Per WordPress statistics, the most popular post I’ve written – by far – was, The Will of God Will Never Take You Where the Grace of God Will Not Protect You (noted below). This would seem to show a huge interest within Christian faith as to God’s will – what it is, how do we know it and what can be expected when we follow the will of God.
Nicole states one can know whether something is the will of God by way of:
Asking God for is guidance.
Opening your mind and senses to hear Him.
Having faith like a child know that what you feel and believe is true.
Trusting your conscience as to right and wrong.
Believing that God always presents a path for us to follow.
Believing that everything happens for a reason.
Knowing that God has a plan for each one of us.
Accepting that we serve a purpose while we’re on this earth.
Realizing God will protect you.
Giving thanks to God for all that He does for you!
I’ve concluded that the will of God is better understood through the book, Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen who references the three singular aspects of the will of God:
- The sovereign will of God
- The moral will of God
- The personal will of God.
Nicole’s thoughts above all seem to reference the personal will of God. Yet, with just a little searching, it’s clear that Paul has a different perspective as to understanding and following the will of God. Consider:
1 Thess 3:1 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens.
Phil 2:25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.
1 Cor 16:4 If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.
Acts 6:2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.
Acts 15:25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Pau
Friesen says that Paul was exercising spiritual wisdom such that, in non-moral areas where there isn’t a Biblical command or principle, believers are free (and therefore responsible) to make whatever decisions they deem best. Yes, there are instances where God leads individuals. However, that direct guidance appears to be the exception and not the rule and is related to protecting Israel (OT) or evangelism (NT).
To understand what God’s will encompasses for believers, one needs to look no further than Romans 12. And it’s intuitively obvious to this most casual observer that God is more concerned about our actions and our behaviors. Consider:
Rom 12:1 Dedicate your body to God
Rom 12:2 Be transformed, be the new person that you are
Rom 12:3 Don’t overestimate yourself, rate your own ability soberly
Rom 12:6-7 Use your gift and give yourself to it
Rom 12:9 Love with sincerity
Rom 12:9 Hate evil and turn from it
Rom 12:9 Hold fast to that which is good
Rom 12:10 Love one another, prefer one another
Rom 12:11 Never lag in zeal and earnest endeavor
Rom 12:11 Be aglow with the spirit, serving the Lord
Rom 12:12 Rejoice and exult in hope
Rom 12:12 Be steadfast under pressure
Rom 12:12 Be patient in suffering
Rom 12:12 Be constantly in prayer
Rom 12:13 Give
Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you
Rom 12:15 Share others’ lives, give of yourself
Rom 12:16 Live in harmony, adjust
Rom 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil
Rom 12:17 Be honest and above reproach, avoid the appearance of evil
Rom 12:18 Live at peace with everyone
Rom 12:19 Avenge not yourself
Rom 12:20 Do good to your enemies
Rom 12:21 Overcome evil with good
There is nothing from this passage related to God’s will pertaining to the ordinary kinds of decisions everyone has to make including what house to buy, whom to marry, whether to accept a specific job, etc. Garry Friesen from his book, Decision Making and the Will of God states that any decision made which does not violate God’s moral laws is acceptable to God and even brings about honor and glory to him. Commensurate with different gifts talents and abilities, Christians have a lot of freedom in exercising how they live out “God’s will” in their lives. So long as believers don’t violate what God has clearly stated as to his revealed (aka moral) will, there’s no reason for Christians to worry about “missing God’s will”. God will take care of his sovereign will. We’re responsible for following God’s moral will. And if there’s a personal will which God desires for someone, then that personal will shall be predicated on evangelism and expanding God’s kingdom. Following the will of God is a rather simple thing – not that it won’t be difficult at times. And some might say that it’s impossible. To which, I think that is in part what grace is all about.
In conclusion, following God’s will:
- In moral decisions, Christians are to live in obedience to the stated moral will of God.
- And, in non-moral decisions, Christians are free to choose their own course of action.
And leaving everything else to God is best.