The book of Proverbs make's a startling statement, "many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lords purpose that prevails" (19:21). To live in the will of God is to consciously choose a course of action consistent with the revealed principles of scripture. The difficulty comes with attempting to apply those principles to particular situations. While there is a commonality to all human experience, every experience has its own unique features that make it imperative for each us to center ourselves individually in the will of God. This adds depth and quality to our lives. We can confidently approach the challenges of life.
The scriptures clearly attest to the fact that the one who does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:17). Thus a life that is lived on the eternal principles of God's Word is destined for immortality. However, living in the will of God requires perseverance because there will be times when all your attempts to understand won't make any sense to you or anyone else, but if your decisions are consistent with the Word understanding will come. Such perseverance develops spiritual muscles and results in spiritual maturity (Col 4:12).
History is replete with individuals who practiced living their lives centered in the will of God. While at times they were controversial and even confrontational they were never insignificant. Living in the will of God led Abraham to uproot his family and risk life and limb to go where he was convinced God sent him; it led three young Hebrew statesmen to risk a fiery death by defying the king of Babylon with the words, "God will rescue us from your hand, But even if he does not..." It led Jesus to pray before accepting crucifixion, "your will be done" and it led Martin Luther to declare as he faced death, "here I stand, I can do no other, God help me." Here are five principles for living dynamically in the will of God.
In the context of living in the will of God, communion with God in prayer requires learning to discern the inner voice of his spirit. One of the challenges of life today is the constant chatter that invades the mind and agitates the spirit. Society strives for and prides itself on its interconnectedness. Instant communication is the mantra for the postmodern age and technology has provided a multitude of ways to achieve that end. As a result we find it harder than ever to hear the still small voice of God within the inner recesses of our spirit. It is critical then that we make a conscious, deliberate choice to be still and let the entire world be silent as we tune in to the voice of God. The Bible promises that the person whose thoughts are often on God will be kept in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Find a quiet place and focus your thoughts on God and his love for you. It is a good idea to keep a pen and note pad handy to jot down what is given to you. My experience has been that inspirational thoughts like any other can easily be lost never to return.
Contemplation is thinking about the impressions, thoughts and ideas flowing out of communion. At this stage you are checking your impressions with the revealed word of God in scripture. This will give balance and direction to your thoughts. God's promise is "I will guide you in the way of wisdom" (Proverbs 4:11). The spirit is called the spirit of truth because it will guide you into all truth (John 16:13). It is never safe to rely solely on your own impressions.
Consult with trusted advisors who will bring their wisdom and spiritual insight to bear on your conclusions. The spirit of truth is one, he will be consistent. The same principles that guide you are accessible to other like-minded seekers. This is consistent with Proverbs 15:22, "without consultation plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed" (NASU). In doing this, seek out persons who are willing to listen and pray with you not sit in judgment of your convictions. Keep in mind Job's friends thought they knew what Job should have done, but in the end they were proved wrong primarily because of their judgmental spirit. Beware of those who claim to have all the answers.
Cooperation is readiness to follow through with actions needed to fulfill the plans God has confirmed to you. This is where many persons fail. They are caught in the proverbial paralysis of analysis and seem incapable of getting from thought and planning to action. People who make it their business to live in the will of God are people of action. They are constantly growing, attempting more, and experiencing God's ideal for their lives. They take seriously the words of scripture, "for I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jer 29:11). No matter how difficult the circumstances appear to be, living in God's will always means God's tomorrow will be better than today. Knowing this I stand ready to follow through where I am led.
As I have written elsewhere, celebration is the natural outgrowth of living in the will of God. Each day is an opportunity to experience the joy of his presence and the satisfaction of his approval. Cultivate a spirit of gratitude; in that way you open the mind to hear more distinctly the voice of God. It is a spiritual law that when we embrace and celebrate divine leadership in our lives, we become more spiritually alert and sensitive to his presence and guidance. In other words, the more I celebrate his leadership, the more of his leadership he gives me to celebrate. "Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance" (Matt 13:12), everything depends on our attitude.
These five principles for living in the will of God provide a framework for training the mind in the discipline of listening to and practicing the will of God. Each builds upon the other and follow a natural progression, following them will lead to a life of satisfaction and fulfillment. “May God give you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans. May there be shouts of joy when we hear the news of your victory, flags flying with praise to God for all he has done for you. May he answer all your prayers (Ps 20:4).”
Conroy Reynolds, MS MA is a mental health chaplain and ordained pastor. He is also the author of "Finding God in the Dark." More information is available at:
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