There are questions in the church today concerning God’s will. To some it
appears to be a mysterious part of God’s plan for their life, sometimes filled with confusion, doubt, and secrecy. In actuality though, the bible reveals God’s will in the majority of areas you may be questioning. There are however, some areas that the Bible doesn’t make God’s will known, matters like who to marry, which job to take, what college to attend, what to invest in, and so forth. In those areas, we have to seek God’s direction to see what his desire is. I will mostly be covering God’s known will in this teaching. Those that read and study the Bible will be able to pray “According to Your will” rather than “If it be thy will” because they will know what God’s will is in the situation. And you know what, your confidence level in prayer is much higher when you know God’s will in your situation.
Definition of “Will” = The faculty of the mind by which one determines or chooses, determined purpose, desire or intent.
God’s will is His divine purpose and direction for mankind as revealed in His Word. God’s will is consistent and doesn’t change by circumstances in one’s life. If God’s will was variable, it would be very difficult to walk by faith.
God’s will is not selective. By this I mean His will, concerning love, prayer, forgiveness, giving, obedience, and so forth is, the same for everyone, no exceptions.
Knowing the will of God is not something you learn in a moment of time, but rather a
consistent, disciplined, obedient, Christian life through the Spirit.
Jeremiah gives us a synopsis of God’s will and purpose for His children:
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
God’s will for you is not evil but to give you peace and a future and a hope. When did He establish that for you? Psalms 139 says that God saw you as you were being formed in your mother’s womb; in fact, every day of your life was planned before you were even born. Just think of that, His will for everyday of your life was planned before you were even born. Now, it’s up to you to learn how to walk in it!
There has been discussion as to whether or not God desires us to know His will. I would ask, how many of you knew your earthly father’s will when you were growing up? I was reminded of it every time I was disobedient. So, if you learned your earthly father’s will, wouldn’t it make sense to know your Heavenly Father’s will.
I’ve heard the phrase, “ You never know what God is going to do”! Well, those that believe that are telling me that they aren’t spending much time reading the Bible! Let me show you why I say that.
Let’s see what the Bible says about God’s desire for us concerning His will.
I. God actually commands us to know His will:
A. Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.
1. First of all, we need to realize that God has one will, a will that is good, acceptable, and perfect. He doesn’t have three wills! Notice will is singular, not plural.
2. The question is often asked, “Does God have a permissive will”?
a. In my opinion, the answer to that is no. I can’t find “permissive will” anywhere in the Bible
b. If God had a permissive will, shouldn’t Romans 12:2 read; “that good, acceptable, perfect, and permissive will of God?
c. If God had a permissive will it would make Him double minded and that just can’t be.
d. When things happen to us that God permits, it’s not what we would deem His permissive will. He permits it, but it’s not necessarily His will. It’s either our free will choice or His plan in helping us to mature in our Christian walk which is His good, acceptable, and perfect will. See James 1:2-4
3. The renewing of your mind is the only way you will know God’s will.
a. The renewing of your mind is brought to perfection by not only reading God’s Word, but by putting into action what you have learned. God reveals His will for mankind through His Word. As you study and put God’s Word into action, you will better understand God’s will for your life and your faith walk will be more rewarding. If you have knowledge of God’s will in a matter but don’t move on it, you only have a head not a heart knowledge of His Will.
4. What does renewing of your mind mean? Renewing means to replace, to make like new, restore to freshness, renovate, complete change for the better.
a. Renewing your mind means replacing the old way of thinking with a new way that comes about by reading the Word of God and replacing the old way of thinking with what the Bible says.
b. The new birth is the doorway to renewing your mind and God’s word is the agent.
5. The only way you will remain steadfast in any situation you are in is to know you are in God’s will.
a. As a matter of fact, that may be the only thing you have to stand on to overcome your doubts and fears.
B. Ephesians 5:17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
1. If you don’t know what the will of the Lord is in a matter, there is a chance you can
pray in doubt or unbelief and the enemy can significantly affect the outcome.
2. A lot of the time praying “If it be thy will Lord” is simply an excuse for a lack of
discipline in seeking His will about the matter in His word.
3. This scripture actually says you are unwise if you don’t know the Lord’s will.
C. Colossians 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased
to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Why?
1. So you can lead a life pleasing to Him and fulfill the purpose He established for your life before you were even born.
D. Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
1. If you don’t know the will of God, how can you stand perfect and complete in it?
2. This scripture says that you can stand perfect and complete in all the will of God, not just some of it.
E. Acts 22:14 Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth.
1.We have been appointed to know God’s will and to hear His Word, which is God speaking to us.
2. If you don’t read His Word, you are not going to hear Him speaking to you!
I believe that the previously read scriptures should prove to you that God expects you to know His will, but it’s going to take some effort on your part!
II. God gave man the freedom to make his own choices, known as “free will”:
A. God’s gift of free will to mankind was first given in the garden to Adam.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
1. So why did God give man free will?
a.God gave man free will because He wanted children that would love Him by choice and be obedient to His Word by choice, not because they were programmed.
B. Another instance of God giving man the choice of being obedient to His will or their own free will.
Deut 30:15-19 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways…then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…
1. God’s desire was that they be obedient to His will and prosper, not be cursed.
III. Jesus’ whole life and ministry was motivated by doing the will of the Father:
A. Jesus’s primary desire was to do the will of the Father.
John 6:38 “For I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of the One who sent me.”
1. Jesus was setting an example here for us to be like-minded.
B. Jesus in the garden,
Luke 22:42 “Father, if it is your will, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not My will but yours be done” NKJV
1. Jesus was not establishing a pattern for our prayer life here of “if it be thy will”. He was saying “if there be any other way to accomplish this, can it be done instead.”
2. Here He knew the Father’s will:
a. this is the thing that really sustained Him when he felt entirely alone
b. Jesus completely stripped himself of His will to do the Father’s.
c. man had failed in the garden, Jesus reversed it in the garden.
– I believe this was the real crucifixion.
C. Jesus didn’t seek His will but the will of His Father,
John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
1. One of the biggest struggles we face as Christians, on a daily basis, is whether
we should do it our way or God’s way in our situations.
2. Sometimes our way may seem easier but God’s way is ALWAYS best!
IV. Knowing His will is the foundation for a successful prayer life:
A. 1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything
according to His will, He hears us, and if we know that He hears us, we know we have
the petitions we have asked of Him.
1. Knowing His will results in confidence and confidence results in answered prayer.
2. Here again He tells us to know His will.
B. John 15:7 “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you”
1. His will and our will become one.
2. To pray “if it be your will God” in a situation when God’s will is made clear in His Word, is a prayer of doubt and unbelief, not humbleness.
3. “If it be thy will” (or better yet, Lord I seek your Will in this situation) is a prayer for direction in certain situations when God’s will is not made clear in His Word. Some examples are: which job to take, who to marry, what to invest in, which home to buy, what college to attend, to mention a few.
C. Areas in which the Bible makes clear the will of God (not necessarily all inclusive).
1. Obedience (Jeremiah 7:23), walking in love (Romans 13:8),
healing (Jeremiah 30:17), prosperity (John 10:10), marriage (11 Cor 6:14),
giving (Luke 6:38), bondage (Galatians 5:1), praying (1Thess. 5:17-18),
reading the word (Matthew 4:4), idolatry (1 John 5:21), anxiety (Phil. 4:6),
church attendance (Hebrews 10:25), sin (Roman’s 6:12-14), family (Psalms 133:1), salvation (1Timothy 2:3-4), being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18),
baptism (Matthew 28:19), sexual immorality (1Thessalonians 4:3),
forgiveness (Mark 11:25).
V. Many things that happen to us are not God’s will for our life, but can be the lack of
knowing God’s will or a manifestation of our own free will and fleshly desires:
A. Some believe that lack is God’s will for their life.
1. God desires for you to prosper, and takes pleasure in your prosperity.
Psalms 35:27 Let the Lord be magnified, which takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.
a. King David donated 112 tons of gold and 262 tons of silver for the temple, if that’s not prosperity, I don’t know what is.
B. Some believe that sickness is God’s will for their life, and that He puts sickness on us to keep us humble.
1. Here are a few scriptures that definitely refute that.
3 John 2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers
Matthew 8:17 He himself took our infirmities and bore our sickness
Matthew 8:2-3 2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
Matthew 14:36 and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.
a. Notice that Jesus didn’t even pray for these people and they were healed. You see, Jesus didn’t just heal, He was healing!
VI. The “sovereignty” (supreme power or dominion) of God will never override His will as
set forth in His Word:
A. You have probably heard it said that “God is sovereign and can do anything”. Well, that’s not altogether true. There are things that He is bound to, can never change and can’t do.
1. He is bound by His Word, never to change it – Psalms 89:34
2. God also can’t lie, He can’t sin, He can’t break His promises, can’t let sinners into heaven, etc.
B. God is upholding all things by the word of His power Hebrews 1:3
1. If God changed His will or Word, it would have devastating results on the earth.
2. The foundation of all truth and direction would be gone,
Psalms 11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do?
3. In this day and age it’s the only never changing foundation we can have faith in.
C. We can have confidence that His Word will never change. It’s our firm foundation.
1. Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but, my Word shall not pass away (shall not change).
VII. Here are some indicators that you are moving in the will of God:
A. First, and foremost, the Holy Spirit will confirm it through the Word – John 16:13-15
1. The Holy Spirit intercedes for you to know God’s will.
Romans 8:27 And the Father who knows all hearts, knows what the Spirit is
saying, for the Spirit pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will. NLT
B. You will experience more confidence and assurance – 1 John 3:18-22 & I John 5:14&15
C. The peace of God will rule in your heart – Colossians 3:15
1. You will not be confused or anxious about your situation – a real key here!
D. Negative feelings or circumstances will not deter you.
E. The enemies attacks will more than likely increase in an attempt to get you off track.
So, what about you? Are you questioning God’s will in a situation you are facing? Hopefully this message has helped clarify His will in the matter. I have referred you to some scriptures that will show you his will in many areas. If it is a situation that the Bible doesn’t make God’s will clear, come let someone pray for you that the Spirit will give you clear direction.