Moving from Theory to Reality
Just as a strong house needs a solid foundation, so our understanding of God’s will needs a solid doctrinal foundation.
In the last sermon I preached on this topic two weeks ago, we established two important cornerstones of truth. (1) God’s determined will and (2) God’s permissive will. God determines the course of our lives, yet within his sovereign plan, He allows free will choices.
In this sermon we will build on that doctrinal groundwork with the concept of God’s desired will. God’s will for us includes the things He wants or wishes will happen in our lives.
God created us to be in relationship with Him. He desires to be in relationship with us.
Jesus expressed the desired will of God when His heart burst with compassion for the people of Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Mathew 23:37 NIV)
Jesus longed for these people to follow God. God desires for us to follow Him. Peter echoed Jesus’ thoughts in regard to God’s universal offer of salvation.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV)
God knows that not everyone will accept His offer of salvation. Those who reject God do so according to their free will.
Different from “God’s determined will”, “God’s desired will” can be resisted or ignored to our own down fall.
So it is vital that we tune our ears daily to God to understand His longings for us. We have to be sensitive to God’s will.
Biblical Examples of sensitivity to God’s will
Many of the men and women in the Bible where very much aware of God’s desires for them.
In the Old Testament
David saw himself as a student in God’s classroom, eager to learn and obey. He prayed to the Lord; “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” (Psalm 143:10 NIV)
Solomon warns in Proverbs 3:7; “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”
In this journey of life, the road that appears smooth may turn out to be full of pitfalls.
God alone knows which direction is best for us and the wise person takes Solomon’s advice seriously.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
In the New Testament
In the New Testament, we find that for Jesus, doing the Father’s will was as important as life itself. He demonstrated perfect submission to the father.
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34 NIV)
Because of Jesus’ submission to God’s will, we reap the blessing of eternal life;
“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6: 38-40 NIV)
Becoming Aware of God’s Will Today
Walk with God.
For starters, if you are interested in knowing God’s plan for your life, then you must learn to walk with God. You need to develop a relationship with Him. Christianity is all about relationship rather than just religion.
And so you must cultivate your relationship with God. You must seek to know Him and not just seek to know about Him.
You will cultivate that relationship best by spending time in His Word, taking time for prayer, and taking every opportunity you can to be involved in church and small group Bible study opportunities. When you seek these disciplines in your life, God will begin the first steps to revealing His plan to you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Spend Time in His word
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119: 105)
God’s word will illuminate the direction God wants us to take.
Have a Renewed Mind
To know God’s will, your mind must be renewed supernaturally. Romans 12:2 points to an astounding truth: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The word transformed in the Greek language is where we get the word metamorphosis, as when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. As you consistently present your body and mind to God by spending time with Him and reading His Word, then He can begin to transform you from the inside out.
Every middle school science student learns that the transformation of anything, even the smallest cell, must begin in the nucleus, or innermost part. Spiritually, that can only happen when you commit yourself to Him—body, soul, and spirit. The Holy Spirit then shows us His will, something no man can teach you.
Through the counsel of wise People
Just as a quarterback calls a time-out to consult the coach about the next play, so we need to seek the insight of wise people.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)
We can see this in Exodus 18:13- 27 when Moses sought the advice of his father in law. Today, those in business hire consultants to help them succeed.
Through the Assurance of Peace
Whether things work out happily or trouble intensifies, we will have inner peace when we are doing God’s will.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Gus Scott’s testimony