A rough draft excerpt from the book I'm writing,
Falling In Love With Jesus
...For so long, I’ve had a somewhat distorted vision of what “God’s will” really is.
I seemed to have fallen for the idea that it consisted of what I wanted to do,
but fitting in some type of Christianity, and slapping the label of “God’s will” on it.
Oh sure, I was still making ‘sacrifices’,
(such as letting go of things that were ‘really bad’)
but all in all I was still happy; therefore God must be happy, right?
From my own outlook, I was pleasing the Lord and was ‘in His will’;
but in reality, I was following what my flesh wanted
and missing out on what God really planned for me.
He really brought that home to me when I read the verse in Romans 8…
“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Thankfully this is not a hopeless case meaning that
anyone with human bodies has no chance of pleasing God.
It simply holds up to the fact that the spirit and flesh war against each other.
And when we are just doing what our flesh enjoys,
we are continually feeding our flesh, therefore living in the flesh;
and any efforts to try and throw in ‘spiritual things’ here and there
are not pleasing to the Lord.
Perhaps they are ‘for the Lord’ and are very good things,
but we’re ‘doing good’ for Him in our own strength.
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…”
Our ‘righteousness’ and ‘good works’ are as filthy rags
when done in our flesh and in our strength.
We’re only laying up wood, hay, & stubble.
So what is God’s will?
Well, I have no idea what His will is for my friend, siblings, or anyone else;
but it is my duty to find out His will for me.
Now as I mentioned above, it’s not about what ‘feels’ right or makes me happy;
but rather what the Lord, who has allowed me to live on this earth, planned for me.
I came to some interesting realizations while searching for the Lord’s will…
if He truly wanted to, He could surely take me Home in an instant.
Of course I subconsciously knew this, but somehow I started
consciously knowing this concept and actually came to grips with it.
In all reality, I surely never deserve the next day He gives me,
so what am I really here for today anyway?
The fact is, He put me here and keeps me here because He has a purpose.
A plan from before I was even born,
and He’s waiting to use me in that perfect way.
How longsuffering He is with us when day after day we refuse
to surrender to His plan and yet He gives us another day!
It was under these realizations that I truly came to know that I was not my own!
Life isn’t about doing what I want, even if it’s a ‘good thing’.
Maybe I want to be a teacher, but is it what God wants for me?
Perhaps I want to be a doctor and help people that way,
but is it what God made me to be?
Maybe I dream of being a foreign missionary doing the Lord’s work,
but is that the Lord’s work for me?
So many times, we tend to settle for something good, or maybe even really good,
but we don’t bother pushing for God’s best for lives.
Now, I’m in no way saying that the Lord has planned for me to do something
I absolutely hate and I’ll have to miss out on everything I do like.
He is not a mean God who sits back thinking,
“OK, Ally dislikes this, and that’s what I want her to do
to be a living sacrifice, or else she doesn’t get my blessings.”
Quite the contrary, actually.
There comes great joy when doing the Lord’s will.
And He has taken care to plant every little thing about me…
He knows my interests, my likes, my desires;
and He wishes to use those things for His own will.
But when I’m in my flesh, I cannot properly balance such things,
and can easily be swayed into doing things off of how it feels to me.
He wishes to help us, to strengthen us with His own strength,
so that we may accomplish what we were created to do.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Paul wasn’t boasting,
“I can do a lot on my own ‘cuz I’m a pretty strong and spiritual man”.
He actually worded quite well the dilemma of every Christian when humbly saying,
“For the good that I would I do not:
but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
He doesn’t end with this hopeless statement, but rather contrasts it:
“I thank God THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.
So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God;
but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Indeed, as our Lord put it in the garden of Gethsemane,
“…the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Our flesh is very weak indeed, and thus cannot do anything in it
pleasing to the Lord, even if our mind is ‘in the right place’.
So many times we can easily fall into the mindset of
“It’s for the Lord, after all. Anything will do.”
We cannot use such excuses to justify our sin.
Look at King Saul, for instance.
In 1 Samuel 15, Saul was told by the prophet
Samuel that the Lord commanded that the Amalekites were to be completely wiped out.
“Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy ALL that they have,
and SPARE THEM NOT; But slay both man and woman, infant and suckling,
ox and sheep, camel and ass.” Verse 3 states.
So Saul went and killed off the Amalekites in verse 7.
However, he takes a wrong turn in verse 9,
“But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep,
and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, And the lambs,
and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them;
but everything that was vile and refuse, that they did destroy.”
Now seeing this from where we are, we see this as flat-out disobedience.
But in Saul’s point of view, he really thought He was pleasing the Lord.
After all, He did still do what the Lord told him to do… the Amalekites were dead.
In fact, when Samuel came to him again, he proudly proclaimed,
“I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”
Did he really?
Is that what the Lord wanted?
Seems to me the Lord wasn’t very pleased.
Oh, but he did have a pretty good mindset, for he claimed,
“(I) have… spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen,
to sacrifice to the Lord thy God…”
Saul thought he could do it his own way.
Saul thought it would be good to sacrifice to the Lord.
Saul thought he was in the ‘will of God’.
Saul was ‘doing it for the Lord’.
Saul thought the Lord was pleased.
Because he was placing his own reasoning
and logic before the Lord, he was doing it in his flesh.
The Lord was not pleased.
Samuel readily rebuked him by saying, “Behold, to obey is better
than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
He was readily punished as well,
“Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD,
he hath also rejected thee from being king.”
Now isn’t that like us sometimes?
We use our own thinking, our own logic (our flesh!), and throw in some
commandment of the Lord in the middle and boast we’re “in the will of God”.
Oh, but we’re doing it “for the Lord”; “I’m happy so He must be happy too.”
Obedience is better than sacrifice.
I can give up everything I want in this world
and do what I think is an ultimate sacrifice, but if isn’t what God told me to do,
than it’s still disobedience and He is not pleased.
Imagine the wonderful blessings that Saul
could have had if he had wholly obeyed the Lord.
Imagine the wonderful blessing we may be missing
out on when we’re not in the perfect will of God...