Tag Archives: God’s will

Jesus following God’s will

God’s will

Luke 22:41  And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

All throughout the earthly ministry of Jesus we see Him obeying the Father’s will.  Not once did Jesus ever go against the master plan set out by the One who sent Him.  Though it would cost Him His life, He followed through to the end, carrying out every single step that had been ordained.  He took His obedience to the cross, dying for the sins of man.  And He’s our example.

We can never be perfect, never get it all right.  We’ll never be sinless like Christ, following the Lord’s will in every single thing He calls us to do.  But that’s the point.  We can’t do it, so Jesus did.  We were never going to be able to live perfectly within God’s will, but Christ has enabled us to seek after God’s will in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Everything Jesus did, all that’s recorded in Scripture and all that’s not, was for the greater plans of God.  He knew that even though it was painful to bear, the will of the Father was for the good of all mankind.  He gave up His will for the Father’s.  And aren’t you glad He did?

Following God’s will

God’s will

1 Peter 3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

The “how” of knowing God’s will is most easily summed up by discussing prayer and reading God’s Word.  The “why”, however, is really the more difficult to fathom.  It isn’t enough to say “because God says so”.  Ultimately, that is enough because He is God and we ought to follow His commands, but the answer doesn’t satisfy us deeply.  We want to know why God has something specific in mind for us to do.

God’s purpose in all things is to bring glory to Himself.  That, to some, sounds very selfish and gives reason NOT to follow God’s will if He’s just going to be doing whatever He wants for His own attention.  They’d say, “If I acted that way, people would think I was completely arrogant and selfish and they’d want nothing to do with me”.  Yes, that’s true…but you’re not God.  You’re flawed and make all sorts of mistakes.  And when you want personal glory, it’s for the wrong reasons and without just cause.  God though, God is perfect and holy.  He deserves the glory and when He gets it, it’s for the right reasons.  It actually benefits us for Him to receive glory, it’s not just selfishness.

In fact, it’s better for us to suffer if it’s God’s will, than to do whatever we want if it’s not.  He has the best intentions in mind for us and knows exactly what we need.  He’s sovereign, but He’s good.  He’s not out to get us like some crazed egomaniac that will stop at nothing to see Himself worshipped.  He cares for us and loves us and that’s all considered as He wills certain things to take place.

Why should we do God’s will?  Because He knows better than us.

God’s will is good

God’s will

Romans 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 

What God has called us to do (His revealed will) and His plan for the world (His secret will) are both good.  This may seem like it is unnecessarily stated, but to many this is a worry.  Sometimes we shy away from seeking the will of God because we think He’ll call us to do something that’s harmful or won’t be for our own benefit.  In doing so we miss out on His blessing because His plans for us are for good, not for harm (Jeremiah 29:11).  We’re scared to do what God wants because we don’t view Him as good.

But God is good.  His intentions are good and His plan is good.  All things that take place to fulfill His will are good, whether it seems so at the time or not.  It may be painful for a moment in time to go through what God is willing, but ultimately it is for good.  With that in mind, it’s much easier to desire God’s will and to want to carry it out.  We can remain steady in the knowledge that He’s not out to get us and has a plan that brings about good and it will motivate us to take steps of faith.

If God calls you to something, don’t be afraid.  Follow His calling because He knows what the final result will be.  He sees what we don’t see and knows what we don’t know.  He’s powerful enough to make things happen and good enough that we can trust Him.

God’s will is carried out by us

God’s will

Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Here we break from speaking of God’s revealed will to speaking of God’s secret will.  This means not just the desires of God, but the plan of God that will come to pass by whatever means He chooses.  When we refer to the revealed will, we mean that God has called us to do certain things and we should follow them.  The secret will, however, describes the things that God has planned out before the creation of the world, the events and occurrences that He determines.

God generally carries out His will by means of people.  While He has all the power to just make things happen on His own, He acts as more of a conductor who orchestrates the events rather than just making them happen by supernatural methods.  We have choices in life and those choices lead to consequences.  God sees to it that whatever the outcome, it coincides with someone else’s choice to bring about what He wills.  Though He typically doesn’t force our hand, He does make things happen through our actions. And yes, at times He does intervene to provide the proper choices are made.  This is hard to grasp, but consider the many accounts in the Bible where God stepped into a situation to bring about a particular result.

When we follow God’s (revealed) will, we work towards His (secret) will.  Doing what He calls us to do leads to us playing a part in His plan, not only for our own lives, but in the overall plan He has.

What is God’s will?

God’s will

Romans 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be 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.

We Christians speak a lot about “God’s will”, but what does that even mean?  What does it mean to do God’s will?  Is this some sort of mysterious code language for something?  Or is it a very real thing that we can know and follow?

First, there are two types of God’s will:  His “revealed” or moral will and His “secret” will, or providential government of all things.  The differences between the two are best left to a Bible study rather than a devotion, but we will be speaking of the revealed will for our purposes.  This is what God wants of us or expects of us.  When we speak of looking for God’s will in our lives, this is the “revealed” will He has spelled out for us in His Word.

We may tend to think of what God wants from us personally as His will for us, but we sometimes overlook the will He has in general.  Because of this tendency, we may look for specific signs or circumstances that will tell us what God wants from us or what our next move should be.  It may be that He will give us those signs, but most often, whatever the issue is, God has already spoken on the matter in His revelation to man, the Bible.  If we’ll look there first, we’ll often find what God’s will is in the area we’re seeking answers.

Many people spent much of their time keeping their eyes open for the signs they’re expecting and yet skip right past the Bible as a means for finding out God’s will for their life.  We ought to first check God’s Word before looking for signs.  Let the Holy Spirit do the discerning.  The answer is likely right in front of us if we’d only stop looking so hard.

Our inheritance, and His

Ephesians 1:11-12 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

We have obtained an inheritance through Christ.  We have “been chosen as an inheritance” for Him.  In Christ, we receive God as our inheritance and we become His.  Our relationship with Him is reconciled in full.  Everything that is His, becomes ours, for the glory of God.

 

What are the implications here?  We’re in Christ, God is our inheritance and we are His.  What does that mean?  We get some help with this question from Moses and from Paul.  In Deuteronomy 32:9, we learn that God’s portion is His people.  This passage is speaking of His chosen people, Israel, of the Old Testament. But in Christ even the Gentiles have become God’s people[1]. We’re in God’s family now.  We belong to Him as His people.

 

Romans 8:14-17 explains that we have been given the Holy Spirit and become heirs with Christ.  All that is His will be ours as well.  The purpose of this, of course, is to bring glory to God.  He works all things – our circumstances, our talents, our relationships, our choices – to the purpose of His will.  This is what it is to be His and have Him as ours.

We are called to be the praise to God’s glory with our lives.



[1]   (Romans 11:11)

Praying God’s Will

There are many reasons to pray and we are to pray without ceasing, but in some situations we pray for things that God has already answered. Probably the most prayed-for thing that we seek with the wrong intentions is God’s will. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek His will, just that sometimes we already know it and pray anyway, hoping God will change His mind or even His character.

The best place to find God’s will for us is in the Bible. There are many things for which we seek answers that have already been answered in God’s Word. Before praying for God’s will concerning the relationship you’re about to enter with a married person, consider that He has already spoken on this matter (Exodus 20:14). The same can be said of many decisions we face.

That all being said, if the will of God really is in question and isn’t quite clear, of course prayer should be our first action. It’s never a bad thing to talk to the Lord before making a decision. Just make sure you’re not asking Him to bend to your will rather than truly seeking His.

Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?

 

For as beautiful as faith is, for as wondrous as the hope that it brings can be, the devout and determined Disciple meets with challenges to it daily.

I sat across from a friend recently, and I had to ask, “How is your faith?” I could hear it in his voice, the pain and the struggle. Life, it gets hard for all of us, and in those moments as we feel the weight of it bearing down on us, we can’t help but wonder to ourselves. We feel angry but once the anger subsides, as the fairness, or lack thereof, of it weighs down on us, it turns to a sort of quiet depression as we try to figure out what’s the point of trying when all trying seems to do is lead to disappointment.

After a brief moment of silence he met my eyes, and with a slight sigh, shrugged as he answered, “Not as strong as it used to be…”

His problem, his challenge, the question that lingered on his mind was a simple one, one that we all perhaps battle with now and then, but that we don’t give much thought to during the good times in our lives when things seem simple and easy for us. When the rough times come though, it plagues us as we try to hold on to our faith while remaining a good person, while trying to live the life that we know we should live.

“Why do bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people?” That was the sum of his problem, the one question that he couldn’t quite wrap his head around. The truth is that I’ve been there, I’ve toiled and struggled with the same question, with the same thought rolling around my mind. I’ve wondered why and how a loving God, a caring God, one who is meant to draw His children so near could let them slip so far away from Him. In the depths of depression I wondered how He could be so far removed from the toils of us mere mortals He so loved, that He loved so dearly that He gave His only Son as a sacrifice for. (John 3:16)

The question though answers itself. Yes, it seems as if “good things happen to bad people” while “bad things happen to good people” but the question of why that is the case isn’t so much a mystery, or at the very least, isn’t as big of a mystery as we perhaps let it become in our own minds.

Let’s consider, for a moment, the nature of this world. Despite the imperfections of it, despite our own imperfections, God is not removed from us, nor is He, even in His own perfections, distant from this world. (Romans 3:22-24) Yet in this He warns us that this world that we live in, because of its flawed nature, is going to be a battleground, it is going to be a place of a deep and lasting spiritual warfare. The temptation of Christ (Luke 4:1-13) itself is very telling of just that, not just because our blessed Savior faced the challenge of the sin and the Devil as we did but because he tempted Him in every way he knew would possibly make Him stumble.

This is what he does with us. He looks into our hearts, he examines and he explores our spirits and our souls, searching them for the weaknesses that we have, for those small shreds of self-doubt, for those little bits of vanity, for any piece of pettiness or pain that might plague us. He uses them against us, he turns them against us, to swallow us whole in them and thus devour us himself. (1Peter 5:8)

Why though would he use such tactics against “The Bad” when he knows already that he has won with them? Why would he use them against “The Bad” when he can hold them up as an example of the good things that can happen if you just succumb to temptation and yield to him, relenting in your effort to try and live that good life, that righteous life you have been called to? This is a weapon in his arsenal that he uses to wage his war, that he uses to win his battles and he is going to use it against the faithful Disciple in order to try and win that they may fall on the fields amidst their struggles and their wounds.

Our Heavenly Father, He does not abandon us during these challenges (Joshua 1:5) regardless of how distant He may feel. He arms us that we can stand (Ephesians 6:10-18) knowing that, through Christ, we can find the strength we need to stand triumphant in all the battles, in all the adversity that we may face. (Romans 8:37) This is the promise He has made to us in the love that He has for us, and it is never removed from our lives even as our old and ancient Adversary seeks to put a wall between us and Him that we may not gaze upon the love that He has for us in the faith He has granted us.

It isn’t a question of God’s grace or even a question of faith, but rather a question of how you stand, how you push back when you feel the weight of your enemy, the weight of someone trying so hard to steal your peace from you. Good things may happen to bad people and bad things may happen to good people in this world, but the real victory, it comes not just from knowing this but knowing that the truest rewards, they come to those who accept that and live with faith, hope and love in their hearts, refusing to let this have any power over them, understanding that the real power comes from the blessing they can be despite it all as they hold fast to the wondrous miracle of grace in their life.

God is there for you, He always has been and He always will be. This is His promise to you, hold fast to it in the love that He has for you and you will stand firm against the challenges that this world has, refusing to let imperfect notions, thoughts and understandings create imperfections within you.

We have obtained an inheritance

Ephesians 1:11-12 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

God’s promises are going to be fulfilled.  There’s no chance, none whatsoever, that He’ll go back on anything He’s promised.  You and I have been granted an inheritance, and just like an inheritance would be from an earthly family member, it’s documented.

From eternity, before there was such a thing as time, the Father had a plan for those whom He would love and call to be His own. To the adopted sons of God, there is an inheritance that includes everything that a true son would be entitled to.

The Son of God obtained for us this right to be called sons of God (John 1:12) ourselves. Now we’re coheirs with Him (Romans 8:17), sharing in every blessing. This hope we have that we’ll receive this inheritance brings glory to the Lord. Those blessings that we cannot see today, we’ll see later, when we can better understand and better enjoy. He’ll see to it. He’ll fulfill every promise.

 

The mystery of His will

Ephesians 1:9-10 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

The one really liberating thing about following God is knowing that He can be trusted.  He’s had this master plan from before time even began and He’s working it out.  He set things in motion and to this day the stage we find ourselves on in life is still part of the story.

Along the way, God will reveal to us the mysteries of His will, but never too much and never at the wrong time.  We’re often so quick to question Him and demand to know what’s going on, but to be honest if we really knew it all we wouldn’t be able to handle it.  His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8).

When it all plays out, this grand plan of His, all things will come together as they must. The timing will be perfect and the outcome will be just as it should.  The momentary afflictions we face in this life will seem like nothing in comparison to the glory that will be revealed at that time (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Take heart, trust in the Father to bring things to completion. And remember, He loves you.