The Problem with God’s Will (Newsletter 5-2)

by Robert Martin

The desire to know and ascertain the will of God often elicits great frustration. What does God want me to do? What does He have planned for my life? And with sighs of exasperation, many bemoan, “If only God would show me His will for my life!”

Oftentimes Christians are like spiritual cereal prize seekers, sifting through the sustenance in search of a trinket. Their misguided sentiment is: “I know it’s in there somewhere! If I can just get all the junk out of the way!”

Others always see the will of God as “out there” somewhere an elusive carrot dangling agonizingly close. One can sense and smell it, but it is beyond reach.

Even others link the fulfillment of the will of God to some yet to occur event: When I get married, I’ll be able to do the will of God; When my kids get older, I can pursue the will of God; If I could attend that bigger church, I could find the will of God for my life; If the pastor would use me more, I could find my place in God’s will; When I get out of debt, I’ll be able to do something for God. And so on.

But is the will of God difficult to know and mysterious? Is it out there somewhere? Is that the true problem with the will of God? Not in the least. God never intended His will for His children’s lives to be shrouded in mystery and secrecy. He has good intent and wants to lead to an expected end. He lights the paths. He directs the steps.

Quite simply, the will of God is to be filled with His Spirit.

Paul clarified this when he wrote, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5: 1 7 -18). Indeed, the will of God is not a mysterious, out-there pursuit but rather an internal obedience to the disciplines of Christ. Time is wasted if one sits idly, twiddling fingers, waiting for the will of God to fall into his lap. If one is pursuing the heart of God, patiently developing the fruit of the Spirit, he is already in the will of God.

Many times the will-seeker’s frustration is bred from impatience and a degree of undetected pride, as individuals push the fruit away in pursuit of the bright lights and fanfare. Some even seek, without investing in the proper development of their personal spiritual lives, the word of a prophet or minister to allow them to bypass the tediousness of fruit development. Spiritual pygmies result as the will seekers launch forth without properly developed disciplines and Christian character. Although they may be used, they can be dangerous, because their hearts are void of the knowledge of God’s heart.

6 Apostolic Witness

Not to suggest that people should not desire the gifts of the Spirit. Paul said they should be coveted. However, he also listed the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance). Gifts without fruit tend to lift up people. Gifts immersed in the fruit exalts Christ.

Fruitless Christians can develop destructive tendencies: knowledge glorified over wisdom; revelation exalted over sound doctrine; reaping given priority over sowing; the ways of God replaced by the works of God; endurance unseated by instant gratification; waiting on God replaced with how-to formulas; prayer meetings superseded by seminars; action given priority over accountability. The mysterious will of God has effectively replaced the true will – to know Christ.

Ironically, if one pursued the heart of God rather than the things of God, the knowledge of God’s will becomes a daily understanding. As one walks with God today, He will gladly open the appropriate doors tomorrow.

So, since we have determined that the will of God is not mysterious or hard to grasp, what is the real problem with the will of God? Quite simply, the true problem with God’s will is that it conflicts with ours. Our will often resents and rejects His will. Does our flesh want to carry a cross? Does our flesh want to love our enemies, forgive those who offend us, and go the extra mile? Indeed not. Our will is to protect and pamper ourselves, to seek our redress of grievances, and to be seen in a favorable light.

The will of God abases. The will of God crushes pride. For His will to be done in earth (in our earthen vessels) as it is in heaven, self-centeredness must be eradicated. That is the true problem with the will of God. We like our wills too much!

As Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, he petitioned that the cup would pass, that He would not have to drink the bitterness of crucifixion with the attached sins of the world. But after much agony, sweat, tears, and blood, Jesus said, “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” If God manifest in the flesh had to labor and travail to get to a point of release to God’s will, if He found it agonizingly difficult to submit, how much more will our tainted wills struggle with His?

Only through a daily walk with God can we hope to truly become Christlike. To become a Christian in the truest sense of the word. And that, dear seeker, is the true will of God for your life.