There are so many books, blog posts, and sermons about finding God’s will. Every Christian seems to be searching for God’s will for their lives. How can we know what His will is? Why doesn’t He just tell us?
This thing of God’s will remains a bit of a mystery to those of us who long to follow biblical principles. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought recently. It all started with a bit of commentary I read by Henry Morris–
“This could be read: ‘If any man sincerely wants to do His will, he shall know…’ Thus the first prerequisite to ascertaining God’s leading in some matter, or the truth about some doctrinal question, is a genuine willingness to believe the truth and to follow God’s will before they are made known, even if the answer goes against one’s preference.”
I am not sure why but this really struck me.
When we think of God’s will, we always think about the big decisions in life: Who do I marry? Which job should I take? Should I buy this house?
But isn’t knowing God’s will so much more than just these occasional big decisions?
A little later on that day, I was just sitting down to eat lunch when my husband came in, making a request of me. My flesh wanted to quip a smart remark and tell him to wait. But, suddenly, the thought came to me: What is God’s will in this situation?
I knew what His will was. It was that I treat my husband kindly and do what he asked.
Throughout the rest of the week, time and time again, I was faced with these seemingly unimportant situations and this same thought would come to me: What is God’s will for my life right now?
And I suddenly realized something: I was faced with knowing exactly what God’s will was time and time again and made a choice not to do His will because I didn’t prefer it. My flesh didn’t like it or it was just too hard and so I made a choice to not follow God’s will.
Here are some ways we choose not to follow God’s will each and every day, even though we know exactly what His will is–
We respond unkindly, even though we know that God’s will for our lives is to be kind to others. (Ephesians 4:32)
We don’t take the time to listen to someone because we are busy doing something that could easily wait, even though we know God wants us to put others ahead of self. (Philippians 2:3-4)
We choose to waste time staring at our devices or the TV instead of doing something productive, even though we know God doesn’t want us to waste time. (Ephesians 5:16-17)
We choose to ignore prayer and Bible reading rather than make it a priority, even though God makes it clear that we need to know His Word and spend time with Him. (Matthew 6:33; John 15:5)
See what I mean? I could give so many more examples. I am sure you probably could, too.
We don’t speak up about Christ because we are afraid of what others will think. We don’t discipline our kids because we want them to like us. We don’t love others because they are mean and unkind to us. We don’t test and compare the things a teacher or author are saying against scripture because what they say makes us feel good. These things are clearly shown in scripture to be God’s will and yet we choose not to do them.
And I can’t help but think that we if we don’t prefer to actively pursue God’s will in these things, then why would we choose to obey the Lord in the big ones?
We are given a thousand opportunities to follow God’s revealed will every single day of our lives. And yet we so often choose not to do so. As I reflected on this, I realized that we often relegate these little choices to “personality” (Oh, I get angry, that’s just who I am or I don’t really like to read so I don’t need to read the Bible) OR we believe them to be insignificant–as if somehow they don’t really matter with so much other more important stuff going on in life.
But then I am reminded of this verse from Luke 16:10:
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
I believe the principle of this verse applies to multiple situations, including today’s topic.
How important it is that we are faithful in following God’s will in the little things, so that we have a heart and mind prepared for following His will in the big things.
Sometimes we do not want to follow God’s will. This is when we must train ourselves to do so, anyway. We must raise ourselves above our unreliable, treacherous feelings and make the right choice.
So, you see, as life generally goes, we already know what God’s will is. We just don’t really want to follow it. Oh, we do in theory but when it comes to actually putting our desires into action, we so often fail.
Perhaps this is the beginning of knowing God’s will: Actively doing what we already know to be His will. Doing so will make us much more likely to follow His will when those big decisions come along. We will have trained ourselves to be ready and willing to obey, no matter which way God directs and no matter what we prefer.