Please just tell me what your will is!

Posted: 03/05/2011 in God
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Over the years I’ve treated God a little like a Spiritual careers guidance counsellor when it comes to seeking His will for my life. Set up an “appointment time”, pray earnestly about it, wait for His response, get frustrated when I don’t get a reply or get the reply I didn’t want, pray again thinking maybe He didn’t hear me properly or doesn’t care what I do.  It has seemed a complexity beyond my understanding and I think I’ve often made it bigger than it needs to be. I have viewed God’s will for my life as a complicated but neatly designed plan of everything I will ever do and have been so cautious of stepping outside that will. But with that view, where is the God that gives me free will? Are my decisions not really my own? I am learning that there is a difference between the will of God and the plans of God.

 What is the biblical definition of the will of God? It comes from the Greek thelēma meaning, what one wishes or has determined shall be done or choice, inclination, desire, pleasure. Mouthful? Basically God has a will for mankind as a whole as well as individually for every person that ever has, does and will walk on this earth. It is my opinion that it’s not His will that is different for every person but rather His plans. I believe His will is unchanging. Peter says that God’s will for mankind is that not one person should be lost and separated forever from Him (2 Peter 3:9). He made this desire (will) a possibility through Jesus. Jesus himself said that he came to carry out God’s will, that being that any person who believed in him would have eternal life with God (John 6:38-40).

So what about those who are believers in Christ, does God have a will for us? One of the only verses that I have been able to find (correct me if I’m wrong) that actually specifies what God’s will is, says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes 5:16-18). Tough call isn’t it, how on earth can someone do that? Well we can’t, at least not on our own. It’s with the Holy Spirit’s help just as Jesus promised (John 14:15-17).

But there must be more than just that, God having a will for us is mentioned throughout scripture. Paul instructs us to completely surrender ourselves to God, to not live as the world lives and to renew our minds and in doing that we will know what God’s will is (Romans 12: 1-2). But how? Again it is the Spirit of God that is in every believer. As we give our lives completely over to God, carrying out His will becomes a part of our everyday lives. We live according to that will often without even knowing it because we are living according to the Spirit. In his letter to the Colossians Paul says that it is the Spirit himself that “…fills us with the knowledge of His [God’s] will” (Col 1:9).

I read an article the other day by a pastor named Bill Johnson. What He said about God’s will was so basic and yet so astounding. He writes about the Lord’s prayer. Jesus says “…your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). Bill writes:

 “What is free to operate in Heaven – Joy, peace, wisdom, health, wholeness, and all the other good promises we read about in the Bible – Should be free to operate here on this planet, in your home, your church, your business, and your school. What is not free to operate there – sickness, disease, spiritual bondage, and sin – should not be free to operate here, period” (Bill Johnson)

 So rather than stressing ourselves out trying to figure out God’s will, we look to scripture:

  • God’s will is that no-one be separated from Him
  • God’s will is that we rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances
  • God will reveal His will to us as we walk in close relationship with Him.
  • God’s will can be accomplished on earth just as it is in heaven

That is God’s will! Fantastic, but then if His will and His plans are different, what about His plans for me? What about when I’m not sure what I should be doing with my life, whether to take that new job, go back to uni, move overseas, marry that person etc…? Ask Him. It may sound simple but His answer will either be yes, no or wait. “Oh but God what if it doesn’t fit in with your will for my life”? Go back to the 4 statements above. And after all that, I refer back to that well quoted verse “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). When I am in complete surrender to Him (which believe me has been a battle and often a daily thing!!), when I walk closely with Him – even if I don’t clearly know what my future holds or am debating about a direction to take, I have total trust in Him and a peace and confidence that my God has good plans for me! As I do all this His plans become my dreams and hopes and His will becomes my desire. I am just starting to learn that and can I tell you it fills me with freedom and peace about my future, whatever that might be.

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