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The Will of God

by Robert Kiser  
3/03/2010 / Christian Living


Christians often talk about being in the will of God. What does that mean anyway? Well it means to be actively following God's plan or purpose for an individual's life. As Christians we should always want that, but the truth is sometimes we do not. Now right about now somebody is going to ask why not? After all doesn't God have the best plan, purpose and intentions? Well yes, but that does not mean that it is always going to be pleasant. For example the Apostle Paul was called by the Lord to suffer.

Acts 9:15-16 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake."

The Apostle Paul is someone that we as Christians look up to, but his life was not easy in fact it was hard.

2 Cor 11:23-28
23 Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane) I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.
24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;
27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches.

Even though Paul suffered all of these hardships while he was in the will of God he considered it worth all of the misery he went through. Why? Because he was not focused on the here and now; he was focused on eternity.

2 Cor 4:16-17 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,

Now honestly if you knew that you were going to go through all of the hardships Paul went through would you rush right out and volunteer? No probably not unless as Paul you could focus on eternal things even during the hardships. Most of us in our inner being would say I do not have the strength to go through that. We would in fact be correct in that assessment. I suggest to you that Paul did not have the strength to go through it either. Consider what Paul said in the following passage.

Phil 4:12-13 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Paul's strength came from the Lord not from himself. God usually gives people what they need when they need it. He gives people strength during the trial and usually not long before the trial. Often to us as Christians it seems as though the Lord waits until the very last minute or from a human perspective until it is too late.

Being in the will of God does not always involve extreme examples such as we see in the life of the Apostle Paul. Being in the will of God is in fact something we should desire. The interesting thing is that many Christians also speak about the will of God as some sort of mystery that they are hoping to discover. So how can you try to be in the will of God if you have no idea what it is? Well it really is not as difficult as some may think. It is true that we do not know all of the details of his will, but in reality it is not necessary because God is sovereign. He can and does lead his children without them knowing all of the details.

Most of God's will for you will have to do with your relationship with him. Where you work, live or go to school are secondary issues. To be in the will of God is going to start with looking to the Bible for answers and obedience.

Mark 3:35 "For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother."

John 14:14-15 "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

To keep his commandments you will have to know what they are. You find that out by studying the Bible. A lot of the will of God for your life is in his written word. I remember a friend once told me that the answer to everything was in the bible. I objected and said that the bible did not tell me what color of socks to wear today. Mark laughed and said yes it does! He then gave a partial quote of Matt 6:25 Do not worry about what you will wear! Is not life more than food or clothing?

We need to seek the Lord in prayer and in his written word. Then let the Lord lead the way.

Matt 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
(The context here applies to food and clothing)

Ps 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.

The interesting thing about this passage is, if you really delight yourself in the Lord the desires of your heart will be on godly things.

Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Notice this passage does not tell you how he will make your paths straight or lead you. Your part is to trust him and acknowledge him in every area of your life.

How has God led people in the past?

God has led people in a number of different ways in the past. In Exodus God led Moses and his people in the desert with a cloud and a pillar of fire. God has led people in the Old Testament through prophets and signs. God also has led people using angels, dreams and visions. God has spoken to people directly and through others. There is no set pattern that God is limited to in leading his people. Yet we are to always seek God for his guidance.

God also directs us through circumstances.

For example the messiah was to be born in Bethlehem according to Old Testament prophecy. (Micah 5:2) However the reason why Joseph took his pregnant wife Mary to Bethlehem was because of a decree issued by Caesar Augustus that required everyone to return to their own city for a census. (Lk. 2:1-8) Joseph did not go to Bethlehem to be in God's will and fulfill prophecy. Joseph went to Bethlehem because he was required to for the census. Joseph was in the will of God without knowing all of the details.

I once drove from Oregon down to Yreka California to pick up my nephew. When I got there and knocked on the door nobody answered. Since I had already drove that far I decided to drive a little farther to hike around at Castle Crag State Park and then come back to see if my nephew was home yet. I started up a trail that crosses the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada. As I was approaching that intersection I heard a little girl screaming and crying. I started running toward the sound to see what was the matter. It turned out she was lost and terribly frightened. I spent some time talking with her and praying with her concerning the where about of the adults that she was supposed to be with. I then took her back down the trail to a parking lot where she recognized the car she came in. So I left a note on the windshield telling them they could find her at the ranger station. I then drove her to the ranger station and informed them that the adults could also possibly be lost out there. Later when I drove back to Yreka I found out my nephew was there the whole time. He was asleep so he did not hear me knock on the door. I am convinced that God had more in mind for me to do that day than to pick up my nephew or go hiking. The Lord led me to help a lost little girl. He led me there through circumstances. Call it a coincident if you want to. I have found the more I follow the Lord the more coincidences I have especially after prayer!

I have studied every passage I could find on the will of God and I can tell you with absolute certainty that being in the will of God starts with prayer, studying the Bible and obedience. Beyond what you can find in scripture such as where to work, live, go to school or who to marry has everything to do with asking him and obedience. Your understanding of all of the details is not necessary because God is in control. He is more than capable of leading you without your knowing all of the specific details. Learn to ask, listen, wait and follow. Is this going to sometimes be confusing or frustrating? Yes! Trust Him!!





ReasonableAnswers.org

Robert Kiser is the author of a few free pdf books and the ReasonableAnswers.org website.
His website explains and defends the Christian Faith. It also includes a section on Cults including Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses.

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