Determining God’s Will

Posted: November 9, 2012 by Dillon in Theology

Something that always gives me a reason to pause is the idea of determining God’s will.  Few self-proclaiming Christians will argue the idea of God having a will for us.  Heck, even pantheistic/new age/post modern thinkers align to some sort of idea of the universe having a “plan.”  Part of it is the human nature to desire order instead of chaos.  The idea that our futures have already been laid out by some external party or force is strangely comforting.  But I don’t feel like it is complete.

Without getting bogged down in the semantics of “design” and “predestination,” I think we can wrestle through this.  “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; this is the will of God for your life,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19).  That verse is both a command and a blueprint.  The command is obviously to be joyful, pray, and give thanks.  But look at the last part; God wants us to be happy.  And this isn’t a sort of be-happy-or-I’ll-punish-you command.  No, I think this is a testament to how God will interact with our lives.  Logically, it wouldn’t make sense for God to will us to fail.  That would mean missions, a central command of Jesus, would be ineffective.  God wants us to succeed.  But I don’t think it’s always the kind of success we expect.

So often, Christians get this notion that by being a Christian, they are entitled to succeed.  Somehow, having Christ in your life gives you a free pass to suddenly be good at everything.  I would argue that that’s not true, and is in fact a sign of pride and arrogance.  “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work,” (2 Corinthians 9:8).  You will abound in every good work.  It doesn’t say, “You will abound in the good works that God has specifically laid out for you to do.”  No, it says you will abound in EVERY good work.  Or to emphasize that differently, you will abound in every GOOD WORK.  From here, it’s pretty obvious that God’s will is for us to be successful in our good actions.  Of course, there will always be people who succeed by doing bad things, but that is a different story.

I think that regardless of whether God has a specific or a general plan for your life, it’s clear that He wants us to have success.  God wills us to do well in our endeavors and to rejoice in life.  That’s part of the beauty of life, being able to enjoy it knowing that God’s got our backs.  That’s what I believe, anyway.  What about you?

  1. Len Pettis says:

    I have taken time to study God's word on what God's will is for our lives because of the a text that I find to be the scariest in all of scripture. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."If only those who do God's will get into heaven, it behooves us to know His will. Here is what the scriptures say:John 6:40, 1 Tim 2:3-4 suggest clearly that God wills our salvation.Ephesians 5:17-18 and 2 Cor 3:18 suggest God wants us to be filled with the Holy Spirit1 Thessalonians 4:3 suggests that God's will is our sanctification1 Peter 2:13-15 says God's will is our submission 1 Peter 3:17, 4:19, and 5:10 suggest God's will is for us to suffer persecution 1 Thes 5:18 God wills for us to be thankful.Based upon the scriptures, nowhere does God will for us to be successful or happy; at least by the worldly definition. Romans 12:2 says "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect WILL OF GOD."Just my $.02 for what it's worth. Check out my blog if you want to see what I'm writing about: God bless!Len Pettis

  2. Hi Len!I appreciate the insight you have to offer! When I was writing this, I didn't mean we would be happy or successful by the world's standards. But we'll definitely be content in Christ. I probably should have specified that by good works, I meant what we're called to do as believers. Love, generosity, spreading the good news, etc. Dillon

  3. Len Pettis says:

    I thought so, I've read some of your other stuff, that didn't seem to match your theology.Grace to you!Len

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