Sometimes we find ourselves doing busywork in the Kingdom of God, active in our congregations, but carrying a nagging feeling of dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, we can become very busy doing the Lord’s work, but not doing God’s will. When we wake up to this insight, we often search frantically for answers.
Honestly, most of Christendom is split over how to define God’s will and all the ways it plays out in our lives. I won’t be able to answer those questions in this post, or in this series.*
Instead, I’m looking at God’s will from a spiritual formation perspective, and even through a mental health lens. How can we participate in the will of God without stressing over it, and committing the sin of acedia?
Participating in God’s Will
Sometimes when it comes to God’s will, all we have to ask is, “What is the good thing to do versus what is the right thing to do?” At times, we do too many good things.
i. Focus! Quit searching morbidly for God’s will for your life!
God doesn’t care what color of socks you’re wearing today. At times we try to figure out every, single step of the way when God has given us discernment as a Gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12.10).
He’s given us wisdom. In the multitude of counselors, there is safety (Proverbs 11.14). He has given us wisdom and counsel, but we frantically search for His will.
Jesus prays, “Our Father . . . Your will be done, on Earth as is Heaven” (Matthew 6.9-13).
Let Your will just be played out in my everyday. And as I pray, I’m not trying to figure out Your will every, single day. I’m just praying that Your will, will be activated as I step out Your promises today.
I think that’s a little more healthy.
There are times when we’re seeking the will of God. I’m not discounting that. But to seek it every day to the point where it is driving us crazy is not what God wants.
Jesus Christ our Lord also said that He does not do anything on His own, but only what the Father does (John 5.19).
ii. Jesus was not looking for God’s will for His life every day
It had already been established. He sought the purposes of God. When you look at Christ’s miracles, sometimes you wonder if He charted the story out at the beginning of the day. No He didn’t.
Do you know how Jesus got through the day according to John 5? He saw what the Father was doing, and He did it.
Outside of these doors, outside of our families, and outside of our comfort zone, the Father is moving out there. The Holy Spirit is convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16.8).
It’s a different focus. It helps free us from the sin of acedia. We are constantly bombarded with the thought that we have to be in the perfect center of what God wants every waking moment.
However, with a focus like this on what God is already doing, it’s energizing to us. We won’t be weary in doing what is right.
iii. Consider James 4.17 in the Positive
James 4.17: Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.
Now let’s think about this Scripture in the positive. To free ourselves from distractions and fatigue, we do “the right thing,” “the good thing.”
Our good hinges on finding the Lord’s will, what He’s doing, what the Father is doing.
Again “good” means beauty, excellence, honorable, etc. God calls us to live with Him in beauty, in excellence, and in honor.
How are we walking with the Lord? Are we stepping in to all God has for us?
iv. Consider 1 John 1
We started off with 1 John, let’s return to the Text to answer our questions. Are distractions leading to sin? Are distractions keeping us from doing good? We don’t have to grow weary and give in. We don’t have to give up the walk of faith.
We’re called to a new way of walking in light of what the Father is doing.
1 John 1.5: This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6: If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7: but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9: If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10: If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
*Jared V. Ingle, “The Dilemma of the Sin of Omission” (sermon, Harbor Light Christian Center, Traverse City, MI, August 12, 2018).