Summary: A message about finding God’s personal will for your life.
Discovering God’s Personal Will
* (Read the Text) Did you catch the last part of verse 2? “So that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” The NIV says it this way, “that you might test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” The KJV renders this, “That you may be able to ‘prove’ what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” While the English Standard version says it this way, “That by TESTING you may discern the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” From these two verses, let’s direct our thinking to “Discovering God’s Personal Will” for our lives, or better said, “For my life and for your life.”
* Books have been written about knowing and doing God’s will. While this is “going on a limb”, I’ll suggest that every person who possesses an authen-tic faith desires to know and do God’s will. At the same time if we are honest we will admit that discovering and discerning His personal will for us seems to be confusing at best and allusive at worst. And the reason for this is there is much misunderstanding about God’s will. So, let’s dig in.
* The questions are these; 1) what exactly does the term “God’s Will” mean? And 2) what is required for me to know it?
* To answer the first question in Biblical way requires me to turn loose some of the things which I have been taught since I was boy in Sunday school. Let me offer to you an understanding of the 3 different wills of God’s which I hope will simply give us the concept and a point of understanding. Certainly different preachers might develop this subject a little differently than I, but as far as I can tell, this is a Biblical concept.
A. God’s Planned Will (John Piper calls this God’s Will of Decree or Sovereign will). This is His will which does not change. There are many examples of this found in the Bible. Probably the most well known is when Jesus prayed in the Garden, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” God had laid it in stone that Jesus, His Only Son, would come to earth and die on a cross as the lamb slain before the foundations of the world. It was His Planned Will and nothing could change it. For that average person who looks at their Bible occasionally, this concept is difficult to grasp because just as surely as God will Jesus to die, He appointed all the players in the plot to sin by crucifying Jesus. Acts 4:27-28 tells us that Herod, Pilate, Gentiles, Jews, & Pharisees sinned by crucifying Jesus. So sometimes, God’s planned will cause some things to happen that He hates. We can pursue other texts which affirm this truth but suffice it to say that God’s planned will is HISTORY written in advance.
B. God’s Personal Will- (John Piper calls this the will of command). The reason I call this God’s personal will is because this is God’s plan for our Personal best. We could call this God’s Perfect Will because if we would follow it completely, we would become all that God planned for us to be and we would enjoy all the benefits which God has for us. However, this is the part of God’s will for which we are responsible. He has the best plan, but He gives us a choice. We can give several illustrations; a) In 1 Thessalonians 4:3 Paul writes, “This is the will of God, your sanctification; that you abstain from sexual immorality.” While this is God’s will for each of us, many are indeed living immoral lives today. B) In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 he writes, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” While it doesn’t get clearer than this, certainly not all fulfill God’s personal will for them. C) How about 2 Peter 3:9 which says in part, “The Lord is not willing or wanting (does not will) for any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” Did you hear that? God does not want anyone to perish in the Lake of Fire called the 2nd death, He wants, wills, and is willing for all to come to repentance. Let’s be honest, not all are willing to repent, which means to turn from their sin. Quite likely some in this room, hearing these words, are living in some private or public sin and are unwilling to repent.
C. God’s Permissive Will- Without hesitation or reluctant this is the will of God each of us wants to avoid. This is literally disobedience.