The concept of God’s will can be pretty baffling, but the truth is, it is far less mysterious than we think. It’s not something that must be decoded by reading signs and interpreting feelings. It boils down to this: when we are facing decisions in life, if something isn’t a sin, then it’s a choice.
So, first we have to determine if the decision we’re facing is a moral point or a life choice. Has it been addressed in the Bible specifically? Is it a mandate or command obviously given to us in the Word? If not, and it’s more like which city to live in or what color shoes to wear, or what to major in in college– God has smiled on us and given us liberty to choose. That’s not to say that all choices are equal, though. Some are good, some are better, some are poor. In this day and age of immense freedoms, we can easily become confused and overwhelmed, trying to navigate all the options in our life. He has an answer for that, too. He has promised to give us wisdom if we ask for it.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5”
When we make a poor decision, and things go south, we can’t say it just wasn’t God’s will (unless we actually DID make that choice in sinful rebellion to God’s given word.) We were simply foolish. We have to own up to it, and learn from it. Get some wisdom, and make better choices next time. Yet, even in our foolishness, God continues to be good, and goes on blessing us. He always finds a way to make good things come for His children. No matter what city you live in, or what color shoes you are wearing, or what you major in in college, God will do His good will.
However, sometimes we draw the false conclusion that whenever there is a positive result, it must have been God’s will. That’s just not so. We can’t use that idea to justify a sinful decision, not ever. We say, well, if I had never had that affair, then I’d never have gotten divorced, and this child from my second husband would never have been born. God must have wanted this individual in the world, so I was right to do what I did. How could this new life not have been God’s plan?
We are such a backwards people. We’re looking at all the wrong things.
The truth is, God’s ultimate, sovereign will for His people is that they love Him. We don’t have to go find His will, it’s there, in Scripture. He told us the greatest commandment, the most important thing we must do:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. Luke 10:27”
And then He told us how, (because we are sheep and sheep aren’t known for their brilliance.)
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. John 14:21”
Loving Him isn’t about your feelings for Him. It isn’t the way we are moved by worship music. It isn’t merely being amazed at His creation. It isn’t just appreciating the blessings in our life. Love moves beyond the heart, way past the emotional center of our being, and into what we DO.
His will is that we love Him, and we do that by obeying Him. That’s it. That’s what everybody is looking for. Every decision we face in this life comes down to that.
So, from this, we know one thing for sure: It’s never God’s will for us to do something contrary to His Word.
He never wants us to disobey. He always wants our love, expressed to Him by our obedience.
Of course, we sin, constantly. We have broken all the commandments, even if just in our thoughts. We do not love Him perfectly, nor will we on this earthly terrain. He knew it, and planned for it. He sent the One Who Always Obeyed, since we couldn’t.
But we do not sin because God has worked it into the great plan for our life. When God has taken our sinful situations and created some good thing in the midst of it, it doesn’t mean He ordained that path. It just means that He is so much more merciful and benevolent than we can fathom. He finds ways to bless us despite ourselves! We can’t take that as evidence of the rightness of our choice to sin, though. We must see it for what it really is: His utter, unbelievable, unending, undeserved GOODNESS despite our failings.
So, when we are faced with something sinful that we really, really want… and instead, we choose to love Him more, by obeying Him alone… How pleased He is! How much more can we be in God’s will than that?
The fact is, when we obey Him, we are at the bulls-eye of His will. We never have to be afraid of where we are, or where we are going, or what is happening around us. There is no need to decipher some invisible map of God’s will for our life, because we have already arrived at the destination– His pleasure. And what a place to be, my friend. Deutoronomy 28: 1-14 tells us just how amazing a place that is. It is the land of milk and honey.
But when we choose not to love Him more, when we choose our sin, we are choosing something less for ourselves than what He would have. We choose the desert. Hunger. Loss. Make no mistake, no matter what good God may bring out of our transgression, when we sin, we ARE choosing hardship and consequences. We ARE choosing tears, and heartbreak, and a cup of sorrow. We choose self-doubt and regret and a counterfeit happiness. How sad for a child of God, to squander the riches of heaven for the fading grass and withering flowers of this world. Though He blesses us even as we sin, there are no guaranteed happy outcomes for sin. As a matter of fact, the Bible says,
“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galations 6:8”
Pretty clear there.
It’s a hard question, with an easy answer.
Okay, my friends. I must retire from theology for the morning, and get on to my day, and out of my pjs. 🙂 Know that my prayers are for you and me both, that we will seek to love and obey Christ in all the choices we face in this life. We won’t always get it right, but He is faithful and merciful and gives us a brand new day to go for it again! Happy Thursday, everybody. Have a good week.