THE WILL OF GOD

For I came down from Heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me. (John 6:38)

THE MEANING OF "WILL"

The common meaning of the word "will" is to determine or decide on the basis of the will.

The will is the power of choice. There are three types of will operating in the world today:

SELF-WILL:

This is the will of man, the basic selfish nature which desires to walk its own way. When you guide your life by self-will, you make choices on the basis of your will apart from God. The Bible warns about self-will:

O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)

Self-will is the operation of the fleshly nature of man:

But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed; they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. (II Peter 2:10)

The Bible records the results of self-will:

So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels. (Psalms 81:12)

Sin, suffering, and trouble in the world today are all results of man living in disobedience to the will of God. David speaks of self-will operating in the lives of wicked men:

Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. (Psalms 27:12)

The Bible states that leaders in the church should not be self-willed:

For the bishop must be blameless as the steward of God: not self willed... (Titus 1:7)

SATAN'S WILL:

Satan has a will. He desires to destroy all that is good in your life. Jesus warned Peter about this:

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. (Luke 22:31)

Satan wants to sift all that is good out of your life. Jesus said:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Paul said some believers are taken captive by the will of Satan:

And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (II Timothy 2:26)

GOD'S WILL:

The third will operating in the world is the will of God.

THE MEANING OF GOD'S WILL

THREE MEANINGS OF "THE WILL OF GOD"

Sovereign Individual Moral

(Boulema) (Greek: thelema)

The New Testament was originally written in the Greek language. In Greek there are two terms used for the word "will" in reference to the will of God.

One word is "boulema," which refers to God's sovereign will. This is His predetermined plan for everything that happens in the universe. This type of "God's will" is fulfilled regardless of decisions made by man. It is His master plan for the world.

The "boulema" will of God does not require the cooperation of man. In the "boulema" will of God, the outcome is predetermined. The "boulema" will of God is written in His Word and is quite clear. There is no need to seek this will of God because it is revealed in the Bible.

The other word "thelema" refers to God's desire for man to experience and live in His will. It refers to His individual plan or will for each man and women. In order for God to fulfill His "thelema" will, it requires your cooperation. You have the power to choose whether or not you will walk in the "thelema" or individual will of God for your life. It is this "thelema" will, or God's will for you as an individual, to which we refer when we speak of seeking God's will.

One other type of God's will is the "moral" will of God, commandments revealed in the written Word of God which teach how believers should live. The individual and sovereign wills of God for man never conflict with the moral will of God as revealed in His Word. The following chart summarizes the various meanings of the "will of God":

JESUS AND GOD'S WILL

God’s will was the chief concern of Jesus during His earthly ministry. He declared:

For I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me. (John 6:39)

God’s will was to bring men and women into right relationship with Him:

And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. (John 6:38)

And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:40)

The purpose of Christ's life was to fulfill God's will. Even as a child, Jesus was concerned with doing God's will. When He was in the temple and His parents came looking for Him, Jesus said:

Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? (Luke 2:49)

The secret of His spiritual strength was found in doing God's will:

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work. (John 4:34)

This verse reveals His concern with finishing God’s work through His life and ministry.

The power evident in Christ's earthly ministry is related to the will of God:

I can of mine own self do nothing; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)

Christ's words and deeds were not His own. He spoke and acted according to the Father's will:

My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. (John 7:16)

The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's. (John 14:24)

I do nothing of myself, but as my Father has taught me. (John 8:28)

I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)

Even as He faced death by crucifixion, Jesus prayed:

. . . O my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:39)

Jesus was willing to die and it was God's will for Him to do so. The life of Jesus is a perfect example of absolute conformity to the sovereign, moral, and individual will of God.

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOD'S WILL

God's will is important because. . .

IT DETERMINES YOUR ETERNAL DESTINY:

Your eternal destiny depends on doing God’s will. You must respond positively to God's plan of redemption for your life. . .

Because straight is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:14)

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in Heaven. (Matthew 7:21)

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. (I John 2:17)

IT IS THE BASIS OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD:

Your relationship to Jesus is based on doing His will:

For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. (Mark 3:35 See also Matthew 12:50)

IT PROVIDES DIRECTION:

God's will is important because you are incapable of directing your own way:

O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)

You lack the ability to guide your own steps. Without God's guidance you go your own way and stray from the plan of God:

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way. (Isaiah 53:6)

IT PROVIDES KNOWLEDGE OF THE FUTURE:

God is the only one with knowledge of the future. He knows the snares of Satan that await you. He knows the future of the economic and political systems. He knows what events await you in the future:

I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done. (Isaiah 46:9-10)

Man is able to function in the present and recall the past. He can also plan for the future.

But God is the only one with actual knowledge of the future.

Some people think Satan has foreknowledge of the future. He does not. If he did, he never would have motivated the crucifixion of Jesus. He would have been able to look into the future and see that by this act redemption from sin would become a reality. Satan only knows what God chooses to reveal about the future. For example, Satan knows that his eternal destiny is Hell because God revealed it.

IT IS COMMANDED THAT YOU KNOW IT:

Knowing God's will is also important because you are commanded to know and do it:

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:17)

As the servant of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. (Ephesians 6:6)

God desires your obedience to His will more than He desires your sacrifices or praise:

And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry. . . (I Samuel 15:22-23)

God wants you to stand perfect and complete in His will:

Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (Colossians 4:12)

IT RESULTS IN DOCTRINAL SOUNDNESS:

Jesus said:

If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (John 7:17)

If you do God's will as it is revealed to you, then you will develop spiritual maturity in judging sound doctrine. This will prevent you from being deceived by false teaching.

IT RESULTS IN ANSWERED PRAYER:

When you are living in the will of God you can pray with confidence that your requests will be answered:

And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. (I John 3:22)

Now we know that God heareth not sinners; but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth. (John 9:31)

And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. (I John 5:14)

IT BRINGS SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS:

Spiritual blessings are promised if you do God's will:

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:36)

Blessings will actually pursue you:

And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to serve and to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth; And all these blessing shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)

IT HELPS YOU AVOID CHASTISEMENT:

Chastisement means discipline, reproof, and correction. Those who deliberately turn away from God's revealed will are chastised:

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. (Deuteronomy 28:15)

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him; For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye are without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (Hebrews 12:5-9)

Jesus also warned:

And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (Luke 12:47)

Knowing God’s will is a serious matter for those who desire to live the abundant life and avoid chastisement.

IT RESULTS IN SUCCESS:

One of the instructions given to Joshua when he assumed leadership of the nation of Israel was to keep the commandments of God and walk in His ways. If he did this, Joshua had this guarantee:

Then thou shalt make thy way prosperous and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

Psalms also records that a man walking in God's way will be successful and "whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Psalms 1:3). In a world filled with failure and defeat, knowing and doing the will of God is the secret to successful living.

THE PROPER MOTIVATION

You should be motivated to do God's will because you love Him. Love desires to please the object of that love:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

Study these following verses:

Acts 16:6-10;

Romans 1:10; 15:32;

I Corinthians 1:1; 4:19; 16:7;

II Corinthians 1:1;

Ephesians 1:1;

Colossians 1:1;

II Timothy 1:1

Romans 11:33-36

Genesis 24:

Acts 2:23

Proverbs 16:9

II Corinthians 6:14

Acts 4:27-28

Psalms 32:8

Romans 2:18

Romans 9:19

Proverbs 3:5-6

I Thessalonians 5:18

Proverbs 16:33

Ephesians 5:17

I Thessalonians 4:3

Ephesians 1:11

Ephesians 6:6

Revelation 4:11

Romans 12:2

Proverbs 21:1

Colossians 1:9

Daniel 4:35

Colossians 4:12