2001-07-11 - The Will of God
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.
Today as David goes on a Summer sabbatical, we begin the Summer series that we have been doing for a few years. This series gives you the chance to ask questions, on any topic, and then on Wednesdays, I try to answer them as I am able. There are no forbidden topics. We have covered topics like masturbation, homosexuality, relationship issues, theological issues, you name it. The only thing I ask is that you keep the length of the questions reasonable. I usually reproduce the questions, and if they are very long it is hard to have much space left to attempt an answer. I never say who gives me the questions to anyone (not even my wife). If you give me your name in the question, I will change it. I will also change cities and anything else that might give away who is asking the question. So if you begin, "My name is John and I live in Chicago," it might read, "my name is Fred and I live in Florida." Hopefully this protects anyone who submits a question.
Today I would like to tackle a question that someone asked me a few days ago. Boiled down, the question was, "How can I know the will of God in my life?" This is, of course, one of those ultimate questions that almost all of us struggle with. I can only begin to scratch the surface here.
The easy answer is that God has revealed His will for us in the Bible. For example, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality." 1 Thessalonians 4:3 Just by reading the Bible, we can know for certain that God's will for us is that we do not practice immoral sexual relations. Many areas of our lives can be figured out this way. The first principle, if you would like to know the will of God, is to look into His revelation to us.
However, to answer a question like, "Is it God's will that I marry Joe," there is not a verse that says, "Susan, you should marry Joe." So there is a little more than simply looking at the Bible for specific questions. We have prayer, the counsel of Christian friends, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The role of the Spirit in our lives can't be underestimated. Frankly, one of the most overlooked verses in the Bible is Romans 8:26: "And in the same way, the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." The role of the Spirit in our lives, regarding prayer and answers to our prayers, needs to be a central aspect of our lives as Christians.
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." John 14:26 The role of the Spirit in showing us the will of God for our lives is clear here. The leading of the Spirit is a mysterious thing. In prayer, we seek the Spirit's guidance, and the Spirit, as promised by Christ above, will teach us all things. The presupposition here is that we need to be praying people.
There is a common view that to say that God's will is done on Earth and Heaven (Matthew 6:10) results in determinism. However, it is part of God's Omniscience and Omnipotence that if He wills something, it must be accomplished. To say anything less is to limit God. Part of understanding God's will for us is to understand that His will is done. This also can lead to many questions and struggles for those who trust Christ and yet experience hardships along the road of life. But to maintain that God's will is not done leads to even greater problems for the Christian.
I look forward to your questions.
Soli Deo Gloria,