What is the Will of God for Your Life? So many of us desperately want to know the will of God. But God’s will is more than an occupation, a place to go, or knowing who to marry. The Bible has much to say about the will of God, but it’s mostly instructions about how to live a life pleasing to God rather than how to make specific decisions that will affect the events in our life. The Bible says that it is God’s will that we live a holy, sanctified life, that we trust God, that we don’t conform to the world, but instead be transformed by changing the way that we think, that we be willing to suffer for doing good for Him, that we are thankful to Him for everything, that we rejoice in God, pray to Him often, that we seek godly counsel, that we read the Bible, and that we conform to the image of God’s Son – Jesus. Also 1 Timothy 2 in verse 4 says that God’s will is for all people to be saved and to understand the truth about Him. God is foremost concerned about the salvation of people and that we are living holy lives that please him. But you may have reached a level of spiritual maturity in which you are now asking how you can make more specific decisions that line up with God’s will for you.
Pastor John MacArthur says the following about finding God’s will. If you have salvation through Jesus than you have the Holy Spirit living within you. And Spirt-filled people do not stumble around trying to find out what God wants. They just go. People often ask – How do I know my spiritual gift? And MacArthur says that the best way is to live a Spirit-filled life, see what God does through you, look back in retrospect and say – Oh, that’s what I do when God has control of me. Apparently, that is my gift. There is no need to get analytical. The whole point is that we need the Spirit of God to be released in our lives. The Spirit-filled life is living every moment as though you are standing in the presence of Jesus Christ. It is being saturated with the things of Christ with His Word, and His person. The only way - is to study the Bible which discloses all that He is. To be spirit-filled is to live a Christ-conscious life saturated with the thoughts of Christ – spending time with His word and spending time with Him. And there is no shortcut to that.
Basically, if you’re not interested in reading His word and growing close to Him, then there’s no point in trying to discover His will for your life. Because His will is all about Him. The purpose of His will is to bring people to Him. Finding His will for our life is not about us feeling accomplished or fulfilled. So, if you’re not interested in living a Christ-conscious life, then there’s no reason to do His will
You may be asking - what is it that God wants you to do? Well, what do you like to do? What do you do for fun? What are you interested in? What things excite you? What are you good at? What opportunities do you have? Look at what you are doing now and see how you can do those things to serve God. I don’t think that finding God’s will is as complicated as we sometimes make it out to be. Get doing things to serve Jesus and the Holy Spirit will help you figure it out. So where do you start? Well, you could look at the different ministry opportunities that are available to you and try some of them? If you start serving meals at the homeless shelter and find that you really don’t enjoy it, then it’s probably not God’s will for you to be doing this. God is going to work with your personality and your interests. He wants you to enjoy serving Him and to become passionate about it. The main point is to get started and explore areas that are interesting to you. John MacArthur expands on this and says that it’s important to “keep moving. So many people sit around waiting for that celestial crane to move them, saying – I don’t know what God wants me to do. They need to start moving so God can steer them to that area of service He has planned. Knowing God’s will may mean pushing down a narrow line until you hit a dead end. At that point, God will open a door so wide, you won’t be able to see around it – only through it. You may bounce off a lot of closed doors, but that is God’s way of forcing you into His open one. Get rolling and be persistent. You see, the will of God is not primarily a place. The will of God is not, first of all, for you to go there or work here. The will of God concerns you as a person. If you are the right you, you can follow your desires and you will fulfill His will.” Being the right you is spoken about in Romans 12:1-2 “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind HHHe will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” So – Offer yourself in sacrificial service to God and think like God. This way you will know His perfect will for you.
Lets’ say that you do have clarity and you know exactly what you are going to do and you believe that it’s God’s will. Now that doesn’t mean that you won’t have opposition and obstacles to overcome. Sometimes family, friends, and church leaders don’t have the same excitement that you do. It is helpful to have input and confirmation and encouragement from your church, but it’s not required. The Holy Spirit will lead you and give you confirmation. Your church leaders might have a different vision than what you want to do. So, if you really feel that God is leading you to do something, then go do it. We need to obey God, not other people – in reality they are just humans and see things through human eyes with their own human biases. Yes. It is important to get wise counsel from spiritually mature people, but you are the one that gets to make the final decision. If you have accepted Jesus’ salvation and you follow Jesus then you have the Holy Spirit living in you. And the Holy Spirit will tell you what He wants you to do with your life. This is something that does not come from someone else, this comes from the Holy Spirit. You do not need a priest or a pastor or a spouse to intercede between you and God. The Holy Spirit will directly lead you. Instead of waiting around to get permission or an invitation – you may need to just go do it.
One of my favorite heroes is Gladys Alyward. After hearing about China, she became passionate about going there to teach people about Jesus. But after only 3 months of missionary training, the mission agency told her that she was not qualified to go to China and that they felt she would never be able to learn the language. So she had no agency to send her there. But Gladys saved up money working as a housemaid and then she went to China. There in China- she did learn the Chinese language, she preached about Jesus, and she cared for unwanted children. One of her most memorable accomplishments was during wartime when she successfully led 100 orphaned children on a 100 mile walk from their bombed out village to a safer part of China. It’s a good thing that Gladys listened to God instead of the missionary agency that had told her she wasn’t qualified to go. I’ll read a quote from Gladys Alyward. “If God has called you to China or any other place and you are sure in your own heart, let nothing deter you. Remember, it is God who has called you and it is the same as when He called Moses or Samuel.”
Theologian Martin Luther forever changed Christianity when he rejected the practices of the Roman Catholic church. Based on his understanding of the Bible, Martin Luther publicly declared that the Bible did not give the pope the exclusive right to interpret scripture. Luther felt that God was calling him to tell others that the key to spiritual salvation was not to fear God or be enslaved by religious dogma, but to believe that faith alone would bring salvation. He decided to ignore the strong requests from the church officials that told him to stop speaking out against them. That led to his official excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church. But as a result of following God’s will, Luther translated the Bible from Latin into the German language, which gave ordinary people the opportunity to read God’s word for themselves. Martin Luther started protestant Christianity. He is the one that said: “Peace if possible, but truth at any rate.”
Elisabeth Elliot went with her husband to Ecuador to minister to the Auca tribe. Despite the fact that they killed her husband with a spear, Elizabeth felt that it was God’s will for her to stay and live with the tribe. As a result, she was able to witness to these people and display Christ’s forgiveness and reconciliation. Many people made decisions to follow Jesus, because she chose to stay. I’ll give you a quote from Elizabeth Elliot, too. “Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person's seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.”
You might find yourself if a similar situation in which the opposition is strong, but the personal call of God is stronger. Here’s an example: Let’s say that there is a woman that feels like the Holy Spirit is leading her to preach about Jesus. But maybe she belongs to a church that doesn’t want women to preach. Maybe that’s their belief or just their tradition. That’s okay. She doesn’t need to change them in order for her to do God’s will. She can still find a way to preach. She could find a different church that encourages women to preach. She could start her own church and preach there. She could invite people to her home and preach to them. She could preach through videos over the Internet or preach downtown on the street corner. She could rent a conference room at a hotel, advertise, and then preach her message. Or, she could be a guest speaker at another church. I think that God is thrilled when a person – man or woman – wants to speak publicly about Him, telling others about how they too can have eternal salvation through Jesus and about how to grow spiritually.
We need to figure out how to get through the obstacles in order to go do what we are called to do. If you are going to do the will of God, then you need to expect spiritual opposition from Satan. But you have got to get through that. God wants you to do His will and he will give you the means and the abilities to do what he’s called you to do. And we have that promise straight from Jesus who said in John 14:13 “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.” He promises that He will give us what we need to bring glory to God and further His message, if we’re asking according to His will.
There are times, when we’re looking for God’s will, when we may need to slow down and wait it out. Sometimes we find ourselves in really difficult situations in which it wouldn’t be good to just go for it and see if God closes the door. In these situations we may need to be more concerned about the present moment and wait for God to reveal the next step. When we ask for specific, for the moment guidance, and we obey God, He will faithfully show us the next step when it’s time. This is how we learn to walk with God, trusting Him - one step at a time. Psalm 37:23-24 can be very reassuring to us that – “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
We can use this same step by step approach on a daily basis when we want to do God’s will in our everyday normal life. What do you think would happen if while on your way to work, you said “God, what do you want me to do today in my workplace? Please show me. Please give me a special opportunity today to represent You.” It sounds too simple doesn’t it? But I know from experience that God will answer this question when you sincerely want to serve him. God knows you better than anyone else knows you. He knows the perfect situations to send your way. I think it’s important that we strive for living in His will on a daily basis.
In review: The most important thing about God’s will is that it is His will for everyone to know the truth about Him and to have salvation through Jesus.
Then, it is God’s will for us to live a Christ-conscious life saturated with the thoughts of Christ – spending time with His word and spending time with Him.
Then, we can get busy doing things for Jesus and trust that God will steer us o that area of service that He has planned for us. And when we are pursuing God’s will, we need to expect opposition from the enemy and maybe from family and friends and people at church. But it’s crucial to obey God rather than people. God has given us specific interests, talents, gifts, and a special personality to be successful at doing His will.
I’m going to end this beautiful passage from Galatians 6:4-5 – “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”