“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 2:1-5.
If I had a five-dollar bill for every time I’ve been asked, “What’s God’s will for my life,” I would be a wealthy man. The frequency with which this question comes up provides some keen insight into just how important it is to many people. It should be important. We all want to know, “Why am I here and what should I be doing?”
The will of God for our lives is not some high-sounding theory; it is reality. Over the next few days we will look at this subject in more detail. The bottom line is that we have to live out His will in the real world.
Knowing God’s will requires patience, and for many of us that is not our strong suit. We want to know all of God’s will at once, but that’s not how God usually works. He reveals His will and His plan to us a step at a time—each move a step of faith—in an effort to grow our trust in Him. Here’s what we need to remember. While we wait for further direction, we need to be busy doing the good that we know to do. James 4:17 tells us: “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
In business and in life we know all the specifics: How many credit hours I need to get my degree. How long it takes to drive to the school, what our spouse expects of us, etc. Often, we want God to give us the specifics—where to work, where to live, whom to marry, what car to buy, etc. Free will is in play here. God allows us to make choices, but if we are yielded to Him, He has ways of preventing wrong choices. “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to…” (Acts 16:6–7).
The better we get to know a person, the more acquainted we become with his or her desires. For example, a child may instinctively want to run across a street to chase an errant ball, but doesn’t because he or she remembers the words of caution from their dad. The child will grow, and over time will not need to ask a parent for advice on every situation – they now know their parents thinking because they know their parents very well. The same is true in our relationship to God. As we walk with the Lord, obeying His Word and relying on His Spirit, we find that we are given the mind of Christ. “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16). We know Him, and that helps us to know His will. We find God’s guidance readily available. “The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.” (Proverbs 11:5).
Doing God’s will demands a decision. And that decision requires faith and action. You can’t see the end, so you have to trust Him in faith and then step out. You have to act. Faith and obedience naturally go together.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
- Does what I am doing or planning to do conflict with scripture? With the counsel of others? With my life experiences?
- Would you consider yourself a proactive or reactive person in seeking the will of God? Which would you prefer?
- How does having the mind of Christ help us discover God’s will for our lives? We have the mind of Christ by remembering what Christ did for us. What steps can you take to stop and reflect and rest in this reality more often?
- Read John 14:26 and John 15:26: What is the role of the Holy Spirit in having the mind of Christ?
- Pray that God will open your eyes daily to His will in your life.