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What's God's Will for My Life?

How to determine God's will for your life.

Do you ever ask yourself, What is God's will for my life?  I believe the Apostle Paul can answer that question...

God's Will for My Life Summed Up in Three Words

I am participating in a Ladies Bible Study at my church that is currently studying the Book of Philippians.  We are all truly in awe of the great faith of the Apostle Paul and his incredible single-mindedness - the mind of Christ.

Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It's no surprise that the Paul of Philippians was inspired to write the above verse in the book of Thessalonians since he certainly had joyfully lived in God's will when he penned:

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:10-13

I think many people can take the final verse of this passage out of context applying it to being strengthened for anything they set out to do in life, but I believe, in context, Paul is saying that God gave Him the strength to stay in God's will with Christ-like focus in every circumstance.  I think we can all agree that this is not our normal bent this side of Heaven.

As I reflected upon Paul and his predicament of being in prison while writing to the church at Philippi, I realized, he didn't see it as a predicament.  

I imagined myself in his shoes and it wasn't pretty!  I would be complaining and saying, "This is ridiculous that I am in prison!  I shouldn't be here!  I have the Gospel to spread!".  Surely this isn't God's will for my life!  Notice the ME, ME, ME focus and not any reliance on what God can do with the situation. 

Paul, as we see throughout all of his writings to the different church's, experienced all  manner of  serious trials during his ministry, such as shipwreck, stoning and imprisonment just to name a few.  Yet, he was never discouraged and never wavered from continuing in Christ's ministry, no matter how restricted he might be.  His mind was continually set on doing the will of God.  He certainly lived up to praying continually, rejoicing always and giving thanks to God in all things.

{For encouragement on the power that a thankful heart unleashes, head over to my post, The Power of Thanksgiving, which you can read here.}

As I demonstrated earlier, I am the "anti-Paul".  My typical attitudes are way outside of the will of God...   I don't think I'm alone in this...

To KNOW the Lord is to Know God's Will

Paul also showed no sign of fear.   In fact, he might be one of the only Bible characters I can think of that did not exhibit anxiety in any given situation.  But God tells us His will for our lives - Perfect Love casts out fear...

Paul believed that Perfect Love and was able to boldly say, fully trusting the Lord, "it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.  For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.   But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again."

Paul knew that if he were to die for Christ, he would be given full courage to honor Him in his body.  Yet, being so in tune to the will of the Lord, Paul stated with full conviction that he was to remain in the body and continue with the Philippians for their progress and joy in the faith.  Not only that, Paul had full confidence that he would be released from prison and would come to the Philippians again.

The Apostle Paul is not listed as a Prophet, but yet these verses seem prophetic.  They in fact are not words of prophecy, but the words of a man that was so in tune to the Holy Spirit, so saturated in the Word of God, so present with the Lord in thought, word and deed, that he was able to rightly discern the will of God.

Being able to discern the will of God isn't a special gifting only set aside for the Apostle Paul, but we ALL have the same access to knowing the will of God.  The entire Holy Writ outlines His will for our lives.  There are verses for every circumstance we might find ourselves in, and if we don't find a verse that is excruciatingly specific to our need, we can know that there are multiple verses that address the root of whatever it is we are seeking to know in a broader sense.  That may sound contradictory, but their are broad topics in the Bible that indeed address root issues.

I believe that if we live out 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, it will be a great foundation for finding ourselves in the will of God throughout the day.  When our minds are saturated with Christ in worship of God the Father, and in communion with the Holy Spirit, we will have an eternal perspective that exhibits great Faith and single-mindedness.

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.
Kate B. Wilkinson

True Rest is Found in the Center of God's Will

It's hard to give up our own will.  We are self-centered creatures.  But the reality is, we can only be satisfied in the center of God's will, for it is there that we find true rest.

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.  
John Piper

We have the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to guide us in all wisdom and knowledge so that we can know the will of God with full assurance.  As the hymn says, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you..."

Oh, the sweet will of God...

My stubborn will at last hath yielded;
I would be Thine, and Thine alone,
And this the prayer my lips are bringing,
“Lord, let in me Thy will be done.”

  Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
Till I am wholly lost in Thee;
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
  Till I am wholly lost in Thee.

I’m tired of sin, footsore and weary,
The darksome path hath dreary grown,
But now a light has ris’n to cheer me;
I find in Thee my Star, my Sun.

Thy precious will, O conqu’ring Savior,
Doth now embrace and compass me;
All discords hushed, my peace a river,
My soul a prisoned bird set free.

Shut in with Thee, O Lord, forever,
My wayward feet no more to roam;
What pow’r from Thee my soul can sever?
The center of God’s will my home.

Sweet Will of God
Leila Naylor Morris

For more posts related to the will of God in a Believer's life, please click on the following:

3 Reassuring Reasons not to be Anxious About the Future

What's God's Will  For my Life?  To KNOW Him and Enjoy Him.

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  1. Paul's attitude amazes me every time. If I was locked in prison I would probably be downcast and complaining, but he is full of joy and taking every opportunity to continue sharing the Gospel!

    1. Hi Lesley, I'd be the same way!

      Praising God for His patience with us and for his amazing grace.

  2. I think we can do all things He wants us to do, we don't don't have to do just anything and say that, and we might be content with something but wanting different or better is not bad. He wants the best for us. I just went through Romans in May and got a book about Romans I need to read.

  3. I always love Philipplians. SO much good truth in there!

    1. Hi Rebecca, Indeed there is!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

  4. We can't but God can. So only when our spirit is linked with the Spirit of God we can rejoice in everything. This is what I'm slowly learning. Thanks for such an important post. Blessings!

    1. Hi Mari-Anna, You are very welcome!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Blessings to you too. :-)


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