Ephesians 5:17- Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. NKJV
I’ve been blogging about the will (or desires) of God that are applicable to the lives of all believers. It’s not possible in a simple blog to cover all of those desires because there are many things in the logos (written word) of God that are intended for all believers. We don’t have to fast and pray about those desires, we don’t have to seek counsel about those desires, we don’t even have to wonder about them; they are the expressed will of God for our lives, and our response is to obey them.
When I became a bride, no one had to sit me down and explain to me the basics of being a wife. I understood that I would live with my husband, consummate our marriage, belong to him, be unavailable to others, and do life with him while raising any children we were blessed with. I didn’t have to fast and pray to see if I would move in with my husband or have my own residence. That’s ludicrous! I didn’t have to fast and pray to see if we would consummate our marriage. These were no-brainers. Yet, there were some things that were necessary for our success that I had to pray about, starting with the most basic one, should I even marry him.
Becoming a Christian is a simple act of faith, but it is a huge commitment. It’s not about getting fire insurance to avoid hell’s torment! It’s entering the most crucial relationship of a lifetime with Creator God, who has committed His all to us and who expects a reciprocal relationship from us! Therefore, it is expedient that we understand what the will of God is for us collectively and individually.
As I’ve stated, we don’t need to fast and pray about most of His will. We need to learn what His will is, and most of it is pretty standard, and then obey it: your life needs to change, you should attend church, you should support your church, you should spend time reading the Bible and learn how to pray, you should live a holy life, you should be thankful, etc. The rest comes as you do the basics!
What are some things that we can do to understand God’s will for our individual lives? In the words of my pastor, “I’m glad you asked?” Let’s look at our verse for today again:
Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.Ephesians 5:17 NKJV
Paul wrote that we are not to be unwise, so that means that we are to obtain wisdom concerning God’s will for our lives. James wrote about how we are to gain wisdom, leading us to a foundational truth about discovering God’s will for our lives. Let’s see how it is written in the Amplified Bible translation:
If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides].James 1:5-8 AMP
I’ll let you unpack all of that at your leisure but simply state if you want to be wise, you ask God for wisdom (aka prayer), who will lovingly and willingly instruct you. If you say you want to hear from God but also want to do your own thing, you are double-minded and not asking in faith, so hearing from Him will be difficult.
My husband and I were talking about this the other day. Eventually, most conversations about God come back to marriage scenarios for us. Both of us were engaged to someone else before we met. However, in our desire to get it right the first time, we prayed continuously for God’s will. It should’ve kept us from getting engaged, but often times the influences of others can push us into decisions that seem good but are not godly. We entered those engagements believing we were doing the right thing, but as we prayed, God’s will was revealed (this is not the one), and we had enough sense to move on, making ourselves available for each other. After 36 years of a wonderful marriage, I think we have irrefutable confirmation that our marriage was in the will of God! Praying for wisdom is key to finding God’s will for our lives.
David prayed for the will of God to be done in his life:
Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good.Psalm 143:10 NKJV
Lead me in the land of uprightness.
David asked God to teach him what it meant to do His will. A prayer we can all benefit from praying. Jesus prayed for the will of God to be done in His life:
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”Matthew 26:39 NKJV
Jesus knew God’s will for His life. He agreed to God’s will for His life. But when it came time to submit to the will of God, He struggled and prayed for the strength to carry out the will of God for His life. Sometimes, it will be painful to fulfill the will of God in our lives, but like Jesus, our example, we must submit our will to God’s will. I know of a young lady who called off her wedding a few weeks before the date to obey God’s will for her life. It was painful and maybe even embarrassing, but today she is thankful that she obeyed God.
Paul found that in the midst of doing the will of God (which was preaching the gospel), his will to go to Asia differed from God’s will, which was for him to go to Macedonia:
Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.Acts 16:6-10 NKJV
When Paul found out God’s will, he followed it. It’s not enough to know the will of God. Because once you know the will of God, you should be found obeying it.
Another key point to discovering God’s will is recognizing that God’s will always align to His word! Always! I thought I would get to it in this blog, but I got caught up in praying about the will of God. Here’s the last thought on praying about the will of God I want to share:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6 NKJV
As you seek God’s will for your life, let the peace of God guard and protect you. When I want to know what to do and which direction to go, I pray until I feel a sense of peace in His presence. It may not make sense to others, like saying yes to a marriage proposal after a month of long-distance dating, but when you have the peace of God, it will guard you. Wonderful Jesus!