“What does God want from me?”
“What does He want me to do?”
“I am faced with these choices. Which choice does God want me to choose?”
Christians ask these questions all the time, and it’s good that we do so. How DOES one come to know the will of God? Some of the posts on this blog will discuss this over the next week. This one will start by focusing on the Bible.
God has made His will known in many areas of our lives, and He has done so by revealing it in the Scriptures. Consider this passage:
Hebrews 1:1-2 (ESV)
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
The author of the book of Hebrews wrote this about 2,000 years ago. So he’s basically saying that in the times before the time in which he lived, the time in which Jesus lived and the church began, God had earlier spoken to his Israelite ancestors by the prophets. We see this in the Old Testament repeatedly.
However, starting 2,000 years ago when the Hebrew author declared it, God now speaks to us “by his Son.” How? How does Jesus speak to us today?
Consider what Jesus told His apostles the night before He died:
John 16:12-15 (ESV)
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Jesus told the apostles that the Holy Spirit – “the Spirit of truth” – would “guide (them) into all the truth.” He would do this in that “he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak.” The Holy Spirit would “take what is mine and declare it to you.” In other words, Jesus would give the Spirit what to share with the apostles.
This is why the apostle Paul would be able to later write to Corinth:
1 Corinthians 14:36-38 (ESV)
36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached?
37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.
38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.
And again to Ephesus:
Ephesians 3:3-5 (ESV)
3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.
4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,
5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
Peter would also write:
2 Peter 1:19-21 (ESV)
19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,
20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.
21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus spoke to the Holy Spirit, who in turn inspired the apostles and prophets who wrote the New Testament. Therefore, when we read the New Testament we are reading a message from Jesus (and the Holy Spirit). The same is true of the entire Bible. As Paul wrote:
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
And it is within the Scriptures and the Scriptures alone that we find the revealed will of God. It is very important that we find this revealed will of the Almighty, because our salvation depends on it. Remember what Jesus said:
Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
If we want to go to heaven, we need to obey the will of God the Father who is in heaven. God has revealed His will through His Son (Heb. 1:1-2), who in turn through the Holy Spirit-inspired writers of Scripture lets His will be made known in the Bible. That’s why it’s very important that we know our Bibles very well and obey the gospel found in the New Testament.
However, the Scriptures do not answer certain questions which we may have about God’s will for us. For example, the Bible will not tell us if it we should move to City A or City B, or take Job A or Job B. So how do we remain within the will of God in situations like that when He has not necessarily revealed His will to us about such things? We’ll talk more about that in a future post. Stay tuned!