Wednesday we looked into two passages that guide us concerning the knowledge of God’s will, today we look to four more.
c) 1 Thess. 5:18, ‘…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’ As 1 Thess. 4:3, 5:18 is just as clear. The will of God for our lives is, again, simple – give thanks regardless what circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment. This means the will of God does not always lead us into what is comfortable and directs us to how we do life in the hard times. Rather than asking God, ‘Why did you put me here?’ we seek after a grateful and thankful heart, a heart that is content. So when we combine 1 Thess. 4:3 and 5:18 we understand a great deal of God’s will for our lives: 4:3 leads to press into holiness while 5:18 leads us to press into a thankful contentment. Discontent in sanctification (which leads to a greater pursuit of holiness), and thankfulness in all circumstances (which leads to contentment). Is this not the opposite of the American way? We are prone to be content with our sanctification and discontent with our situation. God’s will is for us to go against flow of the world.
d) Romans 12:1-2, ‘I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.’ The principle being taught in this passage is one of discipline in a specific skill. From the long training of a classical conductor, they can detect a false chord struck by one instrument in a symphony of hundred of instruments, so too the Christian’s mind/heart are fine tuned to truth by continual exposure to the truth of God’s Word, this renews our mind so greatly that even when we taste or sense heresy even when cannot describe it. The Christian’s heart, over time of doing life as a living sacrifice, can become attuned to God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will. This means when it comes to God’s will I often tell people to simply go what they please, because when they’re living in line with Romans 12:1-2, what pleases them is living a life that pleases. So a quick answer (that needs a bit of explanation) to the question ‘What is God’s will for my life?’ is simply ‘Just do what you please to do.’
St. Augustine agrees and says, ‘Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.’
R.C. Sproul similarly states, ‘As long as what you do (or who you marry, or what job you take, or where you decide to live) falls within the parameters of the preceptive will of God, you have complete liberty to act according to whatever pleases you, and you do not need to lose any sleep wondering whether you are outside the hidden or decretive will of God.’
John Piper says, ‘The Bible does not tell you which person to marry, or which car to drive, or whether to own a home, where you take your vacation, what cell phone plan to buy, or which brand of orange juice to drink. Or a thousand other choices you must make. What is necessary is that we have a renewed mind, that is so shaped and so governed by the revealed will of God in the Bible, that we see and assess all relevant factors with the mind of Christ, and discern what God is calling us to do. This is very different from constantly trying to hear God’s voice saying do this and do that. People who try to lead their lives by hearing voices are not in sync with Romans 12:2.’
e & f) Psalm 1:1-2, ‘Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers, but His delight is in the Law of the Lord, and on His Law he meditates day and night.’ And Psalm 119:105, ‘Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path….(v119:111 also) Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.’ These verses remind us of what we saw at the beginning of tonight, that we ought not chase after the secret or decretive will of God. No. We’re to rather, give ourselves to the lifelong study of the revealed or preceptive will of God, because it is in the Word of God where we find the will of God for our lives. So when others ask us about God’s will for their lives remind them or when we ask ourselves about God’s will for our own lives remind yourself that the best way to know God’s will is to know His Word.
In this manner I say again, life lived in this way will be lived according to the will of God because it is life lived according to the Word of God.