The last couple of weeks I have really been contemplating the Lord’s will. It has been on my heart and mind. It seems when I speak to others they are pondering it too. There are so many saints weary from service, and so much still left to do. There are so many excited and waiting to go where the Lord has prepared for them. What is His will for our lives, our families, our community, our church? How do you figure that out?
It is obvious that God intends for us to be sharing the Gospel (Matt. 28:18-20), and that it is His will for all to come to salvation (2 Peter 3:9). It is the more specific instances that I see people struggling with. It is in the personal spaces of their own hearts that they are longing to know the purpose God has for them.
One of the most famously quoted passages is Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you’—this is the Lord’s declaration—’plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” This comes amidst a passage about the restoration of the exiles. What is interesting is that no one quotes verse ten which says, “‘When 70 years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm My promise concerning you to restore you in this place.'” Only after a certain period of time established by God, would He keep the promise He made in Deuteronomy 30:3-5. He would gather the exiles back together, but it would be on His time table. I think we are often claiming God’s promises with no regard to His timing. Yes, He does have plans to prosper us, but we have to wait on Him. Psalm 37:4-5 and 7a says, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him.” It is during the wait that we learn to be dependant on Christ. If we are faithful to Him, He is more than faithful to us. “The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you…” (2 Peter 3:9a) This is concerning salvation, but it is also dealing with God’s timing. Verse eight before it says, “With the Lord one day is like a 1,000 years, and a 1,000 years like one day.” God works in His own time. We must wait for Him to move.
As we wait, we trust Him; knowing that He has a plan. Proverbs 3:5-6 reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right path.” We do not have to be so concerned about where we are going. God knows. We must focus on our relationship with Him. If our hearts are attuned to Christ, we can not be led in the wrong direction. We must be seeking Him with all that we are. We must be speaking about Him in our homes and as we go on our way; when we go to sleep and when we rise (Deut. 6:7-9). God can not just be a Sunday morning ritual. He must invade our lives in every way. He must consume us like a fire (Heb. 12:29). As God rushed into the temple and burned everything up so there was no room for anything except His presence, we must have nothing else in our hearts and lives except Him (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). We are His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19).
God is not going to leave us alone (Heb. 13:5). In His time, He will show us the way. He will order our steps (Psalm 37:23) even when we do not know where we are going. Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with My eye on you, I will give counsel.” He is there. He is watching. He is guiding us all the time. While we are waiting, He is putting the pieces together for the next step that He will tell us to take. He is a great conductor. Isaiah 58:11a states with certainty, “The Lord will always lead you.”
I love what Colossians says about the Lord’s will. 1:9b-12 says so beautifully, “We haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.” That is such a moving word from the Lord to me. The Holy Spirit has convicted Paul to pray for this church. We should be praying for one another and ourselves on this journey. We need to be praying for God’s will to be made know to us in His wisdom. His will may be something that does not make since to our heads or our hearts, but it is a matter of peace in our spirits. When we know God’s will we can walk in a way that pleases Him. The result of doing His will is that we will see fruit from it. That is God’s confirmation to us. We will be growing in Him. I love that Paul prays for strength through God’s power, endurance, and patience. The wait is hard, and every Christian who has tried to live for God knows it. His will will only be accomplished through His might, and not any work of our own. The way the Lord inspires Paul to end verse 12 is also encouraging. We must do it all with joy and thanksgiving to God for our salvation. Paul was a man who knew what it was like to suffer, to be persecuted, and to wait on the Lord. Do not forget that it was Paul’s desire to go to Rome a long time before the Lord allowed it. He knew though that we must keep everything in perspective. No matter what answer we are waiting for, we can take joy and praise the Lord for the salvation we have now and the promise of being with Him in Heaven.
The Lord’s will is something that can only be confirmed to us by Him. It often requires time to be made known to us and also to complete. Let’s abandon our worries and plans to the God who knows it all and is ordering our steps as He guides us toward His purpose for our lives. Let’s focus on trusting and knowing Christ more intimately than we ever have before. Let’s get rid of the idols in our hearts, and let His presence reign. I bet before we know it, we will arrive at God’s will. Take joy in the process. Don’t rush too quickly ahead. The Lord has His own timing after all. Blessings to you all in the weeks to come as you pray and seek God’s will for your life.