followed the desire of his heart to keep pursuing the will of God even though the Lord was directing him along the way by closing a few doors, if he hadn’t have done that, just maybe the gospel would have gone the other way and the Chinese would be the Christians evangelizing us.  But you see, to follow the desire of your heart you have to be open to the circumstances.

You see, that’s how God works.  Nothing mystical.  Is you keep moving on the desire of your heart, God will open the right thing.  I love this verse, Genesis 24:27, “I, being in the way, the Lord led me.”  


Pastor Rick

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