Everyone seems to be searching for God’s will in their lives. Many believe they will have some divine revelation like Moses and the burning bush or Paul (formerly Saul) on the road to Damascus but most of us do not receive such a sign. So where do we go to find out what God wants from our lives. John Macarthur in his book Found: God’s Will believes that God wants us to know His will for our lives and clearly communicates it in the Bible. He has come up with a list of the Five Aspects of the Will of God all starting with an s: saved, Spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive and suffering.
The first step is being saved. One must accept Christ as their savior so that he can lead you where He wants you to go in life. Macarthur states: “God has no reason to reveal to you anything particular about your life because you have not met qualification number one: salvation.” (p. 13). I have had so many people ask from what are they suppose to be saved? I tell them saved from sin, saved from eternal death, and saved from eternal separation from God. John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the people in the world that He sent His one and only Son to die on a cross so that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have eternal life. The will of God is simple “Above all it is that you know Christ and then that your neighbors hear about Christ. That is His will.” (p. 18).
Next is being Spirit-filled. What exactly does that mean? Macarthur answers the question of what a spirit filled life “It is being saturated with the things of Christ-with His Word, His person. (p. 33). The Holy Spirit lives in you the minute you are saved. You have all the power to do what Jesus clearly laid out for us to do in the Bible. The disciples had this power while Jesus was on earth teaching them to do exactly what He could do, but it didn’t change when He ascended into heaven. Why? “When Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, he had the same power as when he was standing next to Jesus Christ!” (p.30). Jesus gives us all that we need, we just need to learn how to tap into that power and ask for wisdom on where God wants us to use it.
The third aspect of God’s will is to be sanctified. I liked the way John Macarthur uses the word purity for sanctification. It is being set apart from worldly ways. Paul gave four principals in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 for us to stay pure: 1. abstain from fornication. 2. control the body. 3. subdue your passion. 4. treat others fairly. Macarthur states: “You can be blessed by God only so long as you are controlling what you do for His honor.” (p.39). “Nothing that gratifies the body to the dishonoring of God can have a place in the will of God.” (p.40). To do God’s will is to be pure and holy in all of our ways to reflect on the person of Christ himself as he is pure and holy.
The fourth aspect of God’s will is to be submissive. Why is this so important? Macarthur quotes 1 Peter 2:15 “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” Macarthur says: “Do you know what the critics of Christ look for in Christians? Faults.” (p,47). He goes on to say that we need to eliminate the faults and live in a way that makes you the best possible citizen in the society in which you live. People need to see that we are different and the reason why we are different is because of Christ.
The last aspect is not popular especially today and that one is suffering. The world does not like Christ. “But you cannot be accepted by the world and be effective for the Lord.” (p. 63). We will be shunned, put down, falsely accused, bullied and so many other negative actions for our belief. “We are to suffer, not because we have failed to be the right kind of person when we were younger, not because we are antagonistic, grumpy, grouchy, or out of whack somewhere, but we should suffer for doing what is right.” (p. 53). This is not our home. We are just passing through on our way to our eternal home. “The Bible never sees a Christian at any time who doesn’t suffer-because anybody who lives a godly life in the world will get the flak that the world throws back.” (p. 55). But we must fulfill the other parts of God’s will including telling others about salvation and for that the world and Satan will always try to destroy us, like they tried to destroy Christ. We have to be willing to stand up and be counted for Christ just as he stood up for us when he died for our sins.
The question of “Are you in the will of God right now?” is a tricky question. I would like to say that I am 100% perfect but no one on earth is perfect. Have I been saved? Yes, I was when I was seven, but have I sinned now and again over the years? Yes, I have. I have asked for forgiveness for those sins and he has forgiven me again and again. I strive everyday to do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord.
Have I been spirit-filled? Yes, I have learned more and more over the years on how to use power of the Holy Spirit to lead others to Christ, to pray for healing, to cast out demons and so much more. I feel His presence as if he were standing right next to me. Someone asked me the question of what the difference of suddenly being caught up in the air in the rapture of dying and seeing Christ. I said the only difference is that now I could physically see him instead of just feeling his presence. I went to see Heaven is For Real the movie on Sunday and the scene where the little boy met Jesus gave me goose bumps. It is like the song I Can Only Imagine when you get to heaven and see the one who died for you, your best friend, your savior face to face what will you do? I think it depends on your personality. I want a hug and He knows it! He is not some stand offish God reigning down his laws and justice on us he is a friend, a brother and waits for us to accomplish all in this life so we can come and be with Him for eternity.
Number three is difficult and I do strive to keep my fleshly desires (such as overeating or overspending) under control, but I will not say it is not without struggles. It is a daily tug of war but God gives us the power to overcome this area in my life and I continue to strive daily for that purity. Galatians 5:16-18 states: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. ”
As for submission, I have always driven the speed limit and been laughed at by others when I told them that the Bible says to obey the laws of the land. Am I perfect? No. I get distracted or in a hurry, but if I realize what I am doing I go right back to the speed limit. I have never gotten a ticket when everyone says it is normal to be pulled over for speeding. This is just one example. In other areas I do struggle. I want to do what is right but find myself in difficult situations that are hard to get out of especially in finances when one faces the loss of a job, a reduction in hours, sickness, or death. But God continues to mold this piece of clay for his glory and even in adversity He can use it for good and help me grow.
I know a lot about suffering and have suffered for what is right. I stood up for the weak, and for my faith and have suffered many consequences for it. I decided as a teenager I would rather work for Christ than have millions of dollars working for myself. I wanted to stay home and teach my children rather than send them off to learn from the world. I can tell you that I do want to please people so it is hard sometimes to fly in the face of adversity and confront those who are dying in their sin. I obeyed God by telling both family and friends about God’s will of salvation and lost the bonds of those relationships because of it. Would I do it again? Yes, because I do want to do God’s will no matter what the cost. To accomplish this I read the Bible, go to church, seek wise counsel, pray and read books on about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as well as listen to Him and obey when he instructs me to do something. So while I am not perfect I am striving toward the goal of all of these to do God’s will in every situation with the talents he has given me which I use daily to expand His Kingdom and give him the glory!