Here are the notes from this morning's message at a2 Church.
Acknowledgement: Special thanks to Jeff Henderson and his excellent message, The Fundamentals of the Game for insights into Colossians 3:1-4 and the overall subject of "the will of God" and "guidance." Also, Kevin DeYoung's book, Just Do Something, is the best book I've read on the subject. Several of the ideas and concepts in this message were inspired by or taken directly from Kevin DeYoung's book.
“If God has a wonderful plan for my life…then why doesn’t He tell me what it is?” ~ Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something
What We Mean We Talk About “The Will of God”
• The determined, unstoppable, sovereign will of God that will come to pass, regardless!
Some people refer to this as “God’s will of decree or the providential will of God…” This refers to the stuff God has ORDAINED… This is the stuff God is going to do, regardless!
Ephesians 1:11b (NLT), …[God] makes everything work out according to his plan.
Isaiah 46:9b-10 (NLT), I alone am God!
I am God, and there is none like me. 10 Only I can tell you the future
before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass,
for I do whatever I wish.
• The desired will of God that we can choose to ignore, outright defy or humbly obey.
Some people refer to this as "...the moral will of God…"
Matthew 7:21 (NLT), “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”
What "God’s Desired Will" Looks Like:
(1) It’s God’s will for me to live a holy life.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 (NLT), God’s will is for you to be holy…
(2) It’s God will for me to rejoice like crazy, never stop praying and give thanks, regardless of what life throws at me.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV), Rejoice always,17 pray without ceasing,18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(3) It is God’s will for you to be saved.
2 Peter 3:9 (NKJ), The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
(4) It’s God’s will for me to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:17-19 (ESV), Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…
(5) It’s God’s will for me to become progressively more like Jesus.
Romans 8:28-29 (ESV), And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
• The personal will of God for my life. God’s individual, specific plan for the “who, what, when, where, and how” for my life.
Some people refer to this as “God’s will of direction.”
Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV), If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
A Simple Game Plan for Getting Guidance:
1. Remember who you are (because of Christ).
2. Stay focused on what ultimately matters.
Colossians 3:2 (AMP), And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.
According to one scholar, Verse 2 can literally be translated, “Habitually set your mind—your attention—on things above…”
How To Stay Focused On What Ultimately Matters:
• Make God’s Word a huge priority.
“Wisdom is the difference between knowing a world-class biologist who can write your papers for you and studying under a world-class biologist so that you can write the kind of papers he would write. Too many of us want God to be the world-class scholar who would write our papers and live our lives for us, when God wants us to sit at His feet and read His Word so that we can live a life in the image of His Son. God doesn’t tell us the future for this simple, yet profound reason: We become what we behold. God wants us to behold Him in His glory so that we can be transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). If God figured everything out for us, we wouldn’t need to focus on Him and learn to delight in His glory. God says, ‘I’m not giving you a crystal ball. I’m giving you My Word. Meditate on it; see Me in it; and become like Me.” ~ Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something pages 93-94
• Pursue wise counsel (small groups / mentoring).
Proverbs 12:15 (ESV), The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
Proverbs 15:22 (ESV), Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
• Pray like crazy.
• Stay focused on Jesus.
Colossians 3:4 (ESV), When Christ who is your life…
IMPORTANT: The focus of your life is not the future, the focus of your life is a person… But when the focus of your life is on the right person — Jesus, He will lead you to the FUTURE He has for YOU.
Matthew 6:33 (ESV), But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Psalm 25:14 (NAS), The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.
Book Recommendation: Want to read more about discovering the will of God? Check out Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung