We talk about God’s will like it’s something to be found, something tucked away in a closet or under a rock that—if we only open the right door or turn over the right stone—will be revealed to us. But God’s will is so much simpler than this.
Contrary to how we talk about the will of God, there is no cosmic blueprint telling us how the rest of life will pan out. Though God is all-knowing, He is not all-controlling. He allows us a free will within His sovereign knowledge. In this middle ground, His will plays out in a mysterious, beyond-us balance of our choice and His direction. In short: He’s not going to give you a plan for the future because He wants you to walk daily with Him!
Scripture does give us an outline for God’s will, however. It’s not going to tell you who you’ll marry or what job to take, but it gives you everything you need to make the right choices today. Following are four things the Bible tells us are God’s will—things you can hold onto and obey when you aren’t sure of the next step.
1. God’s will is your sanctification.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 says “God’s will is that you be sanctified, so abstain from sexual immorality.” This verse may be talking about remaining pure, but sanctification isn’t only about sexuality. Sanctification is the process by which the Lord makes us “holy as He is holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Jesus declares us righteous when we are saved (justification), but as we walk out that righteousness, we change into people who glorify God. The Holy Spirit does this as we listen and obey Him! When you wonder what God’s purpose is in your life, you can know this for sure: His will is your sanctification. And sometimes we have to go through very hard times to become more like Jesus.
2. God’s will is our gratitude.
Later in his letter to the Thessalonian church, the Apostle Paul says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This is actually only part of the sentence, which says, “Be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances…” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). God’s ultimate will is that we rejoice, pray and be grateful! These actions are the result of the Spirit’s work in our hearts (sanctification).
How do we let God’s Spirit work in us? By coming to His Word! In God’s Word, we learn who He is. We learn how to pray. We expose ourselves to His character. We learn to listen for His voice. This in turn changes us! You do not have to “make” yourself a good person (you can’t, by the way). The Spirit does this as you take the simple step of faith of coming to His Word and studying who He is and what He says.
Gratitude is a form of worship. As we express gratitude for who God is and what He has done in our lives, we do God’s will.
3. God’s will is that we do good.
1 Peter 2:15 says “It is God’s will that by doing good, you silence the foolish talk of ignorant people.” When you obey God and His leading on your life, you silence those who persecute and condemn you. Want to respond well to people who hate you? DO GOOD! Your good character, worked in you by your exposure to Jesus, will silence anything they say.
4. God’s will is that we walk in the Spirit.
Last, but certainly not least, God’s will is that you walk by the Spirit. I stress the importance of this over and over again because apart from the Spirit of God, you can neither KNOW nor LIVE the will of God! You need His voice to lead you into a life of eternal value. As you walk with Him (praying to Him, reading about Him, listening for Him, obeying Him), you will live a life of impact. And—without ever owning the blueprint to your life—you will have accomplished God’s will.