God's Will (Part Three)

In today's paper there was a statement that made me think a while before I got it. It said, "An optimist thinks that this is the best of all worlds. A pessimist fears the same may be true."

Neither the optimist nor the pessimist could have been a Christian and believed that statement. If you think this is the best of all worlds, you don't know my Jesus. If you are afraid that this is the best of all worlds, you don't know my Jesus. Evidently the author of that statement didn't know Him, either. God has prepared a New Heaven and a New Earth for every believer for eternity when this life is over.

God is holy and it's the will of God for us to be holy, too. Since the entire human race is contaminated by sin (thanks to Adam and Eveís fall in the Garden, and our own individual contributions), we can never know complete holiness during our earthly lives. When we got saved we were made holy before God by our position in Christ, but in our practice we will never experience being completely sinless during our earthly existence. If thatís the case, why is it so important for us to seek His will and to know that God is holy?

First of all, His holiness guarantees us that we can trust Him. He will never take advantage of His children nor will He manipulate us, and Heíll never lead us astray.

Sometimes His will is going to seem mysterious, but itís never wrong and we can trust He'll do what is right. We never have to wonder if itís going to backfire or work against us when God leads us into His will. God's will doesnít have one flaw, hidden or otherwise, written or unwritten.

God is never going to tempt us to sin, even indirectly. Sometimes when we sin, we try to rationalize our actions by saying things like this: ďafter all, if it hadnít been for His plan, I wouldnít have a sinful nature. And if it hadnít been for the things that Heís in charge of, I wouldnít be in this whole mess in the first place. I wouldnít have been tempted.Ē

God is perfectly holy; itís not possible that He is ever involved in our sin, not even indirectly. It's just you and me trying to put human logic into Godís agenda.

Think about this: What if holiness was limited to God and kept from us? If we didnít have holiness from God, He couldnít have fellowship with us. There is no way the unsaved person can have fellowship with God.

1 John 1:5-7. "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6: If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin."

This light is a symbol of Godís absolutely purity. Isaiah said; ďIn Him is no darkness at all.Ē There isn't one dark thought or motive, or wrong statement or act in His nature or His will.

In Old Testament times, His guidance included the details for daily life in the Scriptures. In the New Testament it's given in more general commands and principles.

God decrees certain things and God permits others. In Bible times God used miraculous events to reveal His will. How did Moses know it was God telling him to return to Egypt and deliver the Israelites? The burning bush. This fire wouldnít go out and that caused Moses to stop and listen and hear God tell him what to do.

The Red Sea miraculously opened up and made a dry path for Moses and the Israelites. That was a pretty sure sign God wanted them to walk across, right?

During the time of The Judges, Gideon wanted to know Godís will. He left a lamb fleece out overnight, and God showed him His will by leaving dew on the fleece one time, and another time it stayed dry.

God seldom shows His will through miraculous things like that today. People may think they see a miracle-for instance, a parking place at the mall during Christmas shopping or like the lady from Dodge City who showed me the face of Jesus on a water spotted photo. Thatís not the way God works today. God still does miracles, but they are rare.

In ancient times God used miracles because that was the way He spoke to His people before we had His total written Word. Today, He speaks to us through His written Word, the Bible.

In the OT, God also spoke through visions and dreams. Jacob had visions; Joseph was given dreams and interpretations. God worked His will for the Israelites and Egyptians through Pharaohís dreams and He gave Joseph the interpretation that would preserve Egypt from a famine. Daniel was another who God spoke to in dreams.

Before the New Testament was in written form, Peter saw a sheet coming down from heaven with all kinds of animals on it. He was told to eat food that God had forbidden the Jews to eat under the old covenant. Peter understood through this miracle that it was Godís will for him, under the new covenant, to take the gospel message to the Gentiles.

God also revealed His will through direct revelation. God spoke to the prophets, and they in turn delivered the message to the people. Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others received their revelations from God.

Hebrews 1:1. "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2: Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son."

2 Peter 1:21. ďFor no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men, moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.Ē

Itís Godís will that He give the prophecy and that it not come from man.

I donít care what they tell you on television, God isn't speaking through prophets today. The God given job of the Christian preacher, with the enablement provided by the Holy Spirit, is to repeat the revelation which has been given once for all through the scriptures.

Jude 3. "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was ONCE delivered unto the saints."

The Old Testament prophet got his message direct from God, he didn't write his own words. The New Testament writers were inspired by God and wrote with the direction of the Holy Spirit.

I think God sometimes surprises us to get our attention. When a situation comes up that you didnít expect, you have to adjust. God hasnít made a mistake. You havenít made a mistake. Youíre just going through the process that's all part of Godís way of doing things, painful though that may be. Thereís no mistake and itís no accident. God has deliberately planned this. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, ask the Lord to help you understand. Donít get bitter or angry and think that God made a mistake, ask yourself, ďWhat can I learn from this?Ē

When God surprises us, He also makes sufficient grace available to us to handle the situation. And then, if we ask Him, He supplies the grace we need to endure whatever His will has for us. His grace is sufficient, but sometimes the process is scary. But this is learning to see life from a vertical perspective.

Remember, if you are in the middle of one of those trying times now, it may be the first time in your whole life that you can see how great your need for Him really is. You may come to the realization, through a chain of circumstances too complicated to describe, that thereís never been a time in your life when you really surrendered to God.

Jesus said, "I am the Door," (John 10:9) meaning He is the way to salvation for your soul. He also is the One who has the right to open a door of opportunity and show us through it. He also has the right to slam doors without explanation. And more often than not, when a door of opportunity is shut, itís to lead us through a better door. Closed doors - open doors: Either one is Godís choice to make.

You wonít be a Christian very long before you realize that both open and shut doors happen regularly. No matter how hard we pray and how consistently we make ourselves available to do the Lordís will, there are times that His answer is "No." Itís a closed door.

Since we're only human, itís our tendency to use a little force when we find a closed door. Anytime we force a door, thinking weíll get our way, we'll ultimately regret it. Leave it closed and back off. Accepting Godís will is where we get peace.

Sometimes we come to a closed door that weíre just sure should be opened and weíve been pushing against it and fighting it. Itís easy to get disillusioned and discouraged and to think weíve missed His will. The fact is, we may be in the very center of His will. God has a way of guiding us, [and I might add without error,] into the path of righteousness for His nameís sake. (Psalm 23:3)

If we quit using human logic and stop trying to figure it all out, weíll trade a lot of misery and worry for peace of mind.

If I were God, I wouldnít have had you go through the tough things youíve gone through. You deserve better than that. Well, most of you anyway.

That may be sensible, logical, horizontal thinking, but thatís not thinking Biblically. Thatís putting God in human form and giving Him our human emotions. God canít be put in our human framework. There's a mystery about God that is designed to force us to trust Him, even when we canít figure Him out (which is much of the time).

Why can't we figure God out? Because, He canít be explained by our human thinking. Moses wrote, ďThe secret things belong to the Lord." Deuteronomy 29:29 He wants our total faith.

His overall plan isn't necessarily designed for our convenience and comfort. It is far better than that. Itís designed to make us more like His Son, Christ. It wasnít intended to make human sense, and in fact, more often than not, His will is not logical from our human understanding.

We can focus on ourselves and on our circumstances, or we can focus on God. You can't justify feeling sorry for yourself from the Scriptures, and don't invite me to your pity party. Satan wants you to feel sorry for yourself so you won't be concentrating on the Lord.

No one is ultimately able to frustrate Godís plan. It doesn't surprise God when somebody lets you down or cheats you. No one walks away from their responsibilities and God wonders why they did. In the final result, God will achieve His desired results, whether you and I co-operate or not.

When you focus first on God, regardless of the circumstances, or what others say or think, regardless of how you feel, God is working out His plan for you. The result will be fantastic!

Some things we canít explain. When you follow His will and find yourself in a situation that you canít explain, donít even try. If you do, youíll use human wisdom, and youíll just mess it up. As graciously as our human nature will permit, just leave it in Godís omnipotent (all powerful) hands.

We could all name things that weíve gone through in our lives that make no logical sense. We canít figure them out but thatís okay, God is at work doing His plan. Instead of trying to figure it out with our logic, trust Him. When we do, we begin thinking biblically. Remember, He's the One in control. We have to face the fact that we canít understand His ways.

Solomon wrote this thousands of years ago: ďManís steps are ordained by the Lord, How then can man understand his way?Ē (Proverbs 20:24)

God is sovereign. In Romans 8:28, we know that God causes ďall things to work together for good to those who love Him." Let it be ďall things.Ē All the bad things and all the good things. Dwell on the good things. Examine the bad to see if there's a message there. Maybe God's using you to encourage somebody else.

Just remember this; If you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, you are being conformed to the image of Christ, and it's God's will. Romans 8:29. "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren."

Waiting and persevering takes faith. Itís a wonderful thing to learn to think vertically, to be in God's will. Remember, thereís no fence around the "all things" in Romans 8:28. Don't try to put one there.