What really does it mean to “do the will of God?” I say this because this can seem like the most important question to ask.
We seek to know our purpose(which is normal) and we seek to please God by our obedience. But often times it can sound like this: doing God’s will means hearing His voice and whatever He tells you to do you should do. So, we can then think that the judgment seat of Christ( 2 Cor. 5:10-11; Rom. 2:16; 14:10-12; Math. 12:36; 1 Peter 4:5) is all about answering for everything God told us to do. This is an absolute, but the emphasis is not on commandments, but on one’s motives. It doesn’t really actually speak to spiritual maturity to tell believers that all of life comes down to obeying God. This is incorrect in my opinion.
Jesus walked with the disciples for three and half years then He died on the cross and rose from the dead. The promise He left was that through the Cross we all have access to the Father and with the Holy Spirit( as the Counselor) will teach us all things– doesn’t always mean God tells us exactly( word for word, sentence upon sentence) what to do, where to live, where to work, who to marry, who to not hang out with, or even which color of car to buy( because red for a male means you will get pulled over more).
That can sound almost heretical. Doesn’t the Holy Spirit search the deep things of God? Yes, He does. But believers with the Holy Spirit learn about God through relationship with Him and through that relationship we do His will because of love. Love and obedience are connected, but as we grow in God( like Hebrews 12) He disciplines us as sons and daughters. He chastises, He cuts off that which doesn’t bear fruit. God works in us His will but He also works in us an awareness of the “desires of our heart.” Not to be confused with the wickedness that is internally apart of every human being.
Yes, we have fallen desires. And yes, we can want the wrong things. And yes, God requires us to obey no matter what. But in the long term of knowing His word and knowing what He has already spoken it would be more accurate to say that God rewards our choices and lets us decide sometimes which way to go. You will not always hear exactly what to do and sometimes that is on purpose. You do have purpose and you do have a choice and God mysteriously uses choices, decisions and His commands to fulfill Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
The Judgment Seat of Christ is more centered around not so much obedience but on the heart posture. God accounts all of our tears in a bottle and He is counting every reach and every movement towards Him. It is not just that God sees every evil thought( though He does) but it is that He sees our efforts and the more we press into Him with His grace and His mercy He in turn rewards us for seeking His face. It is not so much one over the other, rather it is both. But living in the “both” as an answer is what can make or break decisions and life’s transitions.
The reason why this is important in my opinion is that many of us can be afraid of our passions and desires and dreams and ideas. The same God that has told us that we are totally depraved( mind, soul and body) and that without His mercy and grace we cannot be made into His image, also said, “Delight yourself in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart!” Over time it seems to make more sense to ask God to treat you not like a little kid anymore just as you would ask the same of your earthly parents.
Parenting is so valuable because from ages 1-18 ( and some) your parents instill in you all that they can, but eventually you move out of the house, and make your own church choices, theological decisions, vocations and most of all relationship choices). It is not that we are never without any guidance. As our Heavenly knows what we need before we ask!
But, there is a difference between always needing someone to affirm your decisions when in all actuality we can be responsible for our choices, though in God its possible that we do choose right because we simply just “know what is right!” I don’t mean like the force in Star Wars where you can just “feel it!” I mean you just know what it is you want and what to do because Jesus has said, “You are no longer servants( for the servant does what the master says) but now I call you friends!”
As parents you can sometimes hinder your children by always telling them what to do. I am not a parent but I have some wonderful parents and I have to not let them give me commands as I am almost 30 years old and I decide for myself.
What I do, however, is honor them and their advice. The subject of honor is a whole other discussion.
Parenting is a challenge because you don’t want your children to make mistakes or go through pain many a times. There is no one way to do it, but wrestling with these tensions can free many of us up and move us away from being robotic in our faith to actually living out of passion to please God and to see Him in all that we do.
The key to redefining what “passion” means can be found in John 17:24
“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”
Once we see God’s passion for us and His fierce love and mercy we then do all that we can to have that living on the inside of us. Not just this verse sums it up but its a place to start. Jesus is our example. He lived from His Heavenly Father’s desire. It is also interesting to note that the affirmation of who Jesus was took place before Jesus DID anything. Jesus heard from Heaven, “You are my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!”
It was as if Jesus spent 30 years learning His identity “growing in wisdom..in favor..” And out of that place of purity and identity He was able to DO the mission. God was present in both stages. He forms us, shows us, guides us and then works through us and also lets us decide. The goal is not to be safe it is to live on the edge of utmost trust. Risk taking is the apex of story telling. Films and books are usually trying to take common situations and common people struggles and pushing them to go beyond their “ordinary life!” That is why we pay so much money to see the same stories in different settings and nuances because we are reaching for a risk. However, true bravery and courage is found in seeing how much a risk Christ took and because He faced it we can face it too.
The Apostle Paul did say, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”( Phil. 2:12-13)
This command is to a body of believers and it is in between Paul telling us to be like Christ and follow His example of humility. I would like to suggest that working our your own salvation is not just between you and God but it is working it out amongst your brothers and sisters in Christ! I cannot grow unless my brothers and sisters help me grow and I also need oil that no one else can give me. It is the wonderful tension of the word BOTH. You need people!
-You know God by knowing His word and meditating on it day and night. And talking to Him about everything.
-The more time spent with God further grounds us in knowing who we are and why we were created.
-The way to know if you are doing something right when you think you are not comes with time and also is affirmed by the body of Christ-
–Without Godly friendships and community it will be much harder to discern the will of God.
-The fear of making decisions for yourself can be the same reaction of the parable of the talents. God gave them something to take care of, but the “wicked and lazy” servant said to Jesus, “I knew you to be a harsh man!”
Cowering in fear of God that is not the fear of the Lord can cause us to do nothing with the time He has given us. Erring on action actually is better than doing nothing. And the one that did nothing was called “Wicked and lazy!” which is what no one wants to hear at the end of one’s life. We can think that fear is okay as long we maybe work on other things, but fear in the long run becomes a sin. It is God who appears before us in His terrifying splendor and first says, “Do not be afraid!” It is a commandment to not be afraid and to not worry about one’s life! But only in Christ and by the Holy Spirit can we overcome and face our fears.
All of this is just an opinion and a perspective that can help us grow up in Christ because so much of what is ahead in life can be up to us, but we know we can’t do anything apart from Him.
Comments are always welcome 🙂