Discovering the Will of God
If we were to pause for just a brief moment and listen to the conversations in our churches, what would we find? Friends will be joyfully catching up with one another; fellow believers who weep and mourn together over a life event being endured; or perhaps a time of counseling between leaders and attenders. In those conversations, I suspect that you would find the theme of each topic, both directly and indirectly, is the will of God.
You will find people teaching others the will of God, while others are questioning why God’s will is what it is, and still more are searching for the will of God. Why is the will of God so difficult for us to find? Why is it so misunderstood? Probably because we don’t understand what the will of God is.
Defining the Will of God
The will of God for many of us is an obscure thing. It is something mystical that cannot be grasped or understood, but is simply something one is compelled to do because they ‘feel’ they are supposed to. But this kind of theology about the will of God finds itself with the following problems:
- It is motivated by personal head knowledge of the situation alone.
- It is motivated by personal desire within the situation alone.
- It is motivated by personal circumstances within the situation alone.
When one claims to be doing the will of God based on a ‘feeling’ that is apart from any counsel of the Word of God, it becomes motivated by self and not by God.
Quite simply, the will of God is the plan of God. When Christ teaches how to pray, he includes in the prayer an emphasis on the Lord’s will being done (Matthew 6:10). James urges believers to seek the will of the Lord over the will of self (James 4:15).
Delighting in the Will of God
Seeking the Lord’s will is a noble part of the Christian life. It means we delight in the Lord’s will replacing our wants, desires, and pleasures with those of Him. If we are to delight in the Lord’s will though, it requires us to know it. So what is the Lord’s will for your life?
Deuteronomy gives us an answer. It is written “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). This particular verse reveals a principle for the Lord’s people. Speaking to Israel, and now to believers who are underneath God’s covenant (cf. Romans 9:30-33) the Lord reveals to His people that they are not responsible for the unrevealed part of God’s plan. The point is that if you one follows the revealed part, the unrevealed part will work out.
How is it then that we know the revealed will of God then? Note what the Psalmist writes in 40:8: “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” See the connection between God’s will and His law? God’s revealed will has been given to us through His word. The will of God is that we abide in Him, which is exemplified in obedience to the Word (John 14:15 & 15:4). Our responsibility is obedience to the revealed will.
Let’s play this out in an example. In fact, let’s use the common question we often hear is “Should I marry (insert name)?” So often people will agonize over such a decision. But God’s Word reveals how one should live, what characteristics they should look for in a spouse, and so many other related topics that we don’t have time to go into them here. The point is this: by abiding in His Word those concepts are all cemented within our hearts and minds so that when we follow them, the answers are made clear. With the example of finding a spouse, the answer becomes very clear because Scripture acts as the guide and one can say yes I should or no I shouldn’t based on it.
We must not obscure the will of God because when we do, it becomes an uncertain thing that we are never really assured of. Instead, maintain the clarity of the will of God in your life. Live by the principles of the revealed will and you can trust God to place the unrevealed part into practice in your life. Ultimately it is trust and obey.