Those whose spirituality involves belief in a sovereign God who governs the world of his creation find their purpose in living their lives within the divine will. They follow the example of Jesus whose sole aim was to fulfill the will of the father. At the same time many struggle with just what it means to live in the will of God. This is particularly so when we are going through unexplainably bad situations. Here are seven keys to identifying and living in the God’s will.
- Cultivate an attitude of openness and humility.
This is the mind of Christ whose only ambition was to live in obedience to the fathers will. He taught us to pray, “your will be done.” As he was about to suffer the most excruciating death at the hands of his enemies, that was his only prayer. Anger, resentment, and discouragement are based on pride. The more pride we possess the more intensely we experience these emotions. Letting go of pride and envy delivers us while cultivating the spirit of humility. . When Job’s wife saw he had lost his entire life’s work in one day, including all his children, her anger boiled over. She advised him to “curse God and die.” Job’s humble reply was, “God gives, and God takes away.” 2. Realize that the will of God is not for your happiness but for his glory. Everyone wants to be happy. The pursuit of happiness is enshrined in the constitution as a God given right. Companies make billions selling the idea of happiness if you buy their product. Therein lies the problem. There is no problem in the desire to be happy; it is our distorted ideas about what we need in order to be happy. For example, how would you finish the sentence, I would be happy if only…..? The bible does not deny our happiness, it does point out that the will of God must be our first priority. In this case, our happiness comes from accepting and living in the will of God. When we seek him first our happiness and everything else we need is added.
- Learn to accept the present as God’s will.
Present moment living is probably the most important principle for living in the will of God. We can act only in the present; therefore the will can only be exercised in the present. That is the folly of saying tomorrow I will do so and so. That is the same as saying yesterday I will do that. They are equally beyond our ability. The goal of present moment living is to calmly survey the present situation as God’s will. We cannot make something better by worrying about it. You cannot solve a problem by being angry at it. 4. Distinguish your emotions from your will.
As the French Mystic Fenelon wrote, “the question is not what is the state of your feelings but what is the condition of your will?” We decide with our will, we feel with our emotions. Because I feel bad about something that is no reason to believe it is not in the will of God. We often judge the quality of our lives by how we feel at the moment, but living in the will of God means accepting every experience as consistent with the will of God and therefore beneficial. 5. Learn to will what you have not what you don’t have.
If I am living in the will of God, then whatever exists in my life must be according to his will, and since I desire his will, my prayer must always be your will be done. Of course, this should not be taken to mean that if you are living in a situation where you are physically, spiritually, mentally or emotionally abused for you to remain there. It is not consistent with the biblical teaching for anyone to remain in such a situation. 6. The pain of our resistance comes from our own selfish desires.
If God allows something, and I fight against, it means I am acting out of my own self-interest and not for his glory. Death is only painful to him who resists it. When you silence the voice of self, the voice you hear is the voice of God. The cross is not a cross when there no self to suffer under it. 7. The will of God will never take me where the presence of God cannot sustain me.
The bible declares that even if I make my bed in hell, his presence is still with. One of the most frequently repeated promises of the scripture is God will never abandon those who are is. Even if we feel abandoned, that is our conclusion based on our faulty expectation. We are never alone. The divine presence is always with us to comfort and guide.
These principles indicate that living in the will of God challenges many of our accepted ways ot living the spiritual life. They require discipline and commitment; however the benefits to us are significant. Commit to integrating these principles into your daily life and experience inner peace and freedom from fear.