GOD’S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE (2)
Principles to Discern God’s Will
I promised last week that after I gave you six principles for discerning God’s will you would know the answer to the vast majority of your questions, including the nitty-gritty questions like where you should go to college, who you should marry or what career you should pursue. Last week, we looked at the first three: (1) It’s God’s will that you be saved. (2) It’s God’s will that you be Spirit-filled and Scripture-saturated. (3) It’s God’s will that you be sanctified. Now we’ll look at the next three, and then see how they relate to every question you have about God’s will for your life.
Fourth, it’s God’s will that you be submissive. “Submit yourself for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men” (1 Pet. 2:13-15, NIV). “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Rom. 13:1-2). By being subject to the governing authorities we are being subject to God and his will for us. This principle answers a lot of questions about God’s will for our lives, since numerous passages address submission: children to parents (Eph. 6:1), wives to husbands (1 Pet. 3:1), slaves to masters (1 Pet. 2:18), church members to elders (Heb. 13:17), citizens to governing officials (Rom. 13:1). Unless we are asked to violate a command of Scripture, it is God’s will for us to submit.
Fifth, it’s God’s will that you be seeking. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). Too often we reverse the order. We seek “all these things” and then hope against hope that God’s kingdom and righteousness will take care of itself.
What does “all these things” refer to? In the immediate context, the basic necessities of life like food and clothing. But I think there is a broader application here. If we will seek first his kingdom and righteousness he may (and usually he does) bless us with far more than the basic necessities.
Sixth, it’s God’s will that you suffer. Ouch! We need to admit that God’s will is not always a walk in the park. “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Phil. 1:29). It shocks some Christians to learn that just as faith is a gift from God, so is suffering. Suffering is clearly part of God’s will. “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Pet. 4:19). Suffering “according to God’s will” is suffering that invariably results from being a Christian and living a godly life (1 Pet. 4:16; 2 Tim. 3:12). In the midst of such suffering trust God, he will provide for you.
These six principles are not meant as an exhaustive list, there are, of course, other principles in the Bible that will help you ascertain the will of God for your life. Yet don’t miss this point: God wants us to know his will; therefore he has revealed it to us in his word. Not every detail of God’s will is communicated in the Scriptures, but it is undisputed that it is God’s will for us to be saved, Spirit-filled and Scripture-saturated, sanctified, submissive, seeking and willing to suffer.
Now you’re probably thinking, “That is plain enough, but you promised to answer my questions about where I should go to college and who I should marry and what career I should pursue. Yes, I did, are you ready for the answer—hold on to your hat—the answer is, go wherever you want to go, marry whoever you want to marry and pursue whatever career you desire. Does that sound too good to be true? Are you skeptical that God’s will is that simple? Think about this: If you’re saved, filled with the Spirit, meditating daily upon God’s word, growing in sanctification, submissive to those in authority over you, seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness, and willing to suffer as you follow Christ, who is in control of your life? Right, God is. So prayerfully go, do and be whatever you want. God is leading you, and if you should deviate from his will in the areas of life that are not clearly spelled out in his word, remember that he is more than capable of closing doors, in order to open others (Acts 16:6-10). Enjoy, God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect (Rom. 12:2).
Pastor Wayne Christensen, www.foxlakechurch.org, Nov. 8, 2015