“I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame, and I choose it above all things on Earth or in Heaven.” A. W. Tozer
When talking about the will of God we generally don’t hear such a forthright proclamation of love for the will of God. When we think of the will of God, we may think of the commands of God and begin to feel all those “I am not enough,” and “I can’t do that,” or “It’s too hard” kinds of feelings and thoughts.
As I begin this new year, I am hoping that my study of God’s will and gaining greater understanding of how it fits into my relationship with God will help me to “love” and “treasure” the will of God much like Tozer or the psalmist who said:
“ I delight to do your will, O God, your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8
God’s Will = Intimacy with God
When I read passages about God’s will, I see how intertwined His will is in a relationship with us. Jesus addressed this.
In Matthew 7:21-25 – Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.”
In that little word “knew” we see a world of relationship, a deep knowing, trusting, believing, interacting with and doing what pleases our Lord. In this kind of relationship with God, doing His will is embedded in that love. I believe that is why in Psalm 40:8, the psalmist can say, “Your law is in my heart.”
When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, He strongly reminds them, and us, that it is more than trying to live up to a standard in isolation from relationship with God and others.
“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.” Luke 11:42
What is missing in what these men were doing? Justice, which I believe, is associated with doing right in relationship to their fellow man, and love for God.
That is what happens when I think the “will of God is equivalent solely to keeping the law of God.” It then becomes a focus on performance and self. That is when I get scattered, running about, doing this and that resulting in my feeling “not enough,” “not making the grade,” “judged,” and eventually a dissatisfied feeling leading to trying to prove myself to prove myself to God and others. Ever been there?
The Bottom Line
In the previous blog study, we saw that the will of God is his desire, intent, and design to draw us into a relationship with Him, through that relationship He gives us the ability to be with Him, to stand in His presence, through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. Clearly and undeniably encapsulated in Ephesians 1:4-5.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He predestined (pre-planned) us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the Beloved One …” Eph. 1:4-5 (BSB)
The bottom line of God’s will is His love and desire to draw us close to Him. Everything about His will is directed towards that end. Within that interactive relationship God’s will encompasses Him delighting in and actively loving us, and us responding by pleasing Him.
If we look closely in the scriptures at various words that are associated with the will of God. In these words we see God’s good intent and His love for us.
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hos, 6:6 (ESV)
God’s will is founded in the word “desire,” not “demand.” What is it that He desires? Love and knowing God.
Isaiah 66:6 uses a different word to show that those who live in a close loving relationship with God are “esteemed” by God.
“Has not My hand made all these things? And so they came into being,” declares the LORD. “This is the one I will esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at My word.” Is. 66:2 (BSB)
The word esteem indicates God’s will is meshed with His valuing us. He is pleased with and highly values a person who is humble/contrite in his/her relationship with God and one who respects God’s word.
“All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart. To do righteousness and justice is more desirable to the LORD than sacrifice.” Prov. 21:2-3 (BSB)
The emphasis is on what God desires is about heart and relationship, not necessarily performance. Righteousness involves our thoughts and actions in relationship to God, but also to others. Again, the will of God is relational, involving both God and man..
Delights –Pleasure – Pleased – Devoted:
“He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legpower of the man. The LORD is pleased with those who fear Him, who hope in His loving devotion.” Psalm 147:10-11 (BSB)
These words are associated with the will of God in relationship with us. The “will of God” expresses God’s devotion to us. What an awesome truth- the almighty, sovereign and loving God is devoted to you and me. That gives me a clear perspective on the will of God in my life and moves me to respond with devotion to God and to delight to do His will.
Reflections on the Will of God
Throughout this study of the will of God, I am asking myself some questions. I will share them with you and perhaps they will help you in your walk with God.
- Do I know what the will of God is? Have I taken time to know him so that I know what pleases Him?
- Am I doing many good things because they are what everyone else is doing, and or because they seem to be expected of me? Or, am I doing these things as an intentional loving response to God in my relationship with Him?
- Do I esteem, treasure, delight in God in response to how He esteems, treasures and delights in me?
When I feel stressed by performance, or other’s opinions, judgments and expectations, I meditate on Ephesians 1:4-5 and remember God’s will is to draw me close to Him and that He is transforming me into His image.
The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear Him.