Who hasn’t wondered what God’s will is for their life? Do I do this or do I do that? Thankfully, however, following God’s will is not as complicated as it may seem.
“And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandant. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'”-Matthew 22:37-39
To simplify, God’s will for you is four words: love God, love others. As long as your decisions allow you to do this you’re good. For some specifics, God’s will is…
- What is good and acceptable and perfect
- That by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people
- For you to give thanks in all circumstances
- That you abstain from sexual immorality
- That everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life
- That the Spirit intercedes for the saints
To go even further, practical ways you can “love God, love others” can be found in Thessalonians, just BE CAREFUL not to turn these verses into a checklist. That would be legalism.
“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. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
Another way of looking at God’s will can be found in James.
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”-James 4:17
Imagine that life is a graph and you are a line who approaches a decision, two points on the graph, one above and one below. This situation could be anything from spotting a piece of trash on the ground to seeing a schoolmate alone. If you choose to dispose of the trash or reach out to the loner, you move up to the higher dot. If you ignore your observation, however, your line goes down. Moving up means you are getting closer to God and becoming more like Jesus while moving down means you are imaging Satan.
After you have lived several years and look back on the progression of “your line,” you want to look for the pattern, not the episodes.
Thanks to our innate sinful nature, there will be times when we choose the lower dot so your line will dip here and there. What matters, however, is that it continues to progress upward despite the dips (pattern, not episodes). If your line moves steadily upward, then you are fulfilling the will of God for your life.