December 18, 2017

The Will of God – the Basics

George Stiekes

Wherefore be ye not unwise (foolish), but understanding what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17

We would all agree that one of our goals in life is to be LIKE JESUS (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 5:1; Philippians 2:5). We throw the phrase “will of God” around a lot in our Christian circles, but how much are we really committed to doing it. Jesus said: I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me (John 5:30). If we are truly to be like Christ, then we must be committed to doing the Father’s will.

Jesus is quoted by Matthew as saying, For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother (Matthew 12:50). He is obviously speaking of our spiritual relationship with Him for all who are in Christ have been adopted as members of the family of God (Romans 8:17, 29).

God expects His children to know and do His will. There is no way a Christian can walk wisely without knowing God’s will for his life. In fact, a person must be saved in order to do God’s will. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:3-4).

Jesus said, And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32). His will is clearly revealed in the truths of His Word. Those who reject it suppress the knowledge of God, turning away from the truth (Romans 1:19-23; II Timothy 4:4). We know that God is not willing that any perish, but that all should come to repentance. Therefore, by His design He reveals sufficient knowledge of Himself to make man responsible to Him. The first knowledge comes from the invisible things of him from the creation of the world (Psalm 19:1). God has given man the ability to draw conclusions from effect to cause.

However, once we are saved, it is God’s will that we walk in the truth (III John 4), be established in the truth (II Peter 1:12), obey he truth (I Peter 1:22) and rightly divide the truth (II Timothy 2:15). Obviously then we must be SAVED and we must be STUDIOUS in the Word of God if we are to know the will of God and do the will of God in our lives.

How much time do you spend in the Word of God personally? Are you faithful in the attendance of Church where the Word is preached, Sunday School and Bible Studies where the Word of God is taught?

Those who are truly faithful in knowing and doing the will of God are serious students of the Word of God and they delight to do His will to the place that God’s Word is within their heart (Psalm 40:8). On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you truly delight in the Word of God? That weighs heavily on how much you will know and do God’s will.

Apart from the will of God, a Christian is unwise. Considering what He has done for us, how can we even think about living outside of the will of God (I Peter 4:2)? God has purposed that we understand His will and recognize that there is blessing attached to both knowing and doing it. He that doeth the will of God abideth forever (I John 2:17; Hebrews 10:36).

There are many misconceptions regarding God’s will.

  1. That it is difficult to discover: The difficulty only comes to those who are not sure they really want to know it. However, God will not withhold His will to those who walk after His ways. He will enable us to know what He expects us to know as we truly seek it in His Word.
  2. That it must conform to our will: What we want and what He wants are often two different things. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD (Isaiah 55:8). The psalmist wrote: I delight to do Thy will, O my God (Psalm 40:8). He did not qualify his commitment, but was ready to follow God’s will regardless of what the Lord might ask of him.
  3. That it is something distant: The will of God is for the here and now. Knowing and doing the will of God today is the key to knowing and doing the will of God in the future.
  4. Thinking that God’s will only applies to the big events in our lives: It is common to hear Christians speak of God’s will regarding major decisions college, marriage, vocation changes, etc. As God’s children, we should be seeking His direction daily.
  5. That it can never be difficult: God has special assignments for special saints and sometimes those assignments are hard to bear. Job experienced a most difficult assignment, one that brought much pain and sorrow into His life and yet in the end He profited far beyond the difficulty of what God allowed in his life. Closely related
  6. Thinking that if something becomes difficult, God is indicating we should be making changes: In John 14-17, Jesus instructed His disciples concerning their ministry once He departed from them. It was clear that they would face all kinds of difficulty but that did not change His will for them. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27). His last instruction to them was to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8).
  7. That it will be dangerous or difficult: Again, there may be some suffering in the will of god, but even then, we know that all things work together for good to those that love the Lord (Romans 8:28). Five missionaries lost their lives paving the way for the gospel to be brought to the Auca Indians (Huaorani people) in Ecuador. One of them, Jim Elliot, had earlier written in his diary: He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
  8. Believing God’s will is divided: First, there are some who think God’s can be divided between the sacred and the secular or just for certain areas of our lives, that we can do whatever we want other areas. Secondly, some think that discovering God’s will is like going to a mail order catalogue and ordering first, second, or third best. Actually, God has a perfect (first) plan for every life and He expects us to know and do it.
  9. Thinking that past failure makes it impossible to know God’s will or dooms us to second best: There are many examples in the Word of God of people who failed God, repented of their sin and were blessed and used of God. Peter, for example, denied Christ and was greatly used of God once his life was brought under the control of God’s Spirit.
  10. Thinking that we should do nothing until God reveals the specifics: Even when doors were closed Paul kept on serving the Lord. It was while he was busy seeking and serving that God gave him further instructions concerning His will.

Any believer who truly wants to know God’s will for their daily lives can find it. We are instructed in so many places of His Word. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground (Isaiah 44:3a). It really boils down to how much you really want to know God’s will. As for God, His way is perfect: the Word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him (Psalm 18:30).


George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.


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