I have been listening to an interesting Bible teaching by James McDonald from Walk in the Word. It is on God’s will. This is a subject every Christian has spent hours pondering, I am sure. I know I have. What is God’s will for my life? Growing up in the church I had this idea and was taught that God has a specific will for each person’s life and it’s your job to figure out just what that will is and do it. I always found this really frustrating because I was afraid if I got it wrong, then it would mess up my whole life and I would not be able to do what God wanted for my life. It’s a lot of pressure! And even now as an adult I felt that pressure even more. There are many different ideas on God’s will and how one finds it. I heard one person say once that if you want to do something then it cannot be God’s will because of the verse in Proverbs about our hearts being evil. I really didn’t believe that. I just couldn’t believe that God would make me with unique ideas, abilities and desires for no good reason. I believe God puts desires in our hearts for a reason and that if we are earnestly seeking Him our desires will line up with His will.
The pastor I was listening to today was saying that he feels that God does not have a specific will for each of us, but a general will for everyone. He was saying that we are too focused on answering questions about what job we should have, where we should live and whom we should marry when God is more focused on what kind of person we are to become. If we focus on becoming the person that God wills us to be, as outlined in the Bible, then we will know and be able to do the will of God. He said that God is sovereign over everything and nothing is going to happen outside His will. He gives us choice and free will to make decisions within His will, but ultimately He will get His will done in the world with or without us.
I find this to be a very interesting idea. It really takes some of the pressure off of us to “find God’s specific will” for our lives. It releases us from being so worried about each and every small decision we make so that we can focus on becoming the person He wants all of us to be. There are clearly laid out ideas in the Bible about what we are to do and not to do to become more like Christ. If we follow those instructions then we don’t have to worry about questions like what job we should do or where we should live. We can know that God will work those things out and ultimately most of that we do not have control over anyway. We have to “submit to God’s will in things we cannot control”, which is most everything. We cannot control most of what happens in our lives, God works those things out and we must choose to submit or not to what He is doing in our lives. That word “submit” really got me. A lot of things happen in my life that I either like or don’t like. I don’t have much choice about whether they happen, but I do have a choice about submitting to God no matter what happens. I don’t always do this, especially with the things that happen that I don’t like. Submitting means I say to God “I trust you”, no matter what is going on. I can’t say I do that all the time. That’s not my first reaction anyway. But it should be. God is leading us all in certain directions in our lives and He places things in our paths to lead us into certain ways and not others. I am glad to be able to stop questioning if I am in God’s will all the time with every decision, but to focus on whether I am submitted to God and trusting Him in whatever happens. We have this idea that we are in control of our lives, which is not the case. It is not up to us to find God’s will, because that would imply that we are in control of doing God’s will or not. But submitting to God in whatever happens in our lives and focusing on Him and our relationship with Him says that God is in control and we are not. I just need to focus on my relationship to Him and trusting Him that HE is in control of everything that happens and He will work out His will in my life. He is in the driver’s seat, not me, therefore we cannot get off course.