What is the will of God?
IntroductionI wrote this document after stumbling across some verses that deal with the will of God. It seems out there in Christianity that there seems to be some confusion as to what the will of God for an individual's life is. It seems that at least several people I have talked to personally about this are not sure what God's specific will is for their life. I can understand this, but it seems that mentally as we desire to know what specifically God wants us to do, we forget all the other parts of God's will that apply to all Christians. I write this, hoping that I can encourage Christians to not let knowing the specific will of God for their life discourage them into not fulfilling the other tenants of God's will for their life.
What Is A Will?The will of God is God's desire. When we speak of the will of God we are not referring to God's last will and testament (as if God could die) but to what God wants: His volition. Dictionary.com Unabridged 1.1 defines the will as "6.the wish or purpose as carried out, or to be carried out: to work one's will." and "4.wish or desire: to submit against one's will." We find in Thesaurus.com 1.1 that other words which can be used synonymously are choice, command, and intention.
So What Is God's Will?I took the liberty of recording some verses which I found would be helpful. First, I will list parts of the Bible that specificlaly say "the will of God." All quotes are copyright, Nelson Publishers, New King James Version:
1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.
First, it is the will of God, verbatum, that we should abstain from sexual immorality. The term "sexual immorality" is very broad, and covers cheating on your spouse, having sex before marriage, and lust (which is sexual immorality in the mind and heart; see Matthew 5:27-30). Ironically, God called us to holiness, meaning that this is God's desire, and he expressed it to us ("called").
1 Peter 2:13-16 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
It is God's will that you obey authorities (federal and local).
What else does God want?Any time the Bible lists something that God wants you to do, you should do it. This is God's will for your life, hence why He tells you to do it. You cannot call Him Lord (which means Master) if you're not going to obey Him.
There are many things that God tells us to do that are listed in the Bible, and I will not list them all here. However, I'd like to focus on some very specific ones that I think are most important: a few that will change your life.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Instead of waitting for a specific revelation from God as to how to spend your time and what to do with your life, you could rely on the default task which all Christians were given: go and tell the world about Jesus. It's that simple. No matter what Jesus specifically tells you to do in the future, it's almost always going to be tied to the concept of telling the world about Jesus.
James 1:26-27 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
So this is what God wants. Keep yourself pure and holy (as much as is possible; see Romans 3:9-20).
John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments."
Jesus said it Himself. Do you love Jesus in return? Do what He says. This does not mean that we must become legalistic and try to "prove ourselves" to God: God knows all things. It's rather our rational response:
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
It is God's mercy that makes us want to live properly.
Matthew 8:3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
God is willing to heal. However, know God's will: don't assume that God intends always to heal.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
God wants us to repent and be reconciled to Him. Those who would persuade others of God's love and desire to reconcile all mankind to Himself would do good.