How to know and do God’s will: Love and God’s Invitation
There’s a big difference between God’s will for my life and simply God’s will. God’s will is essentially the timeless unfolding of His work of redemption – a work into which He desires to draw and use me. So reject any thinking along the lines of “God, come bless what I’m doing” and instead develop a “God, help me to do what you want to bless” kind of prayer.
Something To Talk About:
If we are going to be used by God, we must first acknowledge that He is already at work all around us and that His work isn’t contingent upon us. This is not something we’re starting up. The weight is not on our shoulders—the pressure is off.
- God is always at work around me: He never sleeps. He never slumbers. He doesn’t go on vacation or ceases to be tuned in. He’s always alive, always active, and always working out His purposes in, around, and through you. This is summed up in John 5:17: “But Jesus replied, ‘My Father is always working, and so am I.‘” The same God Christ knew as His Father is our Heavenly Father today. God was working before He sent Christ to the world. He was working while Christ was in the world. And He continues to work through His Spirit today. Right now God is working all around you. One of the greatest tragedies among God’s people is that they are experiencing God day after day but do not know how to recognize Him. We need to learn to recognize clearly the activity of God in our lives. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God will instruct you and help you know when and where God is working. Once you know where He is working, you can adjust your life to join Him. The essence of salvation is a return to centering our lives on God. Then God has us where He can accomplish through us purposes He had before He created the world.
- God pursues a love relationship with you that is real and personal: In Scripture, God is often portrayed as the one who pursues, the one who initiates and approaches us to invite us into a thriving relationship with Himself. He loves you, regardless of whether you believe you’re lovable or not, and He wants you to experience the joy and awe of knowing him personally. The witness of the entire Bible testifies that God pursues us and orchestrates ways for us to experience Him. God is pursuing you every day in a love relationship that is personal and real. He desires your heart, strength, soul, and mind – all of you. Mark 12:30 says, “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” God created humanity for a love relationship with Him that is both real and personal. There is nowhere you can go that God will not be present. But He won’t force Himself on you. God may draw you to Himself and woo you relentlessly, but He won’t take away your ability to reject Him. You are a person created in the image of God, created to love and be loved. Greater than anything else in your life, remember that you are created for a relationship with God. God takes the time to know everything about you. God will never allow you to be separated from Him.
- God invites you to become involved with Him in His work: When you discover this truth for the first time, it’s a bit mind-blowing. God not only forgives us of our sins on the basis of Jesus’ death on the cross and our faith in Him, but He also goes on to include and involve us in His great work of redeeming a lost world back to Himself. He has been working throughout history to accomplish His purposes. He invites us to set magnificent goals and then pray that He will help us achieve them. He already has His own agenda when He approaches us. His desire is to get us from where we are to where He is working. When God reveals His work to you, that is the time to respond to Him. In Moses’ story, God’s purpose was to rescue the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and to establish them as a nation in their own land. Moses was the one through whom God intended to accomplish His plans. God invited Moses to become involved with Him in His work: “So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land….Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:8, 10). It would never have crossed Moses’ mind to do something like this had God not invited him. Yet suddenly Moses was being summoned to join in a work that God had been preparing centuries for. Because God loves you and wants to involve you in His work, He will show you where He is working so you can join Him.
- Where have you seen God working in your own life, in the last 1-5 years? Where do you see God at work around you? How does He want you to join Him?
- Do you truly love God with all your heart, soul, and mind? What thoughts or emotions does this question raise in you?
- How do we evaluate God’s love for us? Has the cross really convinced you that God loves us, or do we look elsewhere?
- What is your honest answer to the question “Is Jesus enough?” What does God want to do in your life to bring you to the point of answering “Yes!”
- How do we intentionally open our hearts to God? What does this look like?
- How do we experience God’s love by giving it away? What does this look like?
- God speaks when He is about to accomplish His purposes. Agree or disagree and why?
- What God initiates, He completes. Agree or disagree and why?
- What are a few of the things the Holy Spirit does?
- Pray and ask God to give you the discipline to spend time in His word every day.
- How did this message challenge, change, or affirm your thinking?
- What will you do? How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned this week?
Take one thing home with you:
God didn’t create the world and then abandon it to function on its own. He’s been actively involved in human affairs throughout history. In fact, He’s orchestrating history. Because of sin, humanity has been separated from a close relationship with God. God is working in His world to bring about the redemption of those who are alienated from Him and facing imminent judgment and destruction. The Father is working through Christ to reconcile the world to Himself. He’s chosen to accomplish His work through His people. As He carries out His mission, He seeks to move people into the mainstream of His activity. God is actively working in the lives of His people.