The will of God
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,”
Ephesians 1:11 NIV
As I was reading this morning the passage quoted above began to draw me in. I remember in my early days as a believer wrestling with the concept of the will of God, his perfect will and his permissive will. Asking God what His will as for my life. One of my pastors at the time would say it was a non-question, in that the bible is clear about the will of God, heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and preach the gospel (Matt 10:7-8), give thanks (1 Thess 5:18), avoid sexual immorality, be self controlled, to not lust and to not do any wrongs to our brothers (1 Thess 4:3-8), to not get drunk on wine but to be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:17-18), do good to others (1 Peter 2:15), to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly (Micah 6:8) and to deny ourselves and take up the cross daily (Luke 9:23). When we have finished doing this, then we can ask what the will of God is! The point being there are plenty of references to knowing the heart of the Father for our lives.
I am moved again as I read them, it stirs my Spirit. Sometimes the question comes, yes but how? I can see these things, but how do I get there? Again scripture is clear that within these clear expressions of God’s will for our lives He has made provision for us. He equips us (Hebrews 13:20-21), we can ask for wisdom (James 1:5), he has a plan for us that is filled with hope (Jer 29:11), He will make our paths straight (Prov 3:5-6), if we mess up He if faithful to cleanse and purify us (1 John 1:9) and within all this truth we come back to the passage I started with in Ephesians, in the midst of this He works out everything incomformity with His will.
Somehow, despite what seems like our best efforts to sabotage the will of God, He brings it all in line, he makes everything conform to His purpose and will. So though we have free will to chose and God seems to allow somethings that we would rather didn’t happen through His permissive will let us not forget that He has a plan and a purpose that will not be swayed from it’s path. He is passionate about His will being done and He will work out all things, despite our sin and lethargy, He will bring everything into conformity with His will.
In moments of darkness or wandering from the path I find that this brings hope, that He is able to work out the mess I appear to be in, sometimes through no fault of my own, but however I got there He is able to work it out in conformity with His will. When you take this truth with the passage in Jer 29:11, that He has a plan for us, to give us hope and a future, I am greatly encouraged. This doesn’t mean license to do what I want. It is remembering that He chose me, that He has a plan, that it is in His kindness He found me and rescued me and He will therefore work it out when I get distracted from His call.
However if we are headstrong in doing what we want I would fear that He would leave us to our own devices, leave us until we were desperate, like the prodigal son who longed to eat pig food. When our will and our plans dominate the horizon it is the Lords kindness to leave us until we see His light. Sadly I think that this has happened to many, they have been drawn in by the lights of the world, they have settled in Haran like Abrahams father, a place of great comfort.
I know it sounds like I am contradicting myself, but the promise still stands. The Lord will work out everything in conformity with His will, sometimes it takes longer than anticipated, sometimes our sin and our wilfulness means that He uses another vessel, but His plans will succeed. His will will be done.
So far I have only alluded to our personal comfirmtity with His will, yet there is a much bigger picture that needs to be seen so that we gain a true perspective for our individual walk. This is about His kingdom coming, this is about the Bride being prepared and ultimately heaven coming to earth. Make no mistake, the coming kingdom and the preparation of the bride to be without spot or blemish are the passionate mission of the Godhead and they will happen. He will work out everything in conformity with His plan. My prayer and desire is that I am a part of it, and that desire means I know in light of His word that He will lead me in His will. He will watch over my life, He will lead me to bring others to know Him , He will lead me to demonstrate His kingdom and that is exciting. That makes me want to get out of bed, for the more I seek Him the more I desire to do what He wants, and the more it seems that my walk is woven into the grand plan of salvation that He is overseeing and making happen.