How do I know God's will for my life? What does God want from me, have in mind for me? Jeremiah 29:11. This is an intimate, important question.
We have not thought much about God. Few books in the twentieth century deal with God. It seems we were correcting the deficiency somewhat at end of the century. But still have less than adequate view. Fighting God's battles with angels, mere ministering servants. Omitting God. Overly focused on angels, spirit beings, Holy Spirit. Overfocused, "only way to overemphasize anything is to the neglect of something equally or more important."
Nor is this matter of understanding God's will a small matter. What does God want from me life? What should be my major? my life's work? who should be my spouse, my date? where should I attend church? Life is filled with choices, decisions. Where should I work? should I change jobs, change occupations, how, when, where, why?
What is God trying to do in my life? How will I discern his will? Shall I put out a fleece like Gideon in the OT, wishing for dampness or dryness? What if that was coincidence? Do I cast lots? Throw dice? Pick rocks from a hat? Toss a coin? Consult a ouija board or eightball?
I. Begin with this: Knowing God's will demands understanding God's purposes.
God has a plan, eternal purpose. Jesus saw this in the Garden, "Not my will, but thine." Jesus was willing to fulfill God's will, recognizing that such would be at great personal sacrifice, even to death. But Jesus' Gethsemane decision was a 3 year, even a 30 year decision. It was not made on the spur of the moment. Regarding the purpose of God, Jesus was already on the cross in Gethsemane. The cross was a life-long decision, Rev. 13:8.
God has a plan, consistent with his eternal purpose.
Further, God is at work in this world orchestrating history, working here and there, in his people and in those not yet his people, in those who accept him and those who reject him, God is at work, in his creative work, his providential work, his sustaining work, and his redemptive work. God's eternal purpose or will, his plan, is evident in his work.
Jesus came saying that he was doing the work of the Father. "I have done the work you gave me to do, I have finished your work." It was not Jesus' work, it was God's work. Begin with God's plan, God's work.
II. God reveals his will.
Step Two, God's word, God's revelation. How can you know what I want? I either tell you or you know me well enough to discern it. I may tell you directly or indirectly. God has revealed his will, listen to God. But you and I do not understand. This is an important point, we do not understand the message because we do not know the speaker.
III. Put the two together--God's work and God's word.
God, in both his work and his word, is continually initiating a love relationship with all mankind. He initiates, acts, for no reason other than his own nature/person, his own purpose, for no reason other than he loves his creation. Here is the genuine beginning of God's grace--that he operates in our lives to draw us to him before we want to come. This is Paul writing in Romans 5.
God invites us, involves us, as we are willing.
IV. Our role is thus one of response in this matter of God's will.
Much of God's will is hard to understand. People have written about God's ultimate will, intentional will, circumstantial will. Another speaks of God's permissive will.
What does God want from me? What plan has he for my life? Regardless, know it will reflect God's work, God's word. It will be where you can work with God, speak for God. It will reflect God's person, God's purpose, God's power, and that you are one of God's people.
How can we know, how can we understand?
Sometimes we know God's will better than they imagine, but bringing my life into harmony with God's purposes is no minor task and requires no minor adjustment. Understanding and accepting God's way for my life, accepting and obeying his call, brings always a faith crisis following by requirements of major adjustments in my life.
This was the requirement even for Jesus, the unique Son of God, and our lives are no different.
Mark these things down
What is God's will for your life? Begin the journey by putting our life in his hands, in baptism, in submission, in recommitment, beginning again if you have not walked in faith...
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