Finding God’s will is one of the most pressing topics for Christians? Why is this? There are many reasons why people seek God’s will. Here are a few reasons.
1. To please God genuinely: people seek God’s will to please God, to genuinely want to honour and glorify God.
2. Afraid of future: many are afraid that something bad will happen to them in the future. So they seek God’s will. There is an assumption that God’s will means a life without problems or suffering, and a life filled with success and comforts. But that’s not true. You can be in God’s will and face suffering and trials of all kinds.
3. Afraid of God: some are afraid that something bad will happen if they don’t do God’s will. They are afraid God will punish them or not bless them if they don’t seek his will. But we believe that God is a loving Father who cares about us and we don’t have to be afraid of him.
4. Confusion: many seek his will because they are confused about what decision to make regarding their future. And they are also confused about God’s will itself. It feels like a mystery that needs to be solved, or a game God plays where he wont reveal the answer but he wants me to arrive at the right answer without his help. Again, this kind of confusion is because we don’t really understand what God’s will is.
Most times, we end up disappointed, hurt, confused when dealing with God’s will and we even blame God. We ask God why he allowed certain events in life if he knew things were not going to turn out fine. Why did God allow me to choose a certain option if he knew it was going to result in difficult circumstances? Couldn’t God have stopped me from making this decision? Why did he open this door? So much hurt and disappointment simply because we don’t understand how God’s will works.
God’s will does not have to be confusing. It is not meant to be a mystery. God is not hiding something. It can be one of the most freeing and confident things in life for a person who follows Jesus.
Today, we are going to see how “Understanding God’s will leads to confidence in day to day decisions”.
God’s will can be understood in two ways. One is his sovereign will and the other is his revealed will.
1. God’s Sovereign will (decreed will)
It means God sovereignly ordains everything to that comes to pass. God is sovereign over all things in this world, in creation, across history, in your life, from greatest inventions and discoveries, to world economy, wars, national decisions, to unknown planets and galaxies, to micro organisms, from the greatest decisions to most minute details, from sparrows looking for food, to coin toss in a game, from the shirt colour you wear to a decision whether to go by bus or metro, God is sovereign over all things. He knows, he ordains and permits. Nothing happens without his knowledge. Nothing surprises God. He is in absolute control. Everything happens because he wills it to happen. N one can thwart his plans and what he purposes to do. God’s sovereign will comes to pass always. We see God’s sovereign will over all things in life. Here are a few:
God’s sovereign will over all of creation including your life
God created all things by his word. Everything came into existence by him, for him and through him. In Exodus we see God lead the children of Israel by delivering them from Pharaoh using plagues of various kinds, led them with a cloud and a pillar of fire, split the red sea, provided manna from heaven, gave them water from a rock. God moved creation and did incredible things to fulfil his purposes for Israel. Nothing could stop God from delivering Israel and accomplishing his purposes.
Psalm 147:4 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered
God’s sovereign will over every decision that’s made
Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.
Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.
God’s sovereign will over our salvation
John 6:65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
Matthew 11:27 no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
God’s sovereign over evil and wickedness
Proverbs 16:4 The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even wicked for the day of trouble
Isaiah 45:7 I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.
God’s sovereign will over birth, life, health and death
1 Samuel 2:6 The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
Exodus 4:11 Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
All things work according to his sovereign will
Ephesians 1:11 who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
God’s plans cannot be thwarted
Is 46:8 Remember this & stand firm, recall it to mind, u transgressors, 9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
We see that God is sovereign over all things, even evil and suffering. God is not the author or source of evil and suffering. But in his sovereign wisdom, he allows and permits it for his purposes. We understand God’s sovereignty through the lens of his character. God is all good, all powerful, all knowing and all wise. Who can stand before him? Who can question or understand his ways? No one can blame God. Though God allows suffering in this world, no one can hold God morally responsible for it, because he is holy, righteous and good. When we encounter God’s sovereignty, we come to him with humility, recognizing that we have finite minds and we don’t understand everything.
God sovereignly ordains everything for his glory. Though we may never understand how God’s sovereignty works in light of evil and suffering, we may never understand why God does what he does, we can be certain he is God, he is good, and he is righteous and holy. God calls us to rest in his sovereign will for our lives. What he sets out to do for us, nothing can stop him. He will fulfil his purposes for you.
2. God’s revealed will (desired will)
The second is God’s revealed will. God has revealed his will for us in scripture. God prohibits certain things and commands certain things. God desires that we obey his word. God has given us freedom to choose to obey or not obey. And here’s the mystery.
God is sovereign over all our decisions, and yet, we are absolutely free when we decide. How is this possible? How can God be sovereign and yet I be free? If he is sovereign and knows everything before it happens, then why am I held responsible for my actions? If I am absolutely free, then how is God all powerful? This is a mystery. It’s a paradox. Scripture affirms both these truths. When you place these truths next to each other, it seems like a contradiction. We have to recognize this is a mystery that we can never fully understand.
God’s sovereign will cannot be stopped, but his revealed will can be thwarted if we choose to disobey. God desires that we obey him, but we can choose to disobey.
God’s sovereign will is secret but his revealed will is plain and clear. His revealed will is not up for debate or is not a suggestion. God desires that we obey him unconditionally.
God in his sovereign will allows and permits us to freely choose to obey him or not. But this does not give us right to sin and disobey. We are responsible for our actions and we face the consequences for actions. We cannot hold God responsible for our sins, mistakes and foolishness.
We see this dilemma throughout scripture. In Acts 2, when Peter preaches, he says that God has purposed for Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. But he accuses the Jews for killing him. If God had planned that Jesus be crucified, then why is Judas responsible for betraying him, why are the disciples responsible for deserting him, why is Pilate responsible for pronouncing judgement, why are the Pharisees responsible for condemning Jesus? This is the mystery we have to recognize with humility. God sovereignly allows and ordains and permits but we are responsible for our actions. God sovereignly brings out his plans and purposes through our sin, rebellion and disobedience.
We are called to obey God’s revealed will. God’s will is revealed in all of scripture regarding our life, work, friends, relationships, marriage, money, authority, church and so many other aspects. God has made his will plain and clear. Here are a few:
God’s will/desire for you is to be saved
1 Timothy 2:4 God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
God’s will/desire is for you to understand his will
Ephesians 5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
God’s will/desire for you is to be filled with the HS
Ephesians 5:18 do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit
God’s will/desire for you is to submit to one another
Ephesians 5:21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
God’s will/desire for you is to submit to authority
1 Peter 2:13 Be subj for the Lrd's sake to evry human institution…15 For this is the will of God
God’s will/desire is our holiness and sanctification
1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality
God’s will/desire sometimes is for us to go through suffering
1 Peter 3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil
God’s will/desire sometimes is for us to give thanks in everything
1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
There are two ways to talk about the will of God. One is his sovereign or decreed will and the other is his revealed or desired will.
How does this help me in my day to day decisions?
Understanding God’s sovereign will and submitting to God’s revealed will leads to confidence, assurance, hope, joy and peace in my day to day decisions.
When I rest in his sovereignty over my life: when I see how God has gone to the extent of sending Jesus to die for my sake in the hands of sinners so I can be saved and redeemed, if God can do that for me out of his love, if he can move heaven and earth to save me and make me his own, I know he will sovereignly work out his plans for me no matter what. He will take care of my life. He is my heavenly father. He is good and I can trust completely and depend on him utterly.
God has good plans for me. Though I don’t understand it, or feel his love, or comprehend his ways, or see with my eyes, I can fully trust his sovereign will for my life. No one can stop, hinder or thwart his plans for me. He will fulfil what he purposes for you.
And when I submit to his revealed will in scripture – when I joyfully obey and submit, when I repent of my sin and run to him, when check my motives and desires in light of his word, when I desire to abide in him, honour and glorify him in all things, when I am teachable and humble before his word…
When I rest in his sovereign will & submit to his revealed will, I can be fully confident in the decisions I make that it is in his will.
Trusting God’s sovereign will and obeying God’s revealed will leads to a life of freedom, poise, assurance and confidence. I don’t have to over think or over spiritualize decisions. I can be sure I am in God’s will.
I am confident that in God’s sovereign power, when I abide in him, he will restore even my lost time, lost years, turn my failures and suffering, even my sin and sins of others against me for his glory and my good.
Is God’s will confusing? Is it because I am not resting in his sovereign will? Is it because I am not submitting to his revealed will?
The first step in seeking God’s will – seek God!
Know him, trust him, delight in him, know his word, trust his word, seek him, obey him, and meditate on his word. That’s how you know God and his will.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Know that when we love and delight in him, he will work all things for our good because of his sovereign purpose for us.
The key to confidence in daily decision making is resting in God’s soverign will for you and submitting to God’s revealed will for you through scripture.