It’s easier to find the will of God than you might imagine, so here’s how we can find God’s will in order to do God’s will.
God’s Will Verses Ours
When the disciples came up to Jesus and asked Him how to pray, they must have seen how much of a Man of prayer He was. They knew the intimacy He had with the Father, and they wanted that same intimacy, so one of the first things Jesus taught them was to pray for God’s will over their own. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed three times to have the cup removed, but He still submitted to the Father’s will. When we pray, we must pray for God’s will above our own since His will is perfect and our will is less than. Jesus told them to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done” (Matt 6:10), so first of all, prayer must be within the will of God and praying for the will of God, so how can we know the will of God?
Discerning God’s Will
A believer is better equipped to discern the will of God when they’re not conformed to this world, but rather are transformed by a renewed mind. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 12:1-2 where he wrote, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Step one is presenting ourselves to be used by God, making our lives a living sacrifice for the good of others, and not letting the world squeeze us into its own image or mold, but being “transformed by the renewal of your mind.” When our mind is not conformed to this world, but transformed by Word, only then can we discern what the will of God is, so we must pray for God’s will, and then allow God’s Spirit to transform our mind so that we cannot only do God’s will, we can discern what God’s will is so that we can do it.
Knowing God’s Will
Living a life that pleases God and not living in the flesh is the will of God, so God’s will is not something He hides from us or is some mystery we must figure out. The Bible clearly spells out what God’s will is. The Apostle Peter writes, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” (1 Pet 2:13-14). Peter says “this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” (1 Pet 2:15). Another place where God’s will is clearly defined is in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 where Paul writes, “this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,” so we must “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18).
Accepting God’s Will
If Jesus had not accepted God’s will, we would still be in our sins, and we’d die in our sins, and that means the wrath of God would abide on us for all time (John 3:36b), so doing God’s will, even though painful, must always be done. Jesus Himself prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). Just as Jesus taught the disciples to pray for the Father’s will over their own, Jesus lives this out by knowing and then doing the will of God, even though it was contrary to what He wanted at the time. He knew God’s will must be done. If not, there would be no Savior, and if there were no Savior, there would be no salvation. Most of us would probably not sign up for suffering for His name’s sake, even though it says, “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). The will of God is sometimes hard to accept, but it’s harder still if it’s resisted.
Thankfulness is God’s Will
Christians give thanks to God for all of the good things He’s done, and those are innumerable, but it’s actually God’s will for us to be thankful at all times, no matter what the circumstances. God’s will is not some hidden mystery or puzzle you have to figure out, rather as we have read (above), it is clearly spelled out in Scripture. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess 5:16-18). You don’t have to ask what the will of God is when there are dozens of Scriptures that show what it is, just as it is obviously God’s will that we rejoice, we pray, and we are thankful to God.
You don’t need to be a Bible scholar or theologian to understand what the will of God is. For example, we know the will of God is for us is to abstain from sexual immorality; God’s will is for us to be rejoicing and giving thanks to Him in prayer; God’s will is for us to be transformed by the Spirit of God so that we can discern what God’s will is; and it’s God’s will for us to submit to human and heavenly authorities (Rom 13:1-7). Only when human authority tells us to do what is contrary to God’s will must we submit to God’s will instead (Acts 5:29), so submitting to God is part of the will of God. James wrote, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:7-8). I can also assure you that God “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pet 3:9). I pray that your will is also that none should perish apart from Christ. If it is, then why not share Christ today?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.