Saturday, September 11, 2010

Finding God's Will: God's Desired Will

Another of the other ways that the Scriptures talk about God’s will is in the way that I have called His desired will. God’s desire is that we, as His creatures, would obey Him and walk in His ways. Yet God has also created us as creatures with a will, and it does not always align with God’s will, does it? 1 Timothy 2:4 says that God “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Yet not all men are saved, are they? This is where the human responsibility side of the divine sovereignty and human responsibility side of discussion enters in. God has a plan and purpose which will be fulfilled, yet we can, and do, choose to either obey or disobey His desired will.

Now when it comes to the Christian life in particular and not just humans in general, we have a huge number of commands from God. The whole Bible is saturated with them, isn’t it? Why? Because God wants us to know His desired will for our lives. If we will obey them, we will not only avoid sinning, we’ll also experience growth in Christian maturity, and all the blessings that come from experiencing the fellowship with God for which we were made. So, just to cite a few examples, God tells us in Exodus 20, “Do not worship any other gods…do not misuse the Lord’s name…do not murder... commit adultery... steal... lie... [or] covet.” There are hundreds of other places, both Old and New Testament that give God’s will in all kinds of moral matters like that. But there all also commands that have to do with how to faithfully live life as a Christian.

We have commands that apply to us all on an individual level. In 1 Peter 2:1-2, Peter writes “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” In other words, if we want to live faithfully as Christ’s followers, then we have to take in God’s Word. We’re also to seek the Lord and trust Him in all our circumstances, just like Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The intake of the word, by which God speaks to us, and prayer, by which we speak to God, are the basics of the Christian life.

But of course Christianity isn’t a solitary belief system is it? According to the book of Hebrews, we must “not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” (10:25). In other words, being a Christian necessarily includes being part of a church family and being with them regularly. And of course, there are also instructions about what we’re to do as part of a church family. In 1 Peter 4:8-10, the apostle writes, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” We’re to love one another from the heart, and let our love for one another smooth over the difficulties that we encounter in relationship with each other. We’re to demonstrate that love in opening our homes and lives to each other. We’re to use our spiritual gift or gifts to serve each other. And this relationship we have with others even includes our financial commitments, as 2 Corinthians 9:7 says: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

And of course, God has a desired will for our family life too. In Ephesians 5:22, He tells wives to submit to their husbands and then in the next verse tells husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the Church and died for it. In 6:1 of the same book, God says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” To summarize then, there’s no area of life about which God has not expressed his will about how we should live. And since He is the Creator and designer of life itself, it seems to me wise that we should listen amen?

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