When people first accept Christ as their Savior, they have a desire to please God by doing His will, in other words doing what He wants them to do. We all want to know the will of God as it relates to our lives. Many times we pray and say that we want God’s will to be done.
In the model prayer that Jesus gave his followers, it says:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13(NIV)
For us to know God’s will for our lives, we must sacrifice our bodies.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-3 (NIV)
Paul’s Epistle to Thessalonica Paul explains a ‘living sacrifice’ as becoming ‘sanctified’. When we are sanctified, there a certain things that we avoid so we can do know God’s will. One should note that the things we should ‘avoid’ are called ‘sin’.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 (NIV)
Before we were even born, God knew we would be inclined toward sin. And because we are inclined to sin, God gave us the Holy Spirit. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that keeps us from sin, not our own power.
Because our power to overcome sin comes through the Holy Spirit, we are warned not to quench the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19(NIV): Do not quench the Spirit. When we try to live by our own strength, we are quenching the Spirit.
In 1 Peter 4:1-11(NIV), we are given these instructions on how we should live if we want to know the will of God.:
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:1-11(NIV)
If a person wants to know God’s will, God must be number one in their lives. The ten commandments teach us that there is only one God and we are to worship Him only. We are not to let anything interfere with our love of the God. We are to love Him with all our heart.
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)
When we pray for God’s will, are we truly seeking glory for God or for seeking glory for ourself?
There is another aspect of knowing God’s will that is also important. When we ask for God’s will, we must also act on that will. Sometime we keep asking for God’s will until we can justify doing it the way we want to do it, rather than the way God wants us to do it. The Bibles says we act in faith, not on emotional feelings.
In Habakkuk 2, it tells about Habakkuk waiting on the Lord to answer a complaint of the people.
I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Habakkuk 2:1(NIV)
God answers Habakkuk with some instructions for Habakkuk. God makes this statement in verse 4. “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness.” Habakkuk 2:4(NIV)
Knowing God’s will for our lives is not based on our personal feeling. We may pray for God’s will for an eternity, waiting for a feeling that may never come. There is a point at which we must step out in faith. It is a point at which we take the truths God has given us and step out in faith, believing God’s truths.
Paul refers to Habakkuk, when Paul says:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17(NIV)
Knowing God’s will for our lives is not complete until we take that step of faith. When we take that step of faith, we have Godly peace in knowing that our action is God’s will.
James says it this way:
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. James 1:5-7(NIV).
In other words, when we seek God’s will for our lives, we must act in faith without doubting God’s will for our lives. If we are waiting for a feeling, it may never come, but when we step out in faith God gives us peace.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27(NIV)
Note: All scriptures used in this article have been downloaded from http://www.biblegateway.com/?version=NIV unless otherwise noted.