Knowing the Will of God
How would you define the phrase, “the will of God”? In the broadest sense, God’s will is expressed in all the commands and principles of Scripture. Specifically, the Bible says that God’s will includes that followers of Christ would be saved (1 Tim. 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9), Spirit-filled (Eph. 5:17-18), sanctified (1 Thess. 4:3-8), submissive (1 Peter 2:13-15), and content in suffering (1 Peter 3:17). Pastor Kevin DeYoung offers this definition of God’s will from his book Just Do Something: “God’s will for our lives is much simpler than the conventional approach. The will of God for our lives is that we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. The most important decision we face is the daily decision to live for Christ and die to self.”
Acknowledging God’s will affirms His sovereignty over all aspects of life. We live and function only because God wills it. Living according to the will of God could be identified as a test of genuine saving faith. True Christians are characterized as “doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph. 6:6). On the other hand, a constant disregard for or lack of interest in God’s will is a mark of self-centeredness and pride in your life. Disregarding the will of God is the same as saying, "I am in charge of my life. I know what is best.” or “Things are working out pretty well for me right now. I don’t really want to mess it up by changing it.” A follower of Jesus will diligently seek to live according to God’s desires. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
Many of the questions that people have about whether specific events or choices are part of God’s will can be answered by knowing and applying biblical wisdom. Therefore, it is very important that Christians rely on the words that God has given us. Consider your own spiritual habits. How much time per week do you spend hearing God’s Word preached/taught? Reading God’s Word? Studying God’s Word? Memorizing God’s Word? Meditating on God’s Word? All of these disciplines are ways that God reveals his will specifically to us. The good news about this is that God’s will is not hidden from us. It is revealed to us in the Bible. He has already revealed what should be the primary direction of our lives, namely that we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.