Tuesday, March 6, 2012

#15 God's Will

37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' [Matthew 22:37-39]

Many people struggle with whether or not a behavior that they're thinking about engaging is God's will.  I recently had a conversation with an old friend that was struggling with whether something he was thinking about doing was God's desire, his desire, or the devil's desire.  His question was, "how can I tell the difference between what are God's thoughts, my thoughts, or the devil's thoughts?"  He was truly confused.  

I believe that his confusion is a confusion that many people also feel.  Many well-meaning Christians consistently struggle with whether a thing is God's desire or something else.  And what I tell these well-meaning Christians is the same thing - God wants you to know His will more than you want to know God's will.  We are not mice in a maze with cheese in front of us labeled, "God's will."

Jesus wants you to know the Father's will.  And to that end He codified the greatest commandments - love God and love your neighbor.  God gave us 66 books written by 40 different authors over a period of 2000 years - simply to tell us what God's will is.  And all those words can be summed up by the words, "Love the Lord your God - and your neighbor as yourself."

Now, this is simple to know - but difficult to live out.  What does love look like?  It looks like forgiveness, discipline, self-control, etc....Yes, you will need discernment on what behavior to take in any and every situation.  However, knowing the principle is simple.  What we need to ask before we engage in a behavior is, "is this best for my neighbor?  Is this best to bring me closer to the Lord?"

Furthermore, we have the Word of God.  Every thought, behavior, and attitude can - and should - be filtered through the Word of God.  If a behavior, thought, or attitude can be filtered through the Word of God [meaning it is not condemned but instead encouraged] than you can be sure that it is God's will.

You see, God will never contradict Himself - so if His Word says it - He believes it.  He does not change like shifting shadows [thankfully] but instead is the same yesterday, today and forever.

We must not look inside ourselves to figure out God's will.  We will always simply do what we think is, "good."  And, to be quite frank, what we think is good is not always that good.  Our emotions, will, and desires always get in the way.  The Word of God will always be objective.  Amen. 

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