Monday, July 11, 2016

God's will for you and me

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Colossians 1:1-14

TO CHEW ON: "For this reason we all, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." Colossians 1:9

Perhaps the greatest longing in the heart of every Jesus lover is to do God's will. And yet that will often seems unclear. Is it His will that I study nursing or pharmacy. Marry Jeff or Doug? Buy a house or continue to rent? Move close to the kids, or stay in the community where my friends are?

A little study of "God's will" through the Bible may not answer the detailed specifics of life for us, but it can give us some principles of how to discover and do God's will.

  • It starts with a heart decision—at least it did for David - Psalm 40:8. Many years later, Paul still talked of a doing God's will in a wholehearted way - Ephesians 6:6.
  • Prayer is involved. The psalmist prayed "Teach me to do Your will..." (Psalm 143:10). Jesus prayed, "'Your kingdom come, Your will be done...'" (Matthew 6:10). In our reading Paul told the Colossians that he prayed they would know God's will (Colossians 1:9).
  • Christ is an example of knowing and doing God's will. Jesus often said: "This is the will of God." He said it about Father God not willing that any soul given to Him should be lost and that all who believe in Him should have everlasting life (John 6:39, 40). He talked about how doing God's will was His very food (John 4:34) and proved it when, in Gethsemane, He faced the enormity of what doing God's would mean, still said "'Not what I will but what You will'" - Mark 14:36.
  • Doing God's will unfolds spiritual knowledge (John 7:17). It's as if we understand God's will not so much by learning about it intellectually, but by doing it (Romans 12:2).
  • However, doing God's will may not make for the easiest, most trouble-free life. Peter spoke about how doing the will of God may involve suffering (1 Peter 3:17; 4:1-2), and James reminds us that God's will means we are not the masters of our fate (James 4:13-15) {as if we ever were in any case!}.

In the end, which follower of Jesus would want to do anything but seek to do the will of the One who gave His life for us, and who promises, in return, to answer our prayers ( 1 John 3:22; 5:14), save us from destruction (1 John 2:17), and gift us with eternal life (John 6:40)?

PRAYER: Dear God, please school me in the ways of Your will. May my appetite to do Your will be a reflection of Jesus' words: "My food is to do the will of Him ... and to finish His work." Amen.

MORE: More on knowing God's will
"At first we want the consciousness of being guided by God, then as we go on we live so much in the consciousness of God that we do not need to ask what His will is, because the thought of choosing any other will never occur to us. If we are saved and sanctified God guides us by our ordinary choices, and if we are going to choose what He does not want, He will check, and we must heed. Whenever there is doubt, Stop at once. Never reason it out and say - "I wonder why I shouldn't?" God instructs us in what we choose, that is, He guides our common sense, and we no longer hinder His Spirit by continually saying - "Now, Lord, what is Thy will?" - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, June 3 reading (emphasis added).

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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