“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:12-18).
One of the most important tasks for the Christian is to examine their life and ask the question. “Am I doing God’s will?”
When I attended Bible college, I observed a strange elevation of “The Call” in the hearts and minds of the students. There was this idea that each person needed to know where their exact place in the kingdom of God was. Where were they “called?” What were their gifts? What was the future God had for them?
We too can begin to think as these students: Am I in the right career? Am I at the right church? Am I in the right ministry? Where is God bringing me (us) now? The questions are continual and direction for our future can become a point of stress in the lives of many believers. Our motivations can be pure or selfish in this regard. We desire God’s blessing upon our future either to solidify our success or, more rightly, to make us effective for the Gospel. We want a sign from God. When confirmation that we are on the right path for the kingdom or for ourselves becomes a focus, we can become anxious and our faith strained when no sign is given. Often, in the absence of a sign that satisfies, we erroneously begin to equate things like comfort, a sense of peace, enjoyment or agreement with the will of God for us. We assume that because we are worldly successful, we must be in God’s will. Or we assume because our ministry seems to be popular that we must be in God’s will.
However, outward signs of success are often very inaccurate indicators of the approval or direction of God. The world is full of those who practice religious traditions that do not have a relationship with Jesus. Therefore attendance, popularity, worldly appeal and financial success in a ministry are never the hallmarks of God’s approval. In the same way the inner witnesses of our feelings, predilections and motivations are often very inaccurate tools to measure the will of God in our lives. Positive feelings about our life or choices must be made to submit to the truth of God found in Scripture. In the light of the measure of the Word of God, our preferences are often extremely inaccurate and must be considered carefully and gladly rejected in favor of the Truth of God’s word.
But the question then comes—how? How do I find and follow God’s will for me?
The answer is simple. His will is that our very thoughts become subject to and dependent upon Him. That our very minds be changed to reflect His to such an extent that we might know His will in every situation (Romans 12:1-2).
God does not desire his people to dwell in the anxiety of needing a sign for every season (Matthew 12:39).
God desires that we trust and we simply, obediently, humbly follow Jesus (John 21:21-22).
Jesus tells us in John 14:15 that those who love Him will keep his commands.
Our loving heavenly Father does not desire that we spend our lives seeking a grandiose path or heroic purpose. Rather, His will for us is to remain in close fellowship with Christ by continual, purposeful obedience to Christ in each moment and each situation, and in doing so be conformed into Christ’s likeness. We need not worry about what the future holds. We need not worry about call or vision or purpose or even direction. Those things will come, but they are secondary to what is primary.
And when we fix our eyes on Jesus alone we need not regret or reminisce about yesterday, and we need not worry or fear for the future. For when we fix our eyes on Jesus alone, laying aside all earthly motivations and concerns, and taking up our cross and following Him, then He (and He alone) will make our paths straight.
In doing so, we will prove ourselves faithful in the few things and He will entrust to us more. For our trust will be in Him (Matthew 25:14-30).
Pastor Brian TorresJanuary 1, 2020