I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to get ahead of God. I look at a situation and I just know — I’m just positive that I know — how it’s all going to work out. I can see all the different connections and I can see exactly how God is going to do whatever it is He’s doing. So, since I know so much, I start planning and I start plotting and pretty soon I have everything figured out and I can relax because I know what’s going to happen.
Then, the inevitable occurs. I left something out of my calculations or I missed something or God threw a wrench in the works at the last minute, and nothing happens like I thought it would. And I’m back to not having any idea what’s going on.
Does that ever happen to you? Do you try to figure out God’s plan? Do you try to figure out His will?
That’s something that gets talked about a lot in Christian circles. God’s will. God’s Will for your life. Like it’s some strange ethereal concept that no one can grasp or truly understand. Like it’s something out of a philosophy course that exists for people to debate it.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t all seek God’s will. We definitely should, but we should understand that His will is always a definite concrete action we should take — even if that action is simply waiting or even being still (because waiting and being still are both actions; if you’ve never tried them, you’ll find they’re among the most difficult actions you can do).
The verse I used for this devotion today is Proverbs 16:1.
1 We can make our own plans,
but the Lord gives the right answer.
And this same concept is actually repeated over and over and over all throughout the whole chapter. If you have a chance, you really should read the whole chapter.
God knows what He wants from us. He put us here for a reason, and if you’re still alive on Earth there’s a reason for it. He has something for you to do. And you can plan and plot and make as many assumptions as you want, but if it’s the wrong direction for you to take, He’ll let you know.
What I have learned is that most of the time God doesn’t reveal His will for us until we’ve taken the next step in our walk with Him. God’s will is for every man, woman and child to come into a relationship with Him. That’s the first, most important part of His will for every person.
Next, everyone who believes needs to be baptized as a symbol that they now belong to God. It has to come after salvation, otherwise it doesn’t mean anything.
These first two steps are universal. They’re the same for every person.
After you get saved, though, what next? What is God’s will for your life next? What great plan does He have in store for you?
I spent so many years looking for God’s will, and what I learned is that it’s God’s will for me to be where I am until He moves me. Throughout high school, God opened doors for me to go to college away from home; I went. Then, he opened doors for me to come back; so I did. He gave me opportunities to stay in Wichita, to move home to live in a house and property that was paid off. He gave me opportunities for a good job–and then He gave me an opportunity to move on to a great job. He gave me incredible opportunities to get involved at my church, opportunities that stretched me beyond what I was capable of. It allowed me to trust Him completely, and whether He used me during those times, I don’t know. What I know for sure is that I grew in my relationship with Him.
I really think that is God’s will for everyone too. That we all grow in our relationship with him. The relationship doesn’t end after salvation. It doesn’t end after you get dunked into a baptismal or a swimming pool or even the River Jordan. It shouldn’t stagnate. It should grow. It should get deeper with every passing day. And if you live your life like that, always seeking to know God better, you won’t miss the opportunities He sends to you. You actually might even have to choose between two or three good opportunities, and that is a topic for another post.
People get so obssessed with this concept, and they waste so much time looking for it. I’m reminded of another movie that made me laugh when I saw it. Kingdom of Heaven. It’s a great movie. A lot of fun, if you like battlefield/war kinds of movies. Set during the Crusades, it’s about the fight for the Holy Land. And the line that keeps being repeated over and over again, from both sides, is that “God wills it.” It was God’s will for the Christians to do such and such. It was God’s will for the Arabs to do such and such. Both of their actions were against each other, yet both sides believed that God was leading them to do whatever it was they were doing.
The most important thing to remember about God’s will is that it never contradicts the rest of His Word. God’s Will never goes against Scripture. For instance (and this is a bad example), if you think it’s God’s Will to murder someone — you’re wrong. Because the Bible says murder is wrong. God’s Will won’t ever contradict the Bible. The same for tearing your family apart or lying or being unfaithful or being disobediant to your parents. God’s Will will never lead you to do any of those things.
If you think it does, you’ve fallen into a religious trap where people think they can put words in God’s mouth. And that’s not a place I’d ever want to be.
So, can we ever grasp God’s will for our lives?
I believe the answer is no. I think it’s too big for us. I think it would scare us out of our wits. So, I don’t think we should even worry about it.
Can we grasp God’s will for us today?
And for that, I will refer to the actual Bible verse of the day from Bible Gateway:
1 John 3:11
11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
Love God. Love people. Go to work and work as though you’re working for God. Raise your children. Clean your house. Mow your lawn. Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God. Live your life for Him. Walk with Him. Read the Bible and learn what He has to say about you and your relationships and your family and your life and this crazy, messed up world we live in.
That is His will for us today. And that’s something everyone can do. And once you do it, God will reveal what He wants you to do the next day and the next day and the next day, and before you know it, you will have lived a life by God’s Will. And you’ll look back and you won’t be surprised why God didn’t tell you His plans for you from the very start.
So make all the plans you want. It’s not a bad thing to plan for the future. Just understand that God has the trump card.