The Bible often speaks of the will of God.  Knowing, respecting, and ultimately doing, the will of God is essential to making it to heaven.

Matthew 7:21 (ESV) 
21  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Fortunately, we can know and do God’s will.  He has revealed it to us through the inspired writings of men found in the Bible.  Listen to what Paul said about the things he wrote.

Ephesians 3:4 (ESV) 
4  When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,

The will of God points to His divine wishes and desires.  It should be the goal of us all to fulfill the desires of God.  This was certainly the case with Jesus.  We remember well the prayer of Christ in the garden when He said, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt…” (Matthew 26:39).  Indeed, Jesus found His nourishment in doing the will of His Father.

John 4:34 (ESV) 
34  Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

Can we honestly say that we find strength in doing God’s divine will?  Too often we get caught up in the “me first” syndrome in which everything is about us.  We even relegate God to the back seat of our lives as we happily strive for self-fulfillment.  How much better off would we be if we trained ourselves, no matter what the circumstance or situation may be, to always put God’s will first?

God’s will, however, is not always so easy to know.  Yes, we can understand His direct and revealed will.  This is the part of God’s will that encompasses His commandments for man and how He desires us to live.  This has been clearly outlined in God’s Word.

There is no need to guess about how God wants us to behave.  There is no need to stumble around in the dark so far as how God demands that we worship Him.  God gives man instructions along these lines, and He always has.  But has every wish, want and desire of God been revealed?  The answer is no.  James made this clear when he wrote the following:

James 4:14-15 (ESV) 
14  Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

The truth is many things come up in life wherein it is hard to determine what course the Lord wants us to follow.  God has not revealed to us what we should do in every circumstance of life, that is, not directly.

One might wonder if taking a certain job is God’s will or if it is His will that we turn down the job.   Is it God’s will that we send our children to public schools or does He want us to home-school?  Even spiritual decisions are not always clear.  How often should I pray?  What local church should I attend?  These are examples of how we, at times, wrestle with determining exactly what God’s will is for us.

There is, however, one rule we can always follow.  We can determine to make decisions that never violate God’s revealed will.   As we said earlier, God has revealed how He wants us to live.  He has taught us, through His Word, the kind of things we should avoid and the things we should embrace.

Titus 2:11-12 (ESV) 
11  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12  training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

When we keep our decisions in line with God’s standard of godliness, and when we continue to keep God in our decisions through prayer, asking Him for His will to be done in our lives, our choices in life are usually good ones that are in harmony with His will.

One more thought on the will of God.  Never make the mistake of thinking that everything that ever happens is God’s will.  It’s not!  Some things in life happen by chance.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 (ESV) 
11  Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Even Jesus taught that some things happen by chance. 

Luke 10:31 (ESV) 
31  Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.

While it is true that nothing happens apart from the permissive will of God, He does not attempt to control every bounce of every ball.  When a child rides his bike into the street and gets hit by a car, that is not God’s will.  Yes, God knew it was going to happen, and even could have prevented it, but in His unsearchable wisdom, He decides not to intervene.

This does not mean that God never intervenes in our lives.  He does, but not always.  Bad things ultimately happen in life because of the presence of sin and sin is man’s fault, not God’s.  So, do not blame God every time tragedy strikes by attributing it to His direct will.  To do so is not fair to God.  Let us do our best to live according to God’s revealed will and ask Him to guide us by the principles of His Word when we are in doubt.

-don wright

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