ARUnderstanding God's willThe key to understanding His will lies in pursuing spiritual renewal in Jesus Christ. The more we become like Jesus, the deeper we can comprehend the heart of God, for the mystery of God is Christ Jesus.The will of God is derived from God's divine nature and the key to understanding His will lies in pursuing spiritual renewal in Jesus Christ (Rom 12:2). Spiritual renewal can be achieved through the process of pursuing the likeness of Jesus Christ through His words, His Spirit, and His love. The more we become like Jesus, the deeper we can comprehend the heart of God, for the mystery of God is Christ Jesus (Col 2:2).
The Lord Jesus Christ teaches
us to pray that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Mt 6:10). He
reigns as king in heaven, for His will has been fulfilled. Whenever His
will is done on earth, His kingdom is realized in our hearts (Lk 17:21).
The kingdom of God is the
main theme of Jesus’ ministry. He proclaimed that the kingdom of God is
at hand (Mt 4:17) and advised the world to seek His kingdom and to seek
righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). For those
who abide in His kingdom, the blessings of this life shall be provided (Mt
6:33) as well as the eventual glory of eternal life in heaven (Mt
The Will of God: Good, Acceptable, and Perfect
The will of
God is derived from God's divine nature. God is omnipotent, omniscient,
and omnipresent, and His deity is full of righteousness, holiness, and
compassion (Ps 103:8; Eph 4:24). No one is good but God alone (Lk
thus, His will is good, acceptable, and perfect (Rom 12:2).
God's Good Will.
In obedience to his father, Joseph went to look for his brothers who were
grazing the flock. When Joseph found them, his brothers sold him to Egypt
as a slave because of their jealousy (Acts 7:9). In Egypt, Joseph resisted
sin with his master's wife out of godly fear, but because of his refusal,
the woman framed him and he was imprisoned (Gen 39). Joseph's faith was
tested as he suffered in the Egyptian prison (Ps 105:17-19), which seemed
to contradict God's revelation to him that he would be great among his
household (Gen 37:5-11). Eventually, according to God's timing and will,
Joseph was promoted to prime minister of Egypt. He then realized that
although his brothers meant evil against him, God meant good for him; and
not only for Joseph alone but also for many others whose lives would be
saved through Joseph's actions (Gen 50:19-20).
God's Acceptable Will.
God allowed Job to undergo trial by the hand of Satan, who deprived him of
all his possessions, his children, and his health. Even his wife told him
to abandon his integrity, to curse God, and die (Job 2:9). The comfort
offered by his friends only deepened his indescribable suffering. Although
Job cursed the day he was born and debated with his friends about his
afflictions, he did not sin by charging God with wrong, and instead
praised His name (Job 1:21-22). In the end, he accepted God's will for him
and declared that his faith had been elevated from only hearing of God to
seeing Him (Job 42:5). Job received even more abundant blessings from God
after his trials.
God's Perfect Will.
The Lord Jesus Christ came to the world to save sinners. Although Jesus
was sinless, the Pharisees and scribes persecuted Him out of jealousy and
covetousness, working together with Judas Iscariot, His betrayer, to
crucify Him on the cross. In the last of the seven utterances of Jesus on
the cross, He said, "It is finished." God's perfect plan of
salvation was accomplished through the hands of the lawless. Indeed, God
works in everything for the good of those who love Him, who are called
according to His purpose (Rom 8:28).
God's Universal Will and God's Individual Will
consists of His universal will as well as His individual will for each of
us. His universal will is the same for everyone: that no one should
perish, but that everyone will come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9); that we
should rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks
(1 Thess 5:16-18); that we should be sanctified, avoid sexual immorality,
and keep our bodies holy and honorable (1 Thess 4:3-5); that all our deeds
be edifying to ourselves, beneficial to others, and glorifying to the name
of God (1 Cor 10:23-31).
At the same
time, God's will for each individual is unique. He was the God of Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob, and His plan for each of them was different. His will
for Abraham was for him to leave his hometown, Ur. However, God's will for
Isaac was for him to stay in Canaan even during a famine. His plan was for
Abraham to have one son but for Jacob to have twelve sons, whose
descendants would become the twelve tribes of Israel. God has tailored a
perfect plan for each of us regarding our education, career, marriage,
place of residence, health, and all other aspects of life. We need to
stand firm in His will, fully assured that He has planned for us a
fruitful and meaningful life (Col 4:12).
thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are God's ways our ways. As the heavens
are higher than the earth, so God's ways are higher than our ways and His
thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Is 55:8-9). Those who are spiritual
search all things, even the deep things of God and His profound will, for
they have the mind of the Lord to instruct them (1 Cor 2:10-16). When
Jesus was twelve years old, He had wisdom and stature. He understood God's
will and cared for his Father's business, even though His mother could not
understand His ways (Lk 2:40-52). In order to understand God's will, we
need to grow in maturity in the Lord Jesus Christ.
How to Know God's Will
In order to
prove God's will, we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Rom
12:2). The nature of the world is lust and pride, which is contrary to the
nature of God (1 Jn 2:16; Gal 5:17). Those who conform to the world cannot
understand the will of God. As they wandered in the wilderness, the
Israelites could not perceive God's will because they were overcome by
fleshly desires (Ps 106:12-26). Most of them displeased God and perished
in the wilderness (1 Cor 10:5).
The key to
understanding His will lies in pursuing spiritual renewal in Jesus Christ (Rom
12:2). Spiritual renewal can be achieved through the process of
pursuing the likeness of Jesus Christ through His words, His Spirit, and
His love. The more we become like Jesus, the deeper we can comprehend the
heart of God, for the mystery of God is Christ Jesus (Col 2:2).
Word. We can
understand God's will by increasing our knowledge of His word (Rom 2:18),
the will of God is in accordance with His word. Whenever we abide in His
word, we do according to His will, in such things as marrying in the same
faith (1 Cor 7:39), bringing up children in the Lord (Eph 6:4), and
building a God-centered family (Josh 24:15). His word is spirit and life.
We can understand His will by studying His word spiritually in depth. By
searching the word of God daily and living accordingly, we can abide in
were well versed in the literal interpretations of the Law of Moses, but
they failed to understand that Jesus was the Savior prophesied in the Old
Testament. Before his conversion, the apostle Paul served God with zeal
but without true knowledge (Rom 10:2). After Paul was converted, however,
God revealed to Paul His will regarding justification by faith (Hab 2:4).
with the Spirit. We
can understand God's will by being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit
of God will bestow on us His wisdom (Eph l:17) so that we can fully
understand His will.
Spirit clearly guided the apostles to make important breakthroughs in
God’s ministry. He directed Philip to approach the Ethiopian eunuch and
preach to him (Acts 8:26-39). He worked miraculously to convert the
gentile Cornelius to Christ (Acts 10). He repeatedly moved Paul to amend
his plans and eventually bring the gospel to Macedonia (Acts 16:6-10).
Today, the same Spirit of God will move us to walk according to His will
even when there are no clear answers from the Bible (Phil 2:13).
with Divine Love. We
can understand God's will by loving others with the divine love of the
Lord Jesus, which comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a
sincere faith (1 Tim 1:5). Only when we love with the love of Jesus Christ
can our love please God and edify others. The Bible encourages us to love
with knowledge and discernment (Phil 1:9).
revealed that He would be crucified, Peter rebuked Him and said, "Far
be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to you!"(Mt 16:21-22).
Peter was minding the things of men, not the things of God; thus Jesus
considered his love and concern to be the work of Satan (Mt 16:23). After
the resurrection of Christ Jesus, Peter loved Jesus and eventually died
for Him according to God's will (Jn 21:15-19).
Pharisees, the Lord Jesus approached sinners with compassion (Lk 15:2,
19:7). If we can elevate our earthly love to be like the divine love of
Jesus, our understanding of God’s will in our daily lives will be more
Walking in God's Will
has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to His
kingdom (Col 1:13). He is our Lord and has authority over us, and we need
to abide in His will to please Him fully.
Saul to be the first king of the Israelites. However, Saul did not
understand that obedience to God was more important than sacrifice, and so
he ignored God's command to eliminate all the Amalekites and their
property. His disobedience grieved the Lord, and so He chose David, a man
after His own heart, to replace Saul (1 Sam 15).
the Lord Jesus did not speak on His own authority but according to the
Father's commands (Jn 12:49); He did nothing of His own accord but only in
like manner of His Father (Jn 5:19). He did not seek His own will, but the
will of the Father who sent Him (Jn 5:30). Thus, God declared that Jesus
Christ was His only beloved Son, with whom He was well pleased (Mt 17:5).
Jesus Christ is like a grain of wheat that produces much grain after it
falls into the earth and dies. He commanded us to deny ourselves and
follow His footsteps to be fruitful in every good work (Jn 12:26).
and value of man rested in the image of God, which was given in the
beginning of God's creation. Once Adam defied God’s will, he sinned and
God's image in him diminished. The ultimate goal in fulfilling God's will
is to manifest the image of God for the glory of His name and to lead a
life worthy of the Lord (Col 1:10). We are His workmanship, created in
Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should
walk in them (Eph 2:10).
The wisdom of
Solomon surpassed all generations, yet he led life according to his own
pleasures. He had enjoyed everything under the sun, but he concluded that
life was nothing but vanity. Paul, in contrast, followed the pattern of
Jesus' life to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.
He concluded his life with the hope that a crown of righteousness was
ready for him (2 Tim 4:7-8). Therefore, a successful and meaningful life
results from understanding and abiding in God's will.
understanding of God now is like seeing in a mirror dimly. We must
continuously renew ourselves to be like Christ Jesus while pursuing
God’s will. Jesus declared that the Father is in Him, He is in the
Father, and He and the Father are one (Jn 10:30). As we grow spiritually
and become more like Jesus, we will become more intimate with God, and our
knowledge of Him can increase beyond measure. May all of us be filled with
the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so
that we can lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing
fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col
I delight to do thy will, O
my God. (Ps 40:8)