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Understanding God’s Will

Acts 21:10-14


Paul is in route to Jerusalem, knowing in the Spirit that bad things await him, even death.  But he was determined to go.  Whether this was God’s will or not is what is in question, and there’s good people on both sides of that argument.  He is warned now for the 2nd time that danger awaits, and his friends and co-laborers beg him not to go.


There is disagreement here, but there’s one thing they all agree on:  they want God’s will to be done.  And that should be the greatest desire of our hearts:  to know and to do the will of God!


1.     We need to seek the will of God

God wants us to know His will even more than we want to know it.  He said, “seek and ye shall find” / “seek me early and ye shall find me” / “draw nigh to Me and I will draw nigh to you.”


We need to seek God’s will in whom we marry/where we go to college/what standards/giving/having a ministry/where to live/finances and what we do with our lives.


Joke—Kimberly is the least selfish person I know on earth.  Her folks overheard her praying one night before bed:  “Dear Lord, I ask nothing for myself, but please, give my momma, a very handsome son-in-law!”


Seriously, it’s not your life…you belong to God…don’t settle for less than God’s best…seek His perfect will for your life!


You don’t have the right to just decide what you’re gonna be, and what you’re gonna do…seek His will!  And we all should seek His will for all decisions, big and small.


2.     We need to surrender to the will of God

Eph. 6:6

    Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;


Jesus is the very epitome of this.  He knew God’s will for the end of His life, and in the garden of Gethsemane, He surrendered to that which would not be pleasant for His human nature.  “Not my will, but Thine be done!” he prayed.


3.     We need to stand in the will of God

Col. 4:12

    …that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.


Once we know His will, we need to surrender to it, and then stand firm in it, not drifting to the right or the left.


A definition:

The will of God is exactly what we would choose for our lives if we had sense enough to choose it.


God loves us more than we love ourselves.  He knows of greater possibilities and more success that we could achieve, if only we’ll seek and follow His plan!


God is more qualified to plot a course for our lives than we are.  Just imagine the advantage you’d have if you hand-crafted a person to your own design, and knew exactly what lay ahead for them throughout every moment of their future!


Just for fun--  a palindrome:  [a word or sentence spelled the same forwards and backwards]  A man, a plan, a canal, Panama  J

Ill.—In the Panama Canal is a series of locks, and if you want to cross there, you have to be able to accurately navigate thru them.  Each lock has markers which the captain must use.  He has to maneuver the ship so that the markers line up in a straight sequence.

        God in His Word has given us several markers that we can go by…and when they line up we have a better assurance of what God’s will is for our lives!


The first marker:

  • Recognition

A.    It’s Real

The first step is recognizing that God has a will for your life.  It’s a very real thing we see throughout the Bible.

Psalm 37:23

    The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

Proverbs 3:6

    In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.


I can’t know all the details of God’s will for your life…but I know one thing:  God does have a plan for your life!  It’s a divine blueprint of you and your life, crafted by the One who designed the universe w/out any plans! 


What a powerful and captivating thought, that God is so involved in something as small as little ole’ me!

Matthew 10:29

    Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.


A sparrow is so insignificant, and yet God has a plan for each of them!  How much more w/ us?!


I wanted to know what a farthing is, so I could tell you--so, I looked it up:  it’s 1/10th of a drachma and 1/16th of a denarius!  So…now you know!  J  Evidently, it’s like a few cents at most in our economy.

        God says, they are practically worthless, and God has a plan for them [deductive reasoning…arguing from the lesser to the greater]  We are the highest of God’s creation…made in His image…It’s unthinkable that God would not have a plan for our lives!


“His Eye is on the Sparrow,” and you can know He’s watching you, too!


B.    It can be Refused

God will not make you do His will.  He has given us a free will to choose.  He didn’t force Adam and Eve to obey Him, but gave them a choice, and it’s been that way ever since…why?  Because God wants people to choose to love, obey, and follow Him, not slaves that do it by force!


Ill.—a rapist forces himself on someone, because no one would choose to love him, in many cases.


You can choose to be saved or not.  And once you do, you have another choice:  will you do the will of God?


A huge # of Christians today say they believe in God, but they choose to live their life their own way.  He’s ok for their eternity, but not for their present!  Some may even seem successful, making money, or famous, or “happy”…but if they aren’t in God’s will they are a failure!


The will of God is very real, it may be refused, but…


C.    It’s always Right

Romans 12:2

    …that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.


Ill.—imagine a guy who likes to play the violin…he turns on a CD of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and begins to play at the same time, but he’s playing Yankee Doodle.  He can do that if he wants, but there will be a real mess…big-time discord in that house!

        God has arranged a great symphony for your life…don’t be found off in a corner playing Yankee Doodle…but pay attention to the great Conductor and follow Him beat for beat!


Recognition:  God’s will is real, can be refused, but is always right!


  • Resolution

You must resolve in advance that once you know His will, you will do it.  Don’t work “with a net”…God doesn’t work that way!


Ill.—on Damascus road, this man Paul [then Saul] asked God the 2 most important questions any of us can ask:  “Who are you Lord?” & “What do you want me to do?”


Ye are bought with a price, and ye are not your own!  If you’re saved then you are God’s…you’re God’s twice:  you’re God’s by virtue of creation and by virtue of redemption.  He made you, you rebelled became lost in sin, and He bought you back!


Ill.—don’t approach God’s will “cafeteria style”—taking which parts you like and leaving what you don’t!  Decide in advance that you trust Him who is trustworthy.  God does not reveal His will to us so that we may consider it!  You’ll never know God’s will for your life if you have this attitude.  God reveals His will to those He knows will obey it!


John 7:17

    If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.


Being willing comes first, before the “doing.”


Why is this?  I believe that sometimes if we knew what God had ahead for us it would scare us…we wouldn’t be ready to accept that He could really do such great things thru us, and that the road to those places could be so bumpy and painful. 


Some people are afraid of God’s will…that it’s like Alka-Seltzer:  it’s good for you, but not too pleasant.

[He’ll call me to Africa, or make me marry some ugly chick!]


ill.—imagine a loving father w/ a teenage son.  His son says, can we spend the whole day together Saturday?  Do you think that father would say, “ha ha ha…I’ve got him now, I’m gonna think of everything he hates and just fill his day with it…he’s gonna pull weeds, he’s gonna eat brussel sprouts, and clean the gutters and scrub toilets!”

        No, a loving father says, “what a privilege that my son wants to please me and spend time with me…the least I can do is make it a wonderful experience, ‘cuz then, at the end of the day, he’ll love me even more!”


Let me go on record:  Doing God’s will is “a wonderful life!”


Our God is not some evil personality/cosmic killjoy/goal is to make you miserable…He loves you, and has a wonderful plan, and wants you to know it…He’s not masking it mysteriously…if you want to know it and are willing to do it [in advance], He’ll say, “I hear that request and I hereby answer it…my will is:   ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­______________________.”


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­If God’s will is for you to go to Africa, then you’ll be happy with that…you’ll want to go there in a way you may not want to at this moment, and you’d be happier there than in America, and safer!

        The safest place on earth is the middle of God’s will!


Ill.—have you got to spend time w/ our missionaries?  They are so happy to be where they are, and hate having to come back for furloughs!


One day a grandfather told his grandson, “I’m leaving to run some errands, do you wanna come w/ me so we can spend some time together?”  He asked, “Where are you going?”  He replied, “If you want to be with me, then it doesn’t matter!”


“God says, will you surrender to walk with me and do my will?” 

“Well, what is it?” 

“It doesn’t matter!”


Recognize God has a will for you, resolve that you will do it…


  • Revelation

When we walk in what light we’ve been given, God gives us more light.  Some people don’t know God’s will for their future because they’re not doing God’s will right now!  Why should He reveal his will about tomorrow if you’re not obeying Him today?  He said it, “if you’re faithful in least then you’ll be faithful in much!”

A statement:    “The way to know God’s will tomorrow is to do His will today!


Ill.—headlights on a car:  they only shine a little ways, but guess what, once you travel that far, they reveal further down the road for you!

        God doesn’t just lay it all out for us…the “steps” of a good man are ordered by the Lord.


God called me to be a pastor, but for years all He showed me to do was run a bus route, work in Jr. Church, etc., and then, when I was ready, He took me to the next level, and the next!


I know a little about God’s will for you.  That you pray and read your Bible every day, and be faithful to Him and your church, and be honest and hard working, etc.  And I also know one more thing…if you don’t, you won’t find out what else He had in store for you!


If you don’t do the basics of His will, what makes you think He’ll send a smoking plane to write His will out for you across the sky?!


Another statement:        

“God is more concerned about your character than your career

        You cannot know God’s personal will for your life if you disregard God’s moral will for your life.


Being right with God comes before being “right in the middle of His will”.


If you have unconfessed sin in your life and you pray for God’s will and direction, it’s a mockery!

Ill.—a couple fornicating, praying for God to show them His will.

1 Thes. 4:3

    For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:


Sin in the life cuts the phone line to heaven.

Psalm 66:18

    If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:


Pray a prayer like this:  “Lord, I want to know and do your will…nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else!”

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