“So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17)
You’ve heard (and perhaps asked) the question a thousand times: “What is God’s will for me?” Well according to Ephesians 5:17 it’s a very good question to ask.
Let’s examine the 25 times the phrase the ‘Will of God’ is mentioned in the Bible and then consider the short answer that each verse provides. I say ‘short answer’ because there is much, much more to be gleaned in going back and examining the Scripture references in their Biblical context (click on the verse to read it in context). We would also do well to remember that while the Lord has a specific plan for each of us, it’s not primarily about us — it’s God’s will that as we’re transformed and that we conform to this bigger picture of His.
It’s the will of God that you do the will of God (duh), “For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” (Mark 3:35)
It’s the will of God that you serve, “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers” (Acts 13:36)
It’s the will of God to fuel your Christian walk, “Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.” (Romans 1:10)
It’s the will of God to know you and intercede for you, “And he that (searches) the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he (makes) intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:27)
It’s the will of God to change you for the better, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
It’s the will of God that you draw upon His joy, “That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.” (Romans 15:32)
It’s the will of God to send you out with the Gospel, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God” (1 & 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1)
It’s the will of God that you be submitted to Him and to every believer, “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” (2 Corinthians 8:5)
It’s the will of God to deliver you from evil, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Galatians 1:4)
It’s the will of God that you are obedient, “Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6)
It’s the will of God that you work enthusiastically, “Always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” (Colossians 4:12)
It’s the will of God for you to be holy, pure, and set apart, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication…” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
It’s the will of God that you demonstrate continual gratitude, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
It’s the will of God that you are faithfully confident until your great inheritance is realized, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:36)
It’s the will of God you abstain from lust, be honest, and obey the law of the land, “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15)
It’s the will of God that you could suffer for doing what is right, “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” (1 Peter 3:17)
It’s the will of God that you be Christ-minded, “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:2)
It’s the will of God that if you suffer it is not as criminals, but as unashamed, God-glorifying Christians, “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” (1 Peter 4:19)
It’s the will of God that you know: “The world (passes) away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God (abides) forever.” (1 John 2:17)
I can hear some of you saying, “Yes, I know it’s God’s will that I serve Him, that I’m obedient, that I’m enthusiastic, etc. etc. etc., but what does the Lord specifically want me to do!”
What do you want to do?
According to Psalm 37, there’s a good chance God has already put a desire in your heart, that is, if you are trusting in Him, if you’re delighting in Him, if you’re committed to Him, and if you’re resting in Him. Now couple this God-given desire with His plan that we share Jesus with a lost and dying world, praying for direction how two realities can function as one.
I begin each day asking the Lord, “What would you have me do today?” Often times I sense the Lord saying back, “What do you want to do?” Sometimes my answers are errant and the Holy Spirit is faithful to correct me. But a lot of the time my answers reflect the desire that He has put in my heart and I go and do that thing. That’s not to say that things always go as I had planned, but they do always seem to go as He has planned.
Get in the habit of doing God’s will as He has already prescribed in His word and watch Him lead you directly where He wants you to be.