God’s Will for Your Life: Following Jesus means obeying God’s will for your life, whatever it is and whatever it costs you.
Luke 9:57-62 (GW) As they were walking along the road, a man said to Jesus, “I’ll follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to sleep.”
How do we know what God’s will is for our lives?
1/ God’s Word tells us God’s will
The Bible is the clear and concise truth that shows God’s will for every person. Everything that we need to know to please God is given to us from God’s Word. If you need to take a trip to a distant location you do not need a complete world map of every road and location. No, all you need is a small piece of the truth that leads you to your destination.
There is no further truth that is hidden, has been hidden, or ever will be needed in this life. God Almighty made sure we got exactly what WE NEEDED TO FOLLOW JESUS! Anything else would be a distraction.
You see, Jesus is the eternal TRUTH, the eternal WORD of God. We are told, “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. So the Word became human and made his home among us …and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1,14 (NLT) John 1:14 (NKJV) Before He came to earth through a supernal birth in a human baby and was resurrected proving He was God, He was the full and complete TRUTH.
The Greek is “logos” that we translate into “word”. This Greek word is always used to describe the scripture which is our Bible. But, we do not have the full and complete TRUTH today. John also tells us in John 21:25 (NLT), “Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.”
But it does not matter, we have enough. All the commands and information included in the Bible give us everything we need to follow Jesus. The Lord clearly commanded the first disciples what we need to do. He commanded all followers of Jesus, “Therefore, go and make disciples…Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NLT)
From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” Matthew 4:17 (NLT)
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” Matthew 4:19 (NLT)
And keep reading. These are not suggestions, but the very commands that Jesus told them to teach to every new follower of Jesus. His will is that all believers know those commands, follow those commands, and teach every new disciple to live by them generation after generation until He returns to earth.
But are we left alone to complete this task? Don’t we need divine guidance? How does God guide us?
2/ The Holy Spirit helps us understand God’s will
We find in our instruction book examples of God’s guidance. For example Peter was given an assignment to reach a Roman soldier with the gospel. But Peter needed some prep work to get him ready to do something that was contradictory to everything he was raised to believe. They would never enter a gentile’s home because they thought it dishonored God.
So God gave him a vision that commanded him to eat food that the Law commanded to never eat. That confused him and he resisted doing something wrong. But God was not talking about food. We learn in Acts 10:19-20 (NKJV), “While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
So the Holy Spirit spoke a word (rhema not logos), which is divine guidance, telling Peter to obey the command and “go and make disciples”, yes a Roman not a Jew, but a man who needed the gospel. You need to understand this was not some new revelation that added to the Word, but simply divine guidance.
Paul and the church at Antioch also received a rhema through the Holy Spirit when they were praying for God’s will. We find in Acts 13:2 (NKJV), “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” The Logos did not change, but the rhema helped them to know God’s will.
If you fear God is not speaking to you because you never heard His voice do not worry. Whenever a specific scripture captures you, flashes into your mind, or grips your heart you can be assured the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. This is a rhema from the Lord and He is guiding you just like He did with the first Christians.
The Holy Spirit and Jesus Are Under Authority
John 8:25-27; 12:49-50 (NLT)
25 “Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be. 26 I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” 27 But they still didn’t understand that he was talking about his Father…
49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50 And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”
The Holy Spirit is Under Authority to Help You Understand God’s Will (leads us to the whole truth)
Here is what Jesus explained in John 16:13 (AMP) “But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].”
The unity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is very real. The Holy Spirit resides in true believers to lead, not follow. Under the direction of the Father, He speaks to you helping you obey the commands of Christ. He will guide you into the truth, push you to change your way of thinking, lead you to God’s will, and help you do what is right. He never sleeps and is always with you.
Paul says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)
3/ The Holy Spirit also guides us with His grace
You cannot forget grace is divine influence upon the heart. This is why Paul explained in Philippians 2:13 (NLT) “…God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” And as you see in Mark 1:12-13 the Holy Spirit pressed, pushed, and drove Jesus in his heart to go into the wilderness to face severe temptation. It may be hard to explain, but the Holy Spirit motivates us to fulfill God’s will by pouring into our hearts strong holy desires that drive us to follow His guidance.
And this also goes deeper because like an umpire the Holy Spirit also guides us by our gut. Well what I mean is an unexplained peace prevails inside us as we walk in His will or an unsettling frustration grows when we need to stop and change course. Paul explains in Colossians 3:15 (AMP), “let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].” As you humbly seek God’s will also let the umpire direct you.
4/ The Lord uses human authority to reveal His will to us
Luke 2:46-52 (NLT)
Our example is Jesus who meekly submitted to his parent’s authority
46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
49 “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
50 But they didn’t understand what he meant.
51 Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. 52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
How can Christians not receive the powerful grace of God?
Hebrews 12:15 (NLT) Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
The hardest thing for Americans to understand is God is in charge of human authority and to be like Jesus means you submit to authority to fulfill the will of God. No one seems to know that Jesus and the Holy Spirit willfully submit to the will of the Father. Christ said, “I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” We are commanded to follow Jesus but tend to resist and refuse to follow human authority.
But so many resist their parents, hate the president, rebel against their boss, quite the church and turn in bitterness because they did not get what they wanted from them. Someone died and they blame God for it. They lose their job and want revenge from the company. But, every time this happens they forget “ that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” .Romans 8:28 (NLT)
Joseph was dragged off to be a slave in Egypt so later he could save his family. Moses was stolen from his mother so he could be used to save all Israel. Solomon built the temple that his dad left him to finish. And the innocent Jesus was crucified for all the crimes we committed. The will of God is given to us through the authorities we are under.
The arms and hands of God the Father are the human authorities in your life. You are a valuable diamond in the rough that the Father wants to cut to make a great and glorious diamond to show off for all eternity. They are meant to chip away at you transforming your character to be like Jesus. You must be like Jesus and surrender to their control to grow in wisdom. The unwanted and unfair actions of your authorities teach you faith, humility, forgiveness, patience, kindness, and how to love your enemies, just like Jesus. Will you receive God’s grace or reject His grace and experience the poison of bitterness?
But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it).
7 So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery].
9 [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins].
10 Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant]. James 4:6-10 (AMP)
5/ God uses surrender to lift us up to His will
The path to God’s will is always through humble admission of sin, sadness over our rebellion to His authority, and surrender to His will that we do not understand or comprehend. Do not rest until you yield all your rights to Him. Offer your life, all of it, to DO THE WILL OF GOD!
01/ Yield your right to self-will, and what you want to do with your life
02/ Yield your right to choose who you date-relationships
03/ Yield your right to pick your clothes-appearance
04/ Yield your right to spend your money your way, and give your possessions to His control
05/ Yield your right to choose what knowledge to have and give ownership to Him
06/ Yield your right to what friends you have
07/ Yield your right to what music you listen to
08/ Yield your right to choose your future
09/ Yield your right to have perfect health and surrender to what God allows in your life
10/ Yield your right to what you think is a good reputation
11/ Yield your right to make your own schedule and give God control of your time
12/ Yield your right to choose your activities
Your path to peace with God includes admitting who or what makes you angry. Like a warning light in your car, that which makes you angry is your sign that you have not yielded your rights to God. What about your job angers you? How dare those stupid drivers get in your way? Who do those neighbors think they are to let their dog poop in your yard? Who do they think they are trying to tell you what to do? Well I think you get it.
1/ So identify the rights you have not given up through your anger
2/ Then surrender that right to God. For example “I turn the right to spend my money any way I want over to God’s control. Take responsibility to support your family, your church, and pray about how to spend your money. Read the Bible and follow the instructions of God. This is a whole new way of life.
So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Romans 12:1 (NCV)
3/ Offer your whole life to Him. Transfer your whole life and everything you have to His ownership. Become a manager, not an owner. Truly surrender your all. Become a servant of God with nothing held back from Him.
4/ Once you really give over everything to Him you will find you are no longer angry. And once you can actually thank God for your circumstances because you know “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God.” Whether to test your faith, build your character to be like Christ, or open doors of ministry thank God for His sovereign love that leads you to the will of God.
Paul says, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8 (NLT)
So have you given your all to Jesus and are you really, Biblically, personally following Jesus? What is more important to you than obeying God’s will for your life, whatever it is and whatever it costs you?
Luke 9:57-62 (GW)
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to Jesus, “I’ll follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to sleep.”
59 He told another man, “Follow me!” But the man said, “Sir, first let me go to bury my father.”
60 But Jesus told him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. You must go everywhere and tell about the kingdom of God.”
61 Another said, “I’ll follow you, sir, but first let me tell my family goodbye.”
62 Jesus said to him, “Whoever starts to plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 10:1-3 (GW)
1 After this, the Lord appointed 70 other disciples to go ahead of him to every city and place that he intended to go. They were to travel in pairs. 2 He told them, “The harvest is large, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord who gives this harvest to send workers to harvest his crops. 3 Go! I’m sending you out like lambs among wolves.