Is God actually interested in what happens to us as individuals? Does God have a master plan for each of our lives? The answer to these questions is yes and yes.
God does have a master plan for our lives. God does want to reveal His will to us.
I do not believe that, as a Christian, I am a victim of chance, hoping my luck doesn’t run out. I don’t even like to use the word “luck,” because I really don’t believe in it. Being a Christian, I believe in something called providence, which means that I believe there is a plan that God has for me – and for you as well.
People have different views of the will of God, however. Some imagine the will of God as something that God effectively hides from us, sort of like a divine Easter Bunny who has put away the golden egg somewhere, and maybe as you get closer, he will give you little hints. You are getting warmer. … You are getting warmer. But no, that is not it.
Others have a concept of the will of God as something horrible or undesirable, sort of like a diet. I hate diets. The very word says it all: “die,” plus the letter “t.” It is really about dying, isn’t it? Every diet always takes out good stuff. I am waiting for the all-pizza diet, or a diet that includes hamburgers or milkshakes or nachos or things like those. All of the stuff I typically like to eat is out of “the diet,” and you can’t have any of things. That is how some people see God. They view His will as boring at best and miserable at worst.
Both of these views are incorrect. There is joy being in the will of God. The apostle Paul wrote to the Christian churches in Rome, “By the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart” (Romans 15:32 NLT).
There is joy and peace in the will of God. But when you are outside the will of God, there is misery and turmoil. The most miserable man or woman is the person who knows what is right and does not do it. When you know what is right and are running away from it, your life will be especially hard.
God wants to reveal His will to you. And if you are a true Christian, then you should desire to know and walk in the will of God.
Jesus modeled this for us in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he prayed to the Father, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22:42 NLT).
In what is known as the Lord’s Prayer (which is really a model for all prayer), Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 NLT).
He taught them – and us – to always pray for the will of God in our lives. God wants to reveal His plan and purpose to us, so we should set our lives in the direction of knowing God’s will. The focus of the believer should be to find God’s will and walk in it.
The very essence of the Christian life is doing God’s will. The psalmist put it this way: “I take joy in doing your will, my God” (Psalm 40:8 NLT). Every Christian should anxiously delight in knowing and doing the will of God.
So how do we know the will of God? Time for an honest admission: This is not an easy question to answer. I have found that the will of God is not always easy to discern. I would like to tell you that every morning when I wake up, God speaks to me in an audible voice: Greg, welcome this morning. I have a plan for you. And should you decide to accept this plan. But it is not like that at all.
Here is a place to begin. Sometimes we are crying out to God, “Lord, show me your will!” when we are holding the answer in our hands. God’s will is revealed in the pages of Scripture. That would be like waiting an e-mail or text with directions telling you what you should do, but you never open it. In the same way, God has revealed his plan and his purpose, but we must study the Scripture to know what it is.
David wrote, “Teach me to do your will” (Psalm 143:10 NLT). Notice he said, “Teach me …” This carries the assumption that it is not a matter of information, but obedience. Sometimes I think the problem is not that we don’t know the will of God; it is that we don’t like the will of God.
I have a granddaughter who engages in selective hearing. She hears me when I am saying things like, “Let’s watch a cartoon” or “The cookies are on the shelf.” But when it is something else, like, “Pick that up,” all of the sudden it is as though I never said it.
We are that way with God sometimes. It is not that we don’t know His will; it is that we don’t like His will. Therefore, we act as though we don’t know it when, deep down inside, we really do. The Bible says, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” (James 4:17 NLT).
So here is a question I have for you: Do you know something is the will of God for your life, yet you are not doing it? If that is the case, then let me say this: Obedience to revealed truth guarantees guidance in matters unrevealed. In other words, if you know the will of God and are not doing it, then it could effectively shut down communication until you deal with it.
In every Christian’s life, there will come a Gethsemane of sorts, a place where obedience overrules personal desire, a place where we pray, “I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Never be afraid to commit an unknown future to a known God, to a God who loves you, to a God who promises in Romans 8:28 that he will work all things “together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (NKJV).