Not my will, but Thy will
Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
But only the one who does the will of God will enter the kingdom of heaven….
As a Christian adhering to the perfect will of God must be our priority. Obeying the will of God is the secret to true happiness on earth as well as the spending eternity in heaven.
Understanding the sovereignty God – God is a sovereign means He is Supreme and has control over everyone and all situations. There is nothing that happens without God’s prior knowledge. The sovereign plans of God, will always come to pass without failing. The devil’s schemes or man’s actions cannot thwart the sovereign plan of God. God has a way of working all things together in order to fulfill His sovereign will and purpose. Ephesians 1:11 explains, in Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will. There is nothing that happens that is outside of God’s will. The sovereign will of God contains His secret decrees and foreordain plans. In Isaiah 46:10, God says “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”
The perfect will of God, is God’s perfect, ideal, faultless, best, original, plan for our lives. This plan for our lives is the most pleasing to God. God knows what is best for His children and what we desire the most, more than we even do. Pursing the perfect will of God is the true key to joy and satisfaction in life. This is what God divinely arranges for our lives. Roman 12:2b “Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will”. The perfect will of God is what Jesus urged us to pray about in Matthew 6:10, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”. The perfect will of God is God’s divine plan for your life. From the Word of God, God explicitly commands all Christians to do particular things which are in line with the will of God for our lives-which we will refer to us the will of command here. Some of these are:
Sanctification: 1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God
Give thanks in all circumstance: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Holiness: Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Righteousness; Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Evangelism: Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
The second point on our knowledge of God's will is, God’s will in relation to our personal lives: The will of God is not the same for all His children. God has specific unique plans for each individual. Particular ministerial callings, career paths, educational routes, among others. The Holy Spirit helps leads and direct us to God ordained will for our lives.
Although God has a perfect will for our lives, He does not force us to adhere to His will. God gives us the option to either choose His perfect will or follow our own desires (which is the wrong way). But when we don’t follow God’s perfect will it creates lot difficulties and problems in our lives.
When God’s perfect will and our desires crash
Adhering to God’s perfect will brings peace, prosperity, happiness and true fulfillment. However, it is up to us to choose whether to obey God’s will or follow our own will. We often face the temptation to follow our own desires instead of obeying to God’s will. Not obeying God’s will is sin and at the end, the consequences harm us greatly. James 4:17, “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. God truly hates sin; judgment will be pronounced on the who deliberately sins. Most of the problems, setbacks and frustrations we face stem from disobeying God’s will. Galatians 6:7 admonishes “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”. The Bible gives numerous examples of people who disobeyed God’s will and the dire weight and consequences they had to endure. For example, in Numbers 22, God directed Balaam not to go and curse the Israelites. Balaam disobeyed God’s initial perfect will and decided to go- God sent an angel to kill Balaam. God graciously spared Balaam life. 1 Samuel 8, also talks about how God’s perfect will was that the Israelites never have a king. But they rejected God’s perfect will and craved for a king- this led to many other problems- Most of the kings the Israelites took made them suffer a lot. At times God permits that which He does not desire or commend but then we have to bear the consequences of pain, sorrow, problems and setbacks.
Choices (We have to make a choice to obey God’s will)
In life we have to make lots of choices daily. Our choices must fall in line with the will of God and be pleasing to God as well. Every decision in we take in life is a choice – and all our choices must glorify God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 reads “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Seemingly, small decisions we take today can have such significant consequences on our future and destiny. We must therefore ensure we protect ourselves from making wrong choices. As we grow older the consequences of everyday choices, we make will become much clearer. The original choices we make daily may seem like not a big deal, but the outcome of our choices could be life-changing.
Choices we make
The most important choice we will make
The most important choice we must make is to repent, follow and obey Jesus Christ for the rest of our lives. We must decide to love God with all our heart, strength and might. God tells us to put him first, Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”. God tells us to put Him first, to obey Him and thus choose eternal life and blessings Ecclesiastes 12:13 also reads “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man”.
Choose to have an on-going relationship with God. Choose daily to improve on your relationship with God, draw closer to Him through prayer and Bible studies. James 4:8 "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you”. Invest in spiritual things as well as win souls for Christ.
All other decisions in life should contribute toward this ultimate choice of obeying God. We must avoid decisions that will distract us from putting God and His righteousness first in our life.
Each day we must make a myriad of choices, all we do must glorify God and must be holy and pleasing to God. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”. Luke 9:23, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Daily we must choose to do obey God’s perfect will in every decision we take.
When we talk: As Christians we must choose not to speak like unbelievers. We must not use curse words, profane words, insults among others
-Matthew 12:36, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every idle word they have spoken.”
-1 peter 3:10, “For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.”
-Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Actions: we must act like Jesus in everything we do- 1 John 2:6 reads “the one who says he abides in Jesus ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked”. Daily we must love and act like Christ did. The more Christ-like you are, the more lost you are in the pursuit of the will of God than your own will.
Dressing: Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We must dress decently and not conform to the patterns of this world – we must glorify God in the way we dress.
Thoughts: Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”. Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
The music we listen to/ what we hear/what we watch: Ecclesiastes 7:5,” It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools”. Colossians 3:16, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts”.
The friends we choose: 1 Corinthians 15:33, Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
3)Specific choices for every individual: Ministerial calling/ Educational paths/ Career paths/Marital choices.
God’s will in relation to our personal lives: The will of God is not the same for all His children. God has specific unique plans for each and every individual. Particular ministerial callings, career paths, educational routes among others. It may not be explicitly stated in the bible the particular school to go to, the spouse to choose at the right time, which particular area of ministry to serve. We must depend on the Holy Spirit to personally lead us to God ordained paths for our lives. We must depend on the Holy Spirit to speak to us personally. Don’t depend on other people to hear God on your behalf, you must depend on God to speak to you directly.
a) Ministerial choices: Everybody must serve God and perform a particular duty in church. God has given every church member unique gifts, talents, personalities and exposures we are to use for the benefit of the church. Depending on the gift God has given you, you must serve in an area of church. God also requires that everybody evangelizes.
b) Educational/Career/Professional choices: In whatever path the Lord leads us to, we must be discipled, hard-working and diligent. If we allow our bodies to be lazy and undisciplined, we will suffer the consequences of not following the will of God. Colossians 3:23, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
Hinderance in following God’s will
We often face the temptation to not choose God’s will through:
1)Fear- fear of the outcome
2) Deception by the enemy
3)Pleasing others instead of God.
4)Not fully trusting God
5) Following the worldly trends/ peer pressure.
6)Our desires :1peter 4:2, “You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God”.
How to make the right choices and know God’s will
(1) The Bible. The Bible should always be our guide in life. We must cultivate the habit of reading, understanding and knowing what the Bible says. For every single choice we make we make, we must ensure it does not conflict with God’s word. Once God’s Words are disobeyed it brings problems and setbacks in our lives. For every choice we make daily, we must ask ourselves will it glorify God? Will God be pleased? Is the choice, biblically right? If you want to know the will of God - immerse yourself in God’s Word.
(2) By the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Suppose we are in doubt as to whether we should take a particular course at school, follow a particular career path or go to particular place – These are not explicitly stated in the bible. But in such cases, we must depend on the Holy Spirit to direct us. The Holy Spirit can personally direct us and prompt us. As your relationship with God deepens you will be able to recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice. The Holy Spirt is available to all, thus we must not depend on another person to hear the Holy Spirit on our behalf. Psalm 32:8,I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye. You may make your plans, but God directs your actions. (Proverbs 16:9). Romans 8:14,” For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”
Word of caution: Currently, most people depend solely on prophets to tell them what God is saying, but we must depend on hearing God for ourselves… God desires to speak us personally. Many people depend heavily on prophets to determine what the Lord is saying, however there is great danger here, because there are lots of false prophets around. The Bible assures as that these false prophets will mislead many people. You must hear God for yourself. (you may later read the story of the man who was misled by a prophet. 1kings 13:11-25)
1John 4:1, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Matthew 24:11, “and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people”
Trust in God’s choices and his will as the best for you
Benefits of obeying God’s will
John 9:31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does His will.
Mark 3:35, “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother”.
1John 2:17, “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
God knows what’s best for his children
God desires to give us the best of gifts so we should trust that we will never regret God’s choice for us in the long run. (Psalm 81:6, I will feed Israel with the finest wheat, satisfying you with honey from the rock.)
Jesus passion to accomplish the will of God
Jesus Himself lived for that, prayed for the will of God to be accomplished in His life.
In John 6:38 Jesus said, "I came down from heaven not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me."
Matthew 26:42 “Oh Father God, let this cup, this cup of wrath pass from Me. Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done"
John 4:34, “Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.”
Ephesian 5:15-17, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is”.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20b “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you, life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to Him.