The Will Of God In Our Lives (2)

Joel Portman

Every believer would surely agree that the Will of God is Always Preeminent and Supreme. It is essentially vital in God's estimation and rightly so, and thus, for every believer, it must also be absolutely essential in our lives. Nothing is, nor can be, more important in a believer's life than the will of God. If we lose sight of this and fail to be exercised about our responsibility toward the fulfillment of that will individually and collectively, we will always be the losers and will have missed one of the main purposes of God's salvation. The will of God is not optional in any area or in any aspect of our lives. We should ask ourselves continually if what we are doing, where we are, what our ambitions and desires are, or any other phase of our lives, can truly be recognized as being subject to the sovereign will of God. If it is not, then we need to acknowledge that we are out of the will of God, either through lack of exercise to know it, lack of desire to do it, or sheer rebellion of heart and an attitude of self-will against it. Note I Peter 1:14-17: "obedient children" are "children of obedience," that is, children who are characterized by obedience. We learn from this passage as well as from others such as I John 3:24, that obedience to God is a mark of the reality of the new birth and the evidence of an abiding relationship with our Father in heaven. If this is lacking, it indicates the possibility that this one lacks eternal life and is not a child of God, since this is clearly taught as the normal state of a child of God. Failure to carry out the will of God results in...

1. Fruitlessness in our lives for God

The control of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16-25) is essential if our lives are to be fruitful for God. This fruit that He desires to see cannot be produced by self-effort or self-will, but only through submission to the control of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit cannot direct or control that life that is not exercised to do the will of God. Note that in John 15:7-8, the Lord tells us that fruitfulness is the result of His Word abiding in us and we abiding in Him. The fruit God produces does not accompany a life lacking exercise or desire to do what is pleasing to the Lord. Notice Ephesians 5:17-18: understanding what the will of the Lord is precedes being filled with the Spirit, and this filling produces the character and quality of life that the Lord desires to see in us. We should always be exercised to allow the Spirit to accomplish this filling and controlling work in us and this results from our obedience to His Word and desire to carry out His will in our lives. Lack of expression of a life that is lived for His pleasure and which does not enjoy His richest blessing will never result in fruitfulness for the Lord, usefulness in His service, or reward from His hand in a coming day.

2. Failure in our service

We surely cannot expect God to use us in service for Him if we are not exercised to know and do His will. God is able to use any object, person, or nation sovereignly to accomplish His own purpose, but this is not His desire when dealing with one of His own. He takes up and uses yielded, cleansed vessels who are desirous to know the will of their Master (2 Tim. 2:20-21) and who are concerned about being in the place of His choosing, occupied with the activities of His direction, and being in a condition that is fit for Him to use in His purpose. Paul repeatedly emphasized that he was an apostle "by the will of God," thus indicating that what he was and what he was doing was under divine direction. He speaks of service being directed entirely by the will of God as seen in his movements in Acts 16 that eventually brought him to Philippi. If there is no exercise in our hearts to know and do His will continually, why should He look upon us as those who are dependable and who can be trusted with any work for Him? He is looking for "good and faithful servants..." (Matt. 25:21).

3. Lack of joy

Because we have been given divine life to relate to God in fellowship, we cannot and will not experience the inner peace and harmony with Him that would result from His will being known, if we are out of His will and not obedient to His Word. Note the words of the Lord in the upper room: "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." (John 13:17) Also in John 15:10-11, "if ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love ... These things have I spoken unto you that your joy may be full.' It may be that many of the Lord's people are in this condition much of the time. They may wonder why they are not enjoying the things of God, why they lack that inward peace and assurance, that overflowing joy that should mark every child of God. It undoubtedly is because there is disharmony in their lives between the desires of the Spirit of God to bring them into conformity to the Word of God and their own desires that are directed toward self-pleasing.

The Will of God may take various forms or be expressed in different ways according to His own purpose. We can see from Scripture that God expresses His will according to His own pleasure, not always moving in exactly the same way in every time. We can notice the following examples:

1. Expression and execution of His will sovereignly, requiring nothing from anyone to see it accomplished. Example: Creation, Salvation's work at Calvary. God determined to create all things and determined to provide salvation for sinners in the work of His Son, but while He used the hands of wicked men and their nefarious purposes to accomplish His will in salvation, it was not as if God required their agreement with His purposes to do so, any more than would be the case in His work in creation. God can accomplish His will outside the realm of human involvement entirely.

2. Revelation of His will to men without requiring any exercise on their part. There are times in Scripture when God made His will known to men in a way that demonstrated His own purposes to do so and which was not the result of any evident desire or exercise on their part prior to that revelation. For example, God made Himself known to Moses at the bush in Exodus 3 and unveiled His purposes regarding the deliverance of Israel. Moses was not waiting on God to make Himself known at that time and it is evident also that he had no desire to participate in those purposes (chapters 3-4). There are other instances when God called men like Isaiah and Jeremiah and commissioned them for the work they were to do, even to say to Jeremiah that He had separated and ordained him when he was in the womb Jeremiah 1:5).

3. God's Will made known and requiring obedience by men. This is exemplified in Genesis 2 in God's command concerning the tree and in Exodus 20 in giving the Law. God revealed His will and expectations to men, and He was demanding their obedience to that will. The command was for God's glory and for their own blessing in obedience, and disobedience of that command resulted in their loss and God's judgment. This places great importance on obedience to God's will; there is no command or instruction of God in the Old or New Testament that is optional and does not carry with it blessing for obedience and judgment or loss for disobedience. Even the revealed truth of God for His people in our day of "grace" is not an optional exercise that does not carry with it personal and eternal consequences. Each one of us should recognize this when we make excuses for our disobedience to the Word of God in any aspect of His truth for us to be carried out in our lives.

4. God's will revealed to individuals as the result of their exercise and waiting on God to know His will. We find cases when God made known His will to those who were exercised and desirous to know what God was going to do or what God wanted men to do. For example, we think of Daniel, as he waited on God in Dan. 2 with a desire to know the future. The same was displayed in his life as he grew in maturity so that seeking to know God's will was the pattern of his life into old age. We note the same example in Paul seeking to know God's directive will regarding his movements in Acts 16, and as he waited on God, various doors were closed and finally the door into Macedonia and the European continent was opened to him.

We often seek to know the will of God in particular circumstances. The most important matter of our concern should be to continually be obedient to the revealed will of God that is made known in His Word. If this is the case, we will be walking in close fellowship with the Lord and will more readily know His particular will in decisions that must be made.