“I just want to know God’s will for my life.”
The reason many don’t know what is the will of God is because we think that it’s something unique and special for every person. They are looking for the special job, spouse, church, or life God has for them that He’s keeping secret. They’ll give themselves motivational talks using Jeremiah 29:11 (out of context) and never plant themselves somewhere because they’re always looking for this greater plan and greater will.
Knowing the will of God is easy because the Bible tells us clearly what it is. In the New Testament, the phrase “this is the will of God” is found three times. The verses are broad yet direct and they speak and apply to everyone. So what is the will of God and what does He require of us?
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor… (1 Thes 4:3-4)
God’s will is for you to be pure and to mature. He desires us to let His grace take full effect in our lives. He wants us free from sexual bondage, whether it’s sins committed alone or together. The process of the Holy Spirit daily moving us to be “holy” is called sanctification. Tim Keller said it best:
“To be holy is to be wholly God’s.”
Jesus wants partnership with us. He wants us, not just a one-time decision, but a life completely focused on Him. That’s why that in the process of sanctification, you become what you behold. The more we focus on wickedness, the more evil we act out. But the more you focus and look at God (whether by worship, prayer, reading His Word, talking to Him, etc), the more the Spirit moves and compels you to become like Jesus. These stirrings, movements, His compelling us is called His conviction.
Conviction defined is “the Holy Spirit asking you to say yes to what He is moving you to do.” Therefore the process of sanctification, of being continually transformed, is simply the process of continually saying yes to God.
Sanctification is about God changing you on the inside and it affecting the outside. The Holy Spirit moves your heart to forgive someone who betrayed you and you say yes to Him and forgive them. It’s not about a book of commands or a list of dos and don’ts, it’s about saying “yes” to whatever the Holy Spirit moves you to do. (Spoiler: All the things He will move your heart to do are already found in the Bible.) The problem with pushing commands down people’s throats before the Holy Spirit changes their hearts and compels them to say “yes” is — on our best day we’re simply robots (a cog if you will), not lovers. Every decision is a chance to show God how much we love Him in the arena of our life. Jesus gives salvation so that lovers could love Him forever (John 17:2-3, Psalm 91:14-15). He wants lovers.
I rather have an imperfect wife that loves me than one who does all the right things to where I don’t have to lift a finger…yet is doing it all out of duty and is completely out of love with me. No matter how good we act, we will be blown away by how much “slack” Jesus picked up for us. We don’t say “yes” because it’s the right thing to do or to fulfill a to-do list that keeps us out of hell. We say “yes” because we love Him.
Rejoice, pray, and give thanks
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thes 5:16-18)
These verses have a resounding theme. “Always”, “without ceasing”, “in all circumstances” are all words to describe what God wants from us: a constant relationship with Him. These verses are set up this way to show us that it’s quality as well as quantity that’s important to God regarding spending time with Him.
Many times I hear people say something along the lines of “God would rather you spend a hour completely focused on Him than a day randomly thinking of Him.” I can understand the heart it comes out of, but it is inaccurate. While God does want us to spend focused time with Him, however long it may be, He desires to continually talk with us and be in our thoughts/hearts throughout the day. 1 Thes 5:16-18 gives us ways how to make that happen. When we take rejoice, pray, or thank Him during our day, it keeps us connected to His Holy Spirit.
I rarely go a few hours without talking to my wife. How much more should I talk to the lover of my soul and savior of my life?
Be subject to governing authorities
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. (1 Peter 2:13-15)
I’ve talked about this before, but I’ll restate it here:
When we speak against governmental leaders, we speak against the people God put in office. Again let’s think about this. Paul tells them not to rebel or resist governmental leaders, the same leaders who would seek them out to kill them several years later. There is nothing a government can do that allows us to rebel or resist them except for the forcible command to worship someone else. Yet even in those cases, we aren’t allowed to get violent, but to meekly worship God like Daniel did in Babylon.
The Bible doesn’t say to pray for good taxation rights or for a good economy plan. It says to pray that we might live in peace and live in peace in a dignified way. Contentious activism isn’t what the Bible calls us to. It calls us to peaceful and dignified prayer.
So in summary, even if the government (that God appointed) makes a unfair tax or law that commands money from us, the Bible calls us to submit and pay it, all the while praying in a dignified way for their (and our) peace.
I’ve also talked about our response and our place in politics:
The problem lies in that no man or woman or group of people can help make America a theocracy, moral, or to love God. The only person able to do that is Jesus Christ and He will only do that when He returns. But instead of Christians crying out to Him for justice, change, and for Him to move on the hearts of governmental leadership, we decide to complain, whine, and backbite the people we elected to office. We, as the church, need to pray that the Holy Spirit would move and soften hearts of our governmental leaders. One encounter with Him and everything can change. For example, my friends and I pray that Jesus would meet with President Obama and his wife in such a way that he becomes the greatest pro-life advocate president in history. It can happen, if we pray!
So whether it be the president, or local government and law enforcement, we are commanded to submit and obey what they say. Peter says that if we would do this, it would silence anyone who would try to speak against us. Is this the true reason why the Christians seem to be attacked in America, because we’re not submitting but rather arguing with our leaders?
I hope this post has helped you see what the will of God truly is. If we do these things, then we are living in the will of God. It doesn’t matter if we are single, working at Target, going to a 30-person church in a town of 2,000 people in Kansas somewhere. The will of God isn’t based on any of those things. It’s based on the scriptures listed above, so be encouraged and live for the will of God!