Ephesians 1:9- Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself. NKJV
As we turn our attention to the New Year, most begin thinking about what we need to do to have a great year. It may be called a New Year’s resolution or a new goal, but no matter its title, we all plan to bring changes in our life for the upcoming year. As believers, we understand that our plans will be more successful when we include God in those plans. Solomon stated these words in the book of Proverbs:
Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be established.Proverbs 16:3 CSB
Although this is an accurate assessment of achieving success when establishing new plans, we must also realize that it is not just committing plans to the Lord but also obeying His instructions regarding those plans. A reminder in God’s word about obeying His instructions is also found in Proverbs:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
Most Christians understand this concept and work to live their lives by this principle. I was laughing and talking with a relative when she said, “I just want Him to tell me what it is that He wants me to do, and I will do it!” However, I have found that, in many cases, that’s simply not true.
In looking at the verse for our blog today, I noticed that Paul referred to the will of God as a mystery. A mystery is something hidden, a secret thing. Movies and books are written about mysteries. Sherlock Holmes, a great solver of mysteries in the late 1800s, is still a great source of entertainment for people today. The reason is that most people enjoy the adventure of solving a mystery.
Whenever we plan a family trip, we try to find an escape room we can enjoy together. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of escape rooms, they are created within a single room or combination of rooms with a mystery that needs to be solved within a given amount of time. If you solve the mystery, you can escape the room. If you don’t solve the mystery, you lose the game and have to be released from the room.
Sometimes we solve the mystery and escape the room, while at other times, we solve the mystery too late to escape the room. Once, we were in an escape room with so much going on that we had difficulty eliminating the things in the room that were crucial to solving the mystery and the things that were there to be a distraction. What’s my point? Some secrets are easier to discover than others, and in the case of God’s will for our lives, this holds true! God’s will was hidden in a mystery, but Paul said that some aspects of the mystery have now been made known. There are other aspects of His will that we have to seek out.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul wrote that God has revealed His will to us, and it was His pleasure to do so.
Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in HimselfEphesians 1:9 NKJV
What aspect of God’s will has He made known to us? Throughout the scriptures, God has expressed His will for our lives to be reconciled to Him. The Greek word for will in Ephesians 1:9 is thelēma, which means desire or pleasure. Some things are the expressed desire of God for us to experience, yet many people will go to their grave not enjoying His pleasure for them. For example, it is God’s thelēma that we become a part of His family.
Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His willEphesians 1:5 NKJV
The good pleasure of the Lord, His thelēma, is that we become children of God. He predetermined before the creation of Adam that everyone who received Jesus would be adopted into His family by Himself. It brings Him great pleasure to see His will executed in people’s lives, yet many refuse His will for their lives.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.John 1:12-13 NKJV
This was a great mystery before it was revealed. In the Old Testament, the blood of animals was shed for the sins of the people. But God had a plan in place that would not just cover the sins of the people but would remove the sins of people, giving them the right to become children of God. It was and is His will that we are saved from our sins. He has released enough grace on the earth to save all of mankind; and even though it is His good pleasure that none are lost, many will refuse His will for their life.
Satan knew that God had a plan and that Jesus was the key to that plan. But he didn’t realize how the plan would be executed, although it was hidden in plain sight. Had God revealed His plan too quickly, Satan would have never placed Jesus on that cross! So the mystery was hidden until God was ready to reveal it! This principle is true in our lives, also. Some things are yet to be revealed because if Satan knew everything God had planned for us, he would be busy trying to stop those things from happening!
Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.Ephesians 1:9-10 NKJV
God had a set time for revealing His will regarding our salvation. When that set time came, “the dispensation of the fullness of the times,” the mystery was made known. As believers, we have taken the first step in living out the will of God for our lives when we believed in Jesus. But there is so much about His will for us to know. Jesus gave us instructions about living a life centered in God’s will. He told us to pray these words:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.Matthew 6:10 NKJV
We should be found praying for the will of God to be done on earth and in our lives as it is done in heaven! We should take nothing for granted, assuming nothing about our lives, but we should be praying for God’s will to be done in our lives!
Again, there is so much more to the will of God, and we are just scratching the surface. In order for us to walk in the will of God and enjoy His thelēma in our lives, we must be aware of what His thelēma is for us.
It was not my original intent to write several blogs on this topic, but now I feel a need to continue this topic to ensure that we have a greater understanding of His thelēma for our lives. After all, if it is no longer a mystery because it has been revealed, we should want to know it and embrace it as a part of our reasonable service to Him! It’s a great topic as we enter 2023, so I trust you will return as we further investigate the mystery of His will. Wonderful Jesus!