So many times I hear people asking questions like, “What does God want?”, “What is the will of God?”, “Does God want me to do this or that?”….
Is it so very hard to determine the will of God? Oh, sometimes it is not obvious, when we are looking for a black and white description of what God wants us to do or not do in this particular situation. But there are principles in the Bible that tell us exactly what God wants for us and from us in every situation.
First, we must recognize that God wants us to be alive in Christ – to have new life, to be saved. In doing so, we must change from our sinful choices towards God.
18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
We must recognize that God wants us to become mature holy people who love Him and others.
1 Thes 4:3a
3It is God’s will that you should be sanctified
The rest of 1 Thessalonians goes on in detail about how to be sanctified.
God also wants us to be able to give thanks in all situations – this means we have to be content with what we have and where we are. This is not to say to not mature or improve ourselves, but to be content, satisfied, with where we are – even in the midst of suffering or of plenty.
1 Thes 5:18
18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes it is God’s will that we suffer for doing good, and according to 1 Thes 5:18, we should be able to give thanks in that situation. We need to be people who accept what God has done or allowed and be OK with it. Only then can we move on to be or do what God desires next.
1 Peter 3:17
17It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
It is God’s will that you obey those in authority, and we are to do good, do the right thing. We are to be concerned with the needs of others. We are to be self-sacrificial – to give of our time, our love, our material wealth. We are to serve.
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
1 Peter 2:13-16
13Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
16And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 17Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
We are to be self-controlled and at the same time filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit.
17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
We are to grow in knowledge and faith and become mature.
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
We are to be transformed internally, and this should be reflected in our lives. We are to distinguish good from evil and to live our faith.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
There are so many other principles in the Bible about what God wants from us and for us. But the ones I’ve listed will do for a start.
1) God wants you to love Him and love your neighbor.
2) God wants you to believe in Christ as Savior and so be saved.
3) God wants you to change from sin towards God.
4) God wants you to be sanctified, set apart, holy.
5) God wants you to submit to those in authority.
6) God wants you to be self-controlled.
7) God wants you to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
8) God wants you to be transformed so you are different than the world.
9) God wants you to practice your faith all the time.
10) God wants you to sacrifice yourself – to be a humble servant.
So if you are looking for the will of God in your life concerning a specific situation, take a look at the principles God has given us. Ask yourself these questions: Will this cause me or others to come to Faith in Christ as savior? Will grow my faith? Will this grow my maturity? Will this grow my ability to obey God? Will this cause me to be more like Christ? Will this help me live my faith? Will this prevent me in the future from being who God wants me to be? Will this prevent me from being sacrificial? Is this an obstacle to being who God wants me to be? Will this help me show God’s love, or hinder the showing of God’s love? Is this about me and my wants or about God and others? Is this about being or becoming who God wants me to be?
IF we can’t answer yes to those questions, then its probably not something we need to do, buy, say, be involved with, etc. Knowing the will of God is not hard. Choosing to DO the will of God, instead of our own, CAN be hard though. This is why the Bible says we have to practice being sacrificial and obedient and discerning good from evil – these things help us grow to maturity.
There are plenty of people who are NOT mature in faith in Christ. They were born and somehow never grew up – these are people who truly believe, but who do not read the Bible or pray regularly or practice what they know of God’s will. They might be old in years, but they are still immature in faith.
There are plenty of people who might LOOK mature but are really not even born. These are people who make a claim for Christ but who have no real faith and plenty of evidence they have no faith. They might know how to act in church, since its a social setting, but outside of church, it is obvious they have no faith. These people have what I have heard called a saying faith but not a saving faith. Its all words, but no true faith. Its nothing but hypocrysy – which is one of the things Christ hated about the Pharisees.
No, God’s will is that we be born again (the physical and the spiritual birth), that we become holy, and that we practice our faith, sacrificing from the heart, growing in maturity to become more Christ-like in our character, and sharing the love of God with others.