by Josh Martin, Resonate Pullman pastor
“God works in mysterious ways.”
“When God closes a door, He opens a window.”
“God never brings you to things you can’t handle.”
“God would never want you to be unhappy or uncomfortable.”
“God will send you a husband/wife as soon as you are satisfied without one.”
And my all time favorite… “If it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill.”
God’s will dominates collegiate ministry conversations. And if we’re not careful, these empty phrases dominate as well.
Why do we run to quick answers when it comes to God’s will? Do we not know what else to say? Do we realize when we talk like this we make God sound like the Wizard of Oz, or a secret keeping riddler?
I’m not sure. But, there’s got to be a better way forward, and maybe these 5 things will help.
5 THOUGHTS ON THE WILL OF GOD //
1. 95% of God’s will has already been revealed to you in the Bible.
Sure, I made up that percentage. But the truth remains, the majority of God’s will is settled.
God has given every Christian the command of abiding in Christ, living sent, being a disciple-maker, growing in the fruit of the spirit, bringing the kingdom of God to the earth, joining a local church, praying, serving, being equally yoked if you’re getting married, being holy, etc….
So often people want to know what God wants them to do, but they rarely recognize the BIG ROCKS of God’s will have already been given. God probably won’t give you a sign, but good news, you don’t need one. You have a Bible.
Pastor JD Greear says it like this, “Stop looking for the voice of God, when you already have a verse from God.”
2. For the other 5%, you can do whatever you want….. if
If you are committed to abiding in Christ… do whatever you want.
If you are committed to making disciples… do whatever you want.
If you are committed to the local church…. do whatever you want.
If you are committed to making Jesus famous, not yourself famous…. do whatever you want.
If you understand that your whole life has one ultimate glorious goal and end, namely, Christ being glorified as you bring the kingdom of heaven to Earth…. do whatever you want.
I don’t mean to be simple, but it is pretty simple: Covenant with a local church and their leadership, commit to being discipled, commit to making disciples, commit to bring the Kingdom of God to Earth, then pick whatever you want to do and do it. Covenant means you don’t bail when it gets hard, you stick it out, you live in submission to others, and in that environment you will see “God’s specific will” fade in comparison to the magnitude of “God’s revealed will.”
Get the big rocks in place then do whatever job you want, date whoever you want (as long as they are doing the same things listed above), live wherever you want…..etc.
Again, Pastor JD Greear is helpful when he says, “Do what you do well for the glory of God, and do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God.”
3. When it comes to the specifics, your leader and your community know what you should do better than you.
This is a tough one. You and I are used to making our own decisions. And most of us think God reveals his will to us privately instead of revealing his will to us corporately.
Here’s what I mean: Don’t inform people on what you decided God’s will is; instead, bring your situation to your church family and ask them what you should do…. Pray together, decide together, get affirmation from those who know you best, then do it.
Sometimes- often times- your leader and your community have a better sense of what you should do than you do. They know you and love you and pray for you and shouldn’t be informed of your decisions, they should be invited into your decisions.
Personally, I believe my wife Amy and our pastors and my huddle know God’s will for my life better than I do. I trust them and would obey them. And I don’t think that they would ever put me in a place where I would have to choose between what my community thinks and what I believe God is speaking to me.
This may be too much for some of you, but for me, I believe if God is speaking something to me, then He’s going to speak it to my leaders and community as well. I see them as a gift to me when it comes to God’s will decisions.
4. Romans 12 tells us to “test and approve” God’s specific will.
You can try something you believe is God’s will and find out on the journey that it’s not working. That’s a very biblical picture of God’s will. In Romans 12, Paul writes of getting the big rocks of worship and transforming of our mind settled, then moving to testing and approving.
This is freeing news: We can fail and try something else. We can move and move again. We can take a job and see if it works. You can go on a date and then a second date and then not go on a third. This should take the pressure off, and God knows we need the pressure off.
You don’t have to be afraid you are going to take the “wrong path” or miss out on “God’s best”. Decision paralysis should have no place in the life of the believer.
5. The summation of the whole will of God in three simple words: Be like Jesus.
The more you grow in obedience to Christ the less you will stress about his will. As you are being conformed into the likeness of Jesus, God will offer you 1,000 opportunities a day to obey Him, and you’ll say “yes”. And one yes will lead to another yes, and 1,000’s of “yeses” from now you will be in the middle of God’s will.
Keep saying “yes,” commit to let God get as much glory as possible from your life, and see the #adventure that takes you on.
His will might not be the easy thing, but as you become more like Christ you won’t seek the easy thing, you’ll seek the “Kingdom Thing.”
In summation, if you want to do God’s will: Make disciples, Seek first His Kingdom… and everything else will be added unto you, including that job or boyfriend/girlfriend or whatever….
If, of course, it is His will. :)
That’s a promise you can trust.