Understanding What God’s Will Is

A forenote to the reader: As this series of articles is written especially for you, know that these writings are not directed toward only you. This is not meant to be an attack on young people, but rather, an encouragement. As young adults, middle-aged adults, and even aged adults, we all constantly strive to know and do the will of God. It is my prayer that God’s name alone will be praised, and that he will use these weak means to build us up in the faith; and give us an increased desire to grow in our knowledge and love for him, our God and Savior.

Dear precious child of God. You live in a day in which you are increasingly bombarded with a gospel of selfishness. Everywhere you look, everywhere you go in this world, you are told that life is all about YOU. The music, the television, the advertisements. Do whatever makes YOU feel good. Say what gives YOU the praise. Wear what makes YOU look good. Seek a career in which YOU can build great wealth in order to achieve what YOU want. When you’re on a date, do whatever makes YOU feel good.

But, dear precious child of God, I ask you this: Who are you? You are the sons and daughters of God. John 1:12: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” You have been bought with a price, and you belong to Christ. I Corinthians 6:19-20: “What? Know we not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” As God’s child, you have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. II Timothy 1:7: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” You are to labor in your holy calling. II Timothy 1:9: “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” You are risen with Christ, and therefore called to set your affection on things above. Colossians 3:1-2: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” You are commanded to do God’s will. Matthew 7:21: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”; and Ephesians 6:6: “but as the servants of Christ; doing the will of God from the heart.”

Exactly what is God’s will? Scripture tells us that God’s will consists of two aspects. His will of decree (Eph. 1:5: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”), and his will of command (Matt. 7:21: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”). God’s will of decree includes everything that God has foreordained and that will ever come to pass. His will of command reveals everything that man ought to do and be. They are not the same, yet there is no conflict between them. Our focus of study in the following articles, Lord willing, will be on God’s will of command.

Each day, you have very important and seemingly not-so-important decisions to make. Decisions about how you will dress. The entertainment you will seek. How you will conduct yourself on a date. How you will use the gifts and talents God has given you. Yes, God’s will of decree is his sovereign determination of all things that happens in your life. But that does not give you a free pass to say, “well, God has saved me; I will always be his, so I can live as I please.” Quite the opposite. Romans 6:1-2: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” You are responsible to God for your decisions. He has blessed you with his word to be your guide. Your decisions must be made according to God’s written will. Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” And Psalm 40:8: “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” Many decisions you must make do not come down to two choices; that of right or wrong. For instance, when you are deciding which pair of jeans to purchase, there is no detailed, written law in Scripture as to what is right or wrong for the child of God. But, you must use God’s word to determine your decision. You must ask yourself, “Am I choosing this pair of jeans because it’s what Hollywood tells me is what I should wear?” Or, is your purchase determined by your focus on what is pleasing and honoring to God? The desire in your life must be to serve God, and to do his will. Psalm 40:8 speaks of David’s confession: “I delight to do thy will, O my God.” As a child of God, your focus in all things must be doing the will of God. You must first consider what he wants and commands you to do and be.

This is the exact opposite of what you hear in the music, and see on the TV and magazines and billboard advertisements. The “rule” of today’s world is self-fulfillment. The devil is very pleased with this rule that the world is feeding you constantly. He is always attacking you, working constantly to turn you away from God. I Peter 5:8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” He knows that the day of Christ’s return is near, so he is using all his hosts to attack you. Dear child of God, take up the armor of God, the Gospel, the Word of Truth. Search the Scriptures to know what the will of God is for you. Trust in God alone to guide your decisions. Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Don’t look to Hollywood, or a worldly music star. Don’t listen to the devil when he shouts to you “just do what you want, you’re young, have fun now!” When he whispers in your ear, “if you don’t follow the crowd everyone will laugh at you, you’ll have no friends, no fun,” shout back at him to get behind you. Tell him what he is: the liar.

Go to the source of truth. Go to your heavenly Father. Pray. Often. For everything. I Peter 5:7: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Pray for each other. Pray with each other. And be assured that your parents, grandparents, friends, and fellow saints in the body of Christ diligently pray for you as well. Through constant prayer you will come to know God’s will for you. Hebrews 4:16: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” When you face a decision, be it large or small, seek him in prayer. Ask him to make his will know to you. How does he show you his will? Does he whisper in your ear the answer? Or perform a miracle? Or give you a vision? No. Only by God’s grace (the pure preaching of the Word being the chiefest means of grace) and in the way of studying his Word he will guide you in all truth. I Peter 5:8a: “Be sober, be vigilant,” and I Peter 5:10: “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” Seek the Scriptures. Alone. Together with your friends. Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Living as a child of God in this godless world is not easy. God doesn’t promise ease and comfort and fun in this life. To the contrary, since we are pilgrims and strangers on this earth, he promises suffering. Philippians 1:29: “ For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” Also, Romans 8:17-18: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

But, dear child of God, do not be discouraged. He also promises you an eternal reward. Colossians 3:4: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Also, Colossians 3:24: “Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ.” It is a reward far greater than any praise of man, far greater than any pleasure on this earth. It is the reward of eternal life with him; a life of perfection, with no suffering, no sorrow; a life of everlasting joy in perfect praise of our creator. As his child, he equips you to do his will while you are on your pilgrimage here below. He has given you the armor of salvation, righteousness, peace and faith. So may you live a life of thankfulness to him for his great gift of salvation. And may you strive to know and do his will. I Peter 5:11: “To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

Additional Sources of Reference

Doctrine According to Godliness by Rev. Ronald Hanko. RFPA, 2004. p. 79

Standard Bearer, Rev. Garret Eriks, Volume 81, Issue 3, and Volume 81, Issue 15, “Making Decisions According to God’s Will”