Determining When We Get Out of the Will of God

George Stiekes

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:17

We know that Peter was out of the will of God when he was following Christ AFAR OFF. I wish I could say that I was constantly in the will of God. I know that Peter would have felt the same way, but our human nature (the old man) tends to take over when we are not conscience of doing God’s will.

Much has been made of the Greek words used in the discussion between Jesus and Peter in John 21.

♦ agape — This word speaks of affection and benevolence. Some have said that it is to love in a social or moral sense. It is often translated charity in our English translations. Agape is frequently used of divine love which denotes purpose as well as affection.

♦ phileo — This word speaks of affinity, friendship and fondness, to be fond of someone or to have affection for as a matter of principle and duty.

Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him (agape) in John 20:15 and Peter answered that he did (phileo). Jesus asked him a second time and the same words are used. Finally, Jesus asked him one more time in John 21:17. The third time, Jesus used the word phileo and Peter responded with phileo. Actually, both words represent a high degree of love and are both used of God’s love for us and His Son (John 3:16; 5:20; 14:21; 16:27).

Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep and we should note that a willingness to feed sheep is evidence of love for the Lord. The word feed takes in all other shepherding activity.

Note also that Jesus asked Peter the question three times. Peter could not help but recall that he had denied the Lord three times. It should also be noted that when we do not have a pure, appreciative, intense sense of love for Christ, we are probably not walking in the will of God.

So how do we get back into the will of God? Actually, you already know the answer. Knowing the will of God is very important to our willingness to do it. That is not going to happen when there is unconfessed sin in our lives. Sin keeps the believer from knowing the will of God (Isaiah 59:1, 2; Proverbs 28:13; Psalm 66:18; 119:97-101; I John 1:9). No spiritual progress takes place when sin is allowed to reign in a believer’s life (Psalm 32; 51; Matthew 5:8; Romans 6:6-23). Willful sin is a definite hindrance to knowing God’s will.

Secondly, acknowledge that God has a specific will and plan for your life both short and long term (Romans 12:1,2; II Timothy 1:9; John 14:21). We must remember that God knows the future. Job declared, He knoweth the way that I take (Job 23:10). Before making a hasty decision, be willing to ask a number of questions. Example: A. Will this decision bring glory to my Lord (Isaiah 43:7; I Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 1:6, 12). B. Will this decision honor God? C. Will it be appropriate for who I am as a child of God? D. Can I honestly ask God to assist me in achieving this direction? E. How will it affect others – friends, family, neighbors and others?

Third, recognize that God wants you to know His will. It is your responsibility to seek it out. We must not be unwise about this matter (Ephesians 5:17). The Word of God is filled with direction for being in the will of God. He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God (Micah 6:8).

Fourth: When making decisions, purposely set your own will aside (Luke 22:42). Self-will is a direct hindrance to knowing God’s will. God is not going to reveal His will to you if you already have your mind made up as to what you are going to do.

Fifth: Purpose to assume the biblical role of a bond-slave – totally surrendered to your Master. You must determine if Jesus Christ is truly Lord in your life. If you have truly made Him Lord you can grant the Holy Spirit of God absolute control in your life. He is the agent of God for control or filling (Galatians 5:16, 22, 23; Colossians 3:16). These being true in your life, direction will come through God’s Spirit Who is the agent of change.

A. God communicates His will to believers through the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18; Acts 8:24; 11:12; 16:7).

B. The Spirit of God teaches us the will of God in the Word of God (John 14:26; 16:13, 14).

C. The Spirit of God implants God’s Word into our lives as we surrender to Him (Jer. 31:31, 33; Ezek. 36:25-27).

D. The Spirit of God helps us in our praying so that we can seek His will (Rom. 8:26, 27; John 14:16; Eph. 6:18).

E. The Spirit of God leads the children of God (Rom. 8:14).

Thank God today for the wisdom and insight He grants in your life as you truly seek His will. Thank Him for His sure direction in His Word and then choose to live accordingly.

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.