What is God’s will concerning us? This is a popular subject of discussion and my pastor spoke on this topic recently. Much of this post will be taken from his sermon so I wanted to acknowledge him before I get started. It was a tremendous message and the absolute best presentation for understanding God’s will I have ever heard. As a result I wanted to share it with our readers. My goal is simple: to understand God’s perfect will for our life.
When we broach the subject of God’s will we tend to limit the audience to young adults; this is a bad assumption. God wants to direct our affairs from the start of our relationship with Him until He calls us home. As a result my target audience is every person who has surrendered their life to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ no matter your age or spiritual maturity.
God’s will is often considered this big mystery: it’s as if we have to pass a series of tests to become worthy to receive such a lofty prize. God is not hiding His direction from us; in fact most of God’s will is in plain view and is easily understood. If God’s will is difficult to obtain we are the ones responsible for the delay.
God’s Sovereign Will
We must start by exercising our faith. God in His wisdom will allow events to unfold that we do not understand. Why would a new mother and father have to bury their child before its first birthday? Why does a teenager, starting his first year of college, suddenly find out he has stage four cancer? Why did my own father die at the age of forty?
I do not have the answers to these questions so I must accept my inability to see the big picture; I must trust that God is sovereign and there is a master plan.
Why did I start with faith? If we can’t accept the sovereignty of God there is no use looking for God’s will. What would be the point? When we accept God’s master plan then we can turn our attention to where we fit in it.
Declaration: I believe God is on the throne and in control; He is sovereign.
God’s Written Will
God’s direction for our life will predominately come from the pages of His word. Resist having this picture of a lightning strike writing a message from God on your driveway. It has already been done; that written will for our lives is found in the bible. 2 Tim 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Contained within God’s word we find financial training, how to marry the right person, marriage preservation, good parenting practices, how to be a good employer, a good employee and even retirement advice. Yes, this book instructs us how to please God but it also instructs us how to get along with our fellow man, how to treat a leader, how to treat an enemy, how to build a nation and how to preserve one.
Do you want to know how to prepare yourself for life, how to conduct yourself and how to grow as a person? God’s Word answers those questions and many more.
God’s Specific Will
You might be wondering “Does this guy believe in specific direction from God?” Of course I do because I see examples of it in God’s Word. Our scripture text comes from the book of Acts. In chapter 13:2 specific direction was given to send the Apostle Paul and Barnabas to the mission field. Notice in the latter part of the verse where it says “I have called them”. God has a master plan.
Paul and Barnabas packed their bags and headed out. Now let’s skip forward to the second missionary journey where Paul now has a new partner, Silas.
The work continues from city to city and after several hundred miles they are given specific orders; Acts 16:6-7 where they are told not to go into a couple of areas. (Asia and Bithynia)
God’s specific will comes when we trust in His sovereign will and are following His written will. Paul and Silas were doing that so God only needed to steer them. (A body in motion tends to stay in motion.) O that God’s people today would do what they know to do so God need only steer us instead of having to, spiritually speaking, light a stick of dynamite under us to get us to move.
Now we have that big lightning in the sky moment recorded in Act 16:9-10 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
This is that big moment we all want from God and clearly our God can and does deliver specific direction by such means. We must be reminded however that Paul and Barnabas / Silas had put their trust in God’s sovereignty and they had acted upon God’s written will before they received this specific will.
Many will make this statement: “If God would just tell me what He wants me to do I will do it”. With all of my heart I believe God wants to tell us more that we want to hear it. So where is the disconnect then?
Please consider for a moment what God must think; He has provided us His written will and most do not bother to read it. When events happen that we cannot explain we question or blame God for allowing a tragedy to happen. If we don’t trust God’s sovereign will, if we don’t read His written will why would God bother to send His special will?
I have kept the promise made in the lesson title. An act of faith on our part plus a continued obedience to God’s word will result in the receiving of God’s specific will.
P.S. Happy birthday to the “Think on These Things” blog. The blog is one year old this weekend.