Tuesday, August 09, 2016

God's Plan. God's Will. My Purpose. - Part II - Understanding and Seeking God's Will

Understanding and Seeking God's Will

Most of God's Will for our lives have already been revealed in the pages of the Bible. There is a catch. We need to learn and live it. He has given us His written Word as revelation, gifted teachers for our instruction, and His Spirit for illumination, direction and power. God truly wants the best for everyone, and He's provided all we need to experience it. 

God reserves knowledge of many things to Himself alone. He may or may not reveal such knowledge to us at His on discretion. For example, He has provided some information about future events in the prophetic sections of the Bible. But, God's Will regarding our lives in the present is quite clear: It involves knowing and obeying His written instructions. Where are those written instructions? The Bible!

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path - Psalm 119:105

If you're primarily interested in God's Will regarding your own future, the idea of learning and obeying God's Word may be the last thing you want to hear. But, be careful, God's Will is found in God's Word -- and His Plan for all our lives begins with His moral Will as described in scripture.

It is human nature to make our own plans an then ask God to bless them. Instead, we should seek God's Will first. By constantly thinking about the Lord and His way of living, we will gain insights that will help us make right decisions and live the way God desires. Communicating with God allows Him to counsel us and give us wisdom.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me,
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
- Psalm 16:7-8

Seeking God's Will for Us

To discover God's individual Will for our lives, we must first learn to obey His moral Will. 

One of the Christian's greatest blessing is guidance from God's Spirit. In fact, as Romans 8:1:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

Think of life this way: the whole human race is on death row, justly condemned for repeatedly reading God's holy law. Without Jesus, we would have no hope at all. But thank GOD! He has declared us not guilty and has offered us freedom from sin and power to do His Will. 

There is no shortage of books on God's Will. Clearly, the Bible itself is a book that reveals God's Will. We have plenty of information on the subject - what we need now is ACTION. God wants people who will do His Will, though many, sadly won't.

People after God's heart seek God's Will. They learn it. They fulfill it. Even Jesus Christ, in flesh form, worked for God's Will, not His own.

Even Jesus and Paul lived to fulfill God's Will

All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me. 
- John 6:37-38

Jesus did not work independently of God the Father, but in union with Him. This should give us even more assurance of being welcomed into God's presence and being protected by Him. Jesus' purpose was to do the Will of God, not to satisfy Jesus' human desires. When we follow Jesus, we should have the same purpose.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the Word in the province of Asia. - Acts 16:6

We don't know how the Holy Spirit told Paul that he and his companions should not go into Asia. It may have been through a prophet, a vision, an inner conviction, or some other circumstance. To know God's Will does not mean we must hear His voice. He leads in different ways. When seeking God's Will:

  1. Make sure your plan is in harmony with God's Word
  2. Ask mature Christians for their advice
  3. Check your own motives t see if you are seeking to do what you want or what you think God wants
  4. Pray for God to open and close the doors and He desires

Our Desire to Please God

Paul knew he would be imprisoned in Jerusalem.  Although his friends pleaded with him to not go there, he knew that he had to because God wanted him to. No one enjoys pain, but a faithful disciple wants above all else to please God. Our desire to please God should oversee our desire to avoid hardship and suffering. When we really want to do God's Will, we must accept all that it comes with - even the pain. Then we can say with Paul, "the Lord's will be done."

Then Paul answered, "why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready to only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, "the Lord's Will be done." 
- Acts 21:13-14

What is Our Purpose According to God’s Will?

Christians should be joyful, prayerful, and grateful without ceasing.

True believers all strive to follow the message Jesus taught and imitate the life He lived by the power He provided.  If you are concerned about knowing God's Will for your life, I have good news for you: God is not hiding His Will. In fact, He's trying to show us all the time. 

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. - Romans 2:7

Paul says that those who patiently and persistently do God's Will find eternal life. He is not contradicting his previous statement that salvations comes by faith alone (Romans 1:16,17). We are not saved by good deeds, but when we commit our lives fully to God, we want to please Him and do His Will. As such, our good deeds are a grateful response to what God has done, not a prerequisite to earning His grace.

How to Recognize God's Purpose for our Lives

In one short phrase, Paul gives insight into his reason for living. The process begins with the proclamation of faith, continues with knowledge of the truth, which is then shown by people living in godliness. Paul wanted men and women to be mature in Jesus Christ. This was his ultimate objective by which he evaluated all he did. 

How would your church evaluate its ultimate objectives? What specific goals, ministries, and service opportunities bring believers to faith, spiritual maturity and godliness? Do established members reflect good Christian conduct and desire for Christian service? How would you describe your purpose in life? To what are you devoted? Are you willing to share your faith, teach the truth, and live a godly life for all to see?

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God's let and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness -- Titus 1:1

My Will and the Will of God

I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My Will. - Acts 13:22

The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart - 1 Samuel 16:7

Judging. God warned Saul against judge by appearance alone. When people judge by outward appearance, they may overlook quality individuals who lack the particular physical qualities society currently admires. Appearance doesn't reveal what people are really like or what their true value is.

Can't Change God's Will

Micaiah prophesied death for Ahab (2 Chronicles 18: 17, 27), so Ahab disguised himself to fool the enemy. Apparently the disguise worked, but that didn't change the prophecy. A random Aramean arrow found a crack in his armor and killed him. God fulfills His Will despite the defenses people try to erect. God can use anything, even an error, to bring His Will to pass. This is good news for God's followers because we can trust Him to work His plans and keep His promises no matter how desperate our circumstances are.

But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the breastplate and the scale armor. The king told the chariot driver, "Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I've been wounded." - 2 Chronicles 18:33

Fortunately, God judges by faith and character, not appearances. And because only God can see on the inside, only He can accurately judge people. Most people spend hours each week maintaining their outward appearance; they should do even more to develop their inner character. While everyone can see your face, only you and God know what your heart really looks like.

What steps are you taking to improve your heart's attitude?

Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. - Deuteronomy 10:16-19

God required all male Israelites to be circumcised, but He wanted to go beyond performing the surgery to understanding its meaning. They needed to submit to God inside, in their hearts, as well as outside, in their bodies. Then they could begin to imitate God's love  and justice in their relationship with others. If our hearts are right with God, then our relationships with other people can be made right too. When your heart has been cleansed and you have been reconciled to God, you will begin to see a difference in the way you treat others.

But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain You. How much less this temple I have built! - 1 Kings 8:27

In his prayer of dedication, Solomon declared that even the highest heaven cannot contain God. Isn't it amazing that, though the heavens can't contain God, He is willing to live in the hearts of those who love Him? The God of the universe takes up residence in His people.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. -- Matthew 12:34-36

Jesus reminds us that what we say reveals what is in our hearts. What kinds of words come from your mouth? That is an indication of what your heart is really like. You can't solve your heart problem, however, just be cleaning up your speech. You must allow the Holy Spirit to fin the ill you with new attitudes and motives, then your speech will be cleansed at its source.

In the parable of the Two Sons, a verse stands out the demonstrates how God knows our true intentions.

"Then the father went to the other son and sid the same thing. He answered,  'I will, sir,' but he did not go. -- Matthew 21: 30

The son who said he would obey and then didn't represented many of the people of Israel in Jesus's day, particularly the religious leaders. They said they wanted to do God's Will, but the constantly disobeyed. They were phony, just going through the motions. It is dangerous to pretend to obey God when our hearts are far from Him, because God knows our true intentions. Our actions must match our words.

Please complete this series by reading Part III.


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