What is the will of God for us individually, and what does he want us to do?
God’s Sovereign Will
First, know that there are things God determines which are 100% certain to happen, exactly the way he desires. This is his will of purpose or decree; his sovereign will. For the saved Christian, God’s sovereign will and plan will result in the best possible outcome. We have been assured that “all things work together for good to them that love God,” Read Romans 8:28 and because of that, we desire and strive to please him by loving obedience, gratitude, and worship. For those who are not Christians, there isn’t any will of God for them; other than for them to perish forever in hell.
God’s Will of Command
God’s will of command is his desire that we obey the commands and instructions that he has revealed to us. Living in accordance with his will of command distinguishes the transformed Christian and is made possible by wisdom that is a gift from God. It is a common thread with our heavenly Father to give us what we need to accomplish what he asks! But in stark contrast to God’s sovereign will, his will of command is often not realized. Humanity is proficient at failing to keep God’s commands and often dismisses his instruction. Thankfully, our salvation does not hinge on compliance with the law.
God’s Will for Each of Us
God has a will for every person. His will is not hidden, and it is not something that we must search for. The will of God for us is clearly presented in the Bible. His intentions are directed towards our spiritual being, not necessarily addressing the trivial concerns of the world, though he cares about that too. Here are six things to know about God’s will for each of us:
That we Repent and are saved! The will of God begins with salvation. God’s love for us is so great that he sacrificed his son on our behalf to provide a means for our salvation. God’s will is not that we perish. But, if you are not saved, you will never know and experience the perfect will of God; you will only understand and experience his wrath.
That We are filled with the Spirit and not dominated by things of the world; instead, we are to be completely dominated and controlled by the word of God and do those things that are marks of a Christian. When our flesh dominates us, we are filthy and evil. So be filled with the Holy Spirit; live every moment in the conscience presence of Jesus Christ, and let the word of Christ dwell in you richly!
That we are sanctified. Stay away from sin and be made more like Christ in attitude, thought, and behavior.
That we are submissive to authority. Be exemplary, be a good citizen, be a good employee, be a servant. Be a testimony to the extraordinary character of a genuine Christian.
That we are uncompromising in our Christian life. Consistently and unapologetically live in accordance with the word of God. Never hesitate to give an account of the hope that is within us. Be a light, an evangelist, and let everyone know that you are a Christian by the fruit of the Spirit and the conviction evident in your life. Also, be ready and willing to suffer for his name’s sake. You will suffer when you live a godly life in an ungodly society. But better to suffer as a Christian at the hands of man than as a worldly fool at the hands of God. The world hates Christ and will also hate you, so be ready for that.
Be grateful for the ridiculous shower of unmerited blessings that we enjoy. The forgiveness of our sin, our justification, and reconciliation with God by the blood of Jesus Christ sits at the top of that list.
This is the will of God.
Here is the practical application in how we live and make decisions. Strive daily to abide in these things (saved, Spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive, suffering, and thankful) love God by obedience to his will, ask him for wisdom, and he will direct your wants. If your desires come from God and not so much your wretched self, he will give them to you because they align with his will. Those living in Christ, striving to follow God’s will of command, can do whatever they want because what they want will be pleasing to God.
Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
These are my notes from John MacArthur’s great sermon, “Knowing and Doing God’s Will” (9/10/2000). You can listen to it at gracetoyou.org.