In Part Two of the Trust Series we discussed key points to look for to identify God’s gifts in our lives–and how to learn what’s not of Him. When God moves, He reflects His character. Even in the midst of difficult decisions, God can provide clarity. He’s not a God of confusion!
In Part One of the series, we discussed how to abandon fear and hold onto faith when it comes to following God’s commands. When we’ve been seeking God, and He says “yes,” we can move forward knowing He’s with us every step of the way.
However, what happens if we go off track? What do we do when we realize we’re not on the course God has for us?
Today, in Part Three of the Trust Series we’re going back to basics.
There’s a key component in discovering God’s will for your life, and it’s as simple as this:
God doesn’t pick favorites. We don’t work to earn God’s attention. He’s a God who’s attentive and abounding with grace. Psalm 86:15 states, “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth” (NKJV).
Likewise, we don’t earn salvation. God offers a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ based on His grace: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (NKJV).
Our works don’t save us, but as followers of Christ, we’re known by our fruit. We have a calling to put off our former selves, our former lives of sin, and live righteously before God. And this is a calling that we need to take seriously.
In this final, third installment of the Trust Series, we’re examining our lives to see whether we’re truly walking in obedience with God. In order to hear God’s voice, we need to draw near to Him. This doesn’t just mean going to church on Sundays or serving in ministry; this means having an authentic relationship with Christ that reflects in how we live our everyday lives.
It’s time to examine our hearts. Are we asking God for His blessings and movement in our lives yet rejecting Him in every other way? Are we returning to sinful habits we’ve been promising to kick time and time again? God is concerned with our inner selves–not the selves we pretend to be.
Oftentimes, when we’re having trouble following God’s path, it’s not that He isn’t speaking. It’s that we’re not listening. And listening isn’t simply with our ears but with our lives.
The good news is His grace. There are real consequences for sin. But God offers His grace to those who continue to repent, turn away, and follow Him.
God is a Rewarder of Those Who Diligently Seek Him
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV).
This verse in Hebrews 11 details the significance of faith. Faith is key in our relationship to God. Not only that but faith requires action. Faith is shown by coming to God and believing in who He is. And God sees those who diligently seek Him and rewards them.
Following this verse, we read heroes of the faith in the Bible–men and women who by faith came to God, believed Him, sought Him, and were rewarded according to their faith.
If you are seeking God, be encouraged knowing that He sees you, and He never lets obedience go to waste: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6 NKJV). Galatians 6:9 states, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (NKJV).
Now, what happens when we don’t seek the Lord?
When we disobey, we miss out on God’s intended plan for us. Joshua 5:6 details the consequences of the Israelites disobedience against God: “For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people who were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord—to whom the Lord swore that He would not show them the land which the Lord had sworn to their fathers that He would give us, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’” (NKJV).
Notice this: It was not God’s desire that the children of Israel would wander in the wilderness for 40 years. He didn’t desire for them to miss out on the blessing He had promised their ancestors. It was the fact that they did not listen to His voice that led to these consequences.
Disobedience can result in delays, running in circles away from God’s path for us. Once again, it’s through our actions that we truly listen to the Lord. Our actions do not save us; however, they can prove where our hearts are, and whether we’re truly willing and able to walk the plan God has for us. Titus 1:16 says, “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (NKJV).
Do your actions line up with your words? No matter how much you say you love God, if you’re not living like it–starting with the heart–you’re remaining in disobedience. Don’t let your actions cause you to miss out on the good plans God has for you.
Ultimately, God’s will is that nobody should perish: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV). God desires that you come to repentance and turn away from anything that harms your walk with Him.
God’s ready to forgive, and He’s ready to work in your life: “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV). Your walk with God is a journey. It’s choosing to say “yes” to God everyday. He doesn’t love you less when you make mistakes, but He’s waiting for you to choose Him. When you fall, learn. Mistakes don’t have to be repeated. When you seek Him, you’ll find Him, and you’ll find miracles in the process.
God’s Will is Revealed to Us
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:36 NIV).
We sometimes get so stuck on asking God to reveal His will that we forget He has shown it to us clearly.
These are some verses we can find simply by searching “God’s will” in the Bible. Each of these are His commands to follow in our walk with Him. God’s purpose isn’t supposed to be a mystery!
Regarding the gospel:
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’” (Mark 16:15 NKJV).
Regarding how we ought to love:
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 37:-39 NKJV).
Regarding our worship:
“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes 5:18 NIV).
Regarding sexual immorality:
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thes 4:3 NIV).
Regarding living by the Spirit:
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephes 5:15-20 NIV).
And the list goes on. The point is that the Bible is full of instruction for our lives already!
When we think of God’s will, we often think of specific matters. Perhaps, Who should I marry according to God’s will? Or, Where does God want me to live? Maybe, How do I choose the career God wants me to have? These are absolutely matters that God can lead us in, and God cares about the specifics in our lives–even our desires.
However, the mistake we often make is taking these matters into our hands while ignoring other ones. For instance, we can be asking God for our dream job yet have a negative attitude towards work when He tells us to do whatever we do with our whole heart (Colossians 3:23). We can be asking God for a spouse yet completely lack when He tells us to serve others and value them above ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Obedience is vital for us to handle a new blessing in the first place.
The initial steps of obedience pave our way to the next steps of obedience. As we serve God where we are planted, He opens the right doors.
Learn God’s will that’s already revealed in His Word. Examine yourself and see whether you’re faithful in His commands. As mentioned in Hebrews 10:36, when you persevere in God’s instructions, you will be walking in His plan. You’ll be so occupied maturing in God, honoring Him, and learning His voice that before you know it, you’ll be led by Him in all areas of your life.
God Will Handle the Specifics
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! (Psalm 143:10 ESV)
So, what about all the specifics? God cares about those, too.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (ESV). When we put God first and follow after Him, He provides for us. Any desires that were previously not of God cease. Our hearts become aligned with His. We desire His best for us, not our best for us (which doesn’t compare). So, we can have confidence that our God-given desires will be taken care of by the One who gave them.
God knows your uniqueness. He knows which specific circumstances you need. Ephesians 3:20 states, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (NIV). Essentially, the best thing you can imagine for yourself isn’t even as good as His best thing.
Allow God to handle the specifics. It’s fine to be specific with Him. We can go boldly to the throne (Hebrews 4:16). However, let God be God. Pray without ceasing, and let Him work. See what His best is. And remember, God’s story for your life is constantly unraveling. What you think is the end may be barely scratching the surface.
Trusting God is part of our faith walk. As we journey with Him, we learn how He talks with us, and we may be surprised many times where He takes us.
Let’s look back on some key points in the Trust Series:
- God’s plan is not scary. Don’t be afraid of falling down.
- Using God’s Word and trusted community, you can grow in discernment to know whether something is or is not of God.
- Doing life your way isn’t going to help you learn God’s way. However, He’s always ready for you to come back on track. Don’t miss out.
Now, go forward with confidence to the places God leads you. Stay curious, keep learning, and go deeper with Him. You’re His child, and it’s His delight to be with you wherever you go.
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