Our God who ordains all Things
We could spend a lifetime (and we will) seeking to understand the will of God, and still have more to understand and fathom. There is no dispute that God ordered all things according to His own will. Charles Spurgeon describes the providence of God;
“Who ordained, save the Lord, that there the Himalayas should lift their heads and pierce the clouds, and that there the deep cavernous recesses of the sea should pierce earth’s bowels of rock? Who, save himself, ordained that yon Sahara should be brown and sterile, and that yonder isle should laugh in the midst of the sea with joy over her own verdure? Who, I say, ordained this, save God? You see running through creation, from the tiniest animalculae up to the tall archangel who stands before the throne, this working of God’s own will. Milton was nobly right when he represents the Eternal One as saying,
“My goodness is most free
To act or not: Necessity and Chance
Approach not me, and what I will is fate.”
He created as it pleased him; he made them as he chose; the potter exercised power over his clay to make his vessels as he willed, and to make them for what purposes he pleased. Think you that he has abdicated the throne of grace? Does he reign in creation and not in grace? Is he absolute king over nature and not over the greater works of the new nature? Is he Lord over the things which his hand made at first, and not King over the great regeneration, the new-making wherein he maketh all things new?” (a complete version of the Spurgeon Teaching is linked at the end of this article)
We are not saved against our will; nor again, mark you, is the will taken away; for God does not come and convert the intelligent free agent into a machine. When he turns the slave into a child, it is not by plucking out of him the will which he possesses. We are as free under grace as ever we were under sin; nay, we were slaves when we were under sin, and when the Son makes us free we are free indeed, and we are never free before.
regarding the work of The Holy Spirit:
As to the secret work, who knows how the Spirit works? “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but thou canst not tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit;” but yet, as far as we can see, the Spirit makes a revelation of truth to the soul, whereby it seeth things in a different light from what it ever did before, and then the will cheerfully bows that neck which once was stiff as iron, and wears the yoke which once it despised, and wears it gladly, cheerfully, and joyfully.
Yet, mark, the will is not gone; the will is treated as it should be treated; man is not acted upon as a machine, he is not polished like a piece of marble; he is not planed and smoothed like a plank of deal; but his mind is acted upon by the Spirit of God, in a manner quite consistent with mental laws. Man is thus made a new creature in Christ Jesus, by the will of God, and his own will is blessedly and sweetly made to yield.
What is God’s Will
From Compelling Truth we explore a defined view of God’s view based on scripture.
Many Christians speak of knowing or doing God’s will, but what is it? The Bible speaks of God’s will from more than one perspective.
First, the Bible speaks of God’s sovereign, or supreme, will. Ephesians 1:11 teaches God is the One “who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” Job 42:2 affirms, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Romans 8:28 states that God’s will works for the good of believers: “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Second, the Bible also speaks of people doing God’s will. For example, God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). John 3:16 teaches, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The Lord wills or desires people to come to salvation as well as to obey His commands. For example, Jesus left the earth with the challenge to His followers to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Third, the Bible speaks of God’s will for our individual lives. Some of these desires are universal, such as 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” In other areas, God has a unique plan for groups of people as well as for our individual lives. For example, God spoke to the people of Israel as a group on one occasion, saying, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). To the apostle Paul, God once gave a dream to travel to a particular area to share the Gospel: “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:9-10).
In summary, God’s will can refer to His perfect plan known since the beginning of time, God’s teachings for all people, God’s specific desires for a community of people, or God’s unique plan for our individual lives. God knows all that will take place, has commanded us to follow certain teachings, and leads and guides both individuals and communities of believers toward certain actions that bring glory to His name.
Source: Compelling Truth
The Key to Knowing god’s Will
Knowing the will of God is one of the most important things we can seek in our Christian walk. The keys to knowing God’s will for decisions we make are twofold.
First, we have to be sure what we are asking or considering is not forbidden in the Bible. Second, God’s ultimate will for us is always to glorify Him and help us grow spiritually. If what we want meets these two qualifications and we still don’t receive what we are asking for, then it is likely not God’s will for us to have what we are asking for. Or, perhaps we just need to wait a while longer for it.
Knowing God’s will in specific situations is sometimes difficult. People want God to tell them specifically what to do—where to work, where to live, whom to marry, etc. God rarely gives people information that direct and specific.
But the key to knowing the will of God is found in 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.” This passage tells us that obedience to God is of utmost importance. We are to be “living sacrifices” to Him, offering everything we are and think and feel to Him, the essence of the greatest commandment—loving the Lord with all our heart, mind and strength (Matthew 22:37).
We also need to deliberately reject the voices that are contrary to His—”Do not be conformed to this world.” We will find it difficult to determine God’s will if we are so wrapped up in an ungodly culture that our thinking is warped.
Paul explains that no one knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man (1 Corinthians 2:11-16). Believers have been given the Spirit of God, and He can teach us God’s thoughts and will. But we won’t be able to hear Him if our minds are filled with worldly concerns. To know the will of God, we should be so submitted to His Spirit that we can hear Him when He leads us.
Being able to determine God’s will in a situation is influenced by our effort to submit to Him and obey Him. But it’s also a matter of practice. We shouldn’t be so anxious to get it exactly right that we’re too paralyzed to act.
God knows when we are trying and He is bigger than our mistakes. He can redeem anything we do wrong. And the simple act of growing closer to Him through obedience and prayer will reap rewards of its own.
Source: Compelling Truth
Christian Quotes on God’s Will
Being a Christan is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.–Dietrich Bonhoeffer
If you are ignorant of God’s word, you will always be ignorant of His will. –Billy Graham
The basic purpose of prayer is not to bend God’s will to mine, but to mold my will into His. –Tim Keller
When your will is God’s will, you will have your will. –Charles Spurgeon
The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will. –Corrie Ten Bloom
In Gethsemane the holiest of all petitioners prayed three times that a certain cup might pass from Him. It did not. –C. S. Lewis
The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God…or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world. –Elizabeth Elliot
Here’s how to determine God’s will for your life: Go wherever your gifts will be exploited the most. –John Stott
God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply. –Hudson Taylor
There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it! –Corrie Ten Bloom
For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be. –Thomas Merton
The purpose of prayer is emphatically not to bend God’s will to ours, but rather to align our will to his. –John Stott
To know that nothing happens in God’s world apart from God’s will may frighten the godless, but it stabilizes the saints. –J.I. Packer
Additional Resources on God’s Will
Charles Spurgeon, “God’s Will and Man’s Will”
John Piper, “What is the Will of God and How do we know it?”
Bible.org Stephen Cole, “Discerning the Will of God”
The Gospel Coalition, “God’s Will for Your Life is More Obvious Than You Think”
Tim Keller, YouTube “Your Plans, God’s Plans”