Monday, August 17, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: Knowing God’s Will
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:17 It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Is it God’s will?
How can I know God’s will?
All devoted followers of Christ deeply desire to know and do the will of God. In a humble spirit of Biblical admonition, let me say that Christians who ask those questions are revealing a spiritual weakness. The desire to know God’s will is not a weakness, but claiming to not know it is. To be confused between what God wants and what we want reveals the level to which we have validated our pride and minimized our surrender to Christ. Most often, I believe, when we claim to not know God’s will, it is because we have chosen to walk according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit. When we are filled with the Spirit and have surrendered our will to the will of the Father, we will be keenly aware of anything in our lives that is not in conformity to the will of God. Not knowing His will indicates that the flesh is still in control.
Tomorrow I’m going to give you six simple ways you can confirm the will of God in your life. Today you may be slightly uninterested. The reason for that is simple – we have been trained by the flesh to deal with issues from the outside in, rather than the inside out. We would much rather follow a self-help plan that has been developed to supposedly fix the problem than be asked to look into our own hearts as the root of the problem. But our hearts are the real problem, and the real fix we need to the problem of knowing the will of God is to first surrender to the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Satan would love us to remain in denial about the influence of the flesh on our everyday lives and our decisions. Knowing and doing the will of God requires the death of the flesh and the full surrender of our hearts to the Lordship of Jesus Christ through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Please carefully study the following passages of Scripture and let the Holy Spirit convince you of this truth –
- Galatians 5:16-17 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
- Romans 8:5-8 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
- Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Notice the progression of knowing and doing God’s will:
- First, we must choose to live according to the power of the Holy Spirit and not according to our own sinful nature. We must move from “my will” to “I will”. Even though we may not see the outcome, knowing the will of God is a walk of faith which requires our surrender first. We must not impose any contingencies or reserve the right to refuse what God reveals. We must say “I will” before He will show us His will.
- Second, we offer our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord. A sacrifice has no control of outcomes. We must be willing to accept whatever God determines for us even when we have no idea what that will be. Anything less than that is not faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God.
- Third, we allow the mind of Christ to transform and renew our thinking so we no longer make our decisions according to the standards and patterns of the world but according to our faith in the presence and power of God.
- Fourth, we will now be able to know, test, and approve God’s will.
- Fifth, we will find His will to be good, pleasing, and perfect for fulfilling our lives.
My friends, I know the pain involved in recovering from years of denial about the power of the flesh in our lives. None of us enjoys the prospect of such pain. But I am convinced that the sufferings of this day are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us when we surrender fully to the reign of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The richness of relationship with Christ Jesus our Lord that will be revealed will be far greater than anything we thought we were producing for ourselves. Please take some serious time today to let the Holy Spirit root out every area of pride and the flesh. Let us fall on our knees before the throne of grace and confess every area of self that we have denied in the past. Let us surrender by faith to the will of God, and let us be determined to obey His will no matter what it is.
It is ALWAYS better to do God’s will, even if it means we must suffer.