What Is God’s Will For Us?
So what is God’s purpose for us? Fundamental to this is the concept of God’s will. Bruce Waltke suggests that God’s will is for you “to be a mature man or woman of God … He wants to see your character develop. He wants you to draw close to Him and be changed.” Furthermore, “God’s will is that you be holy, wise, mature, joyful, prayerful and submissive.” There is no secret code required to discover this. God’s will for us is as plain as the scriptures.
“One does not divine God’s will. One lives God’s will as one comes to know Him through His Word. This concept of growing close to God so that you can live out His will, or live to please Him, is consistent throughout the New Testament.”
God’s intentions for us are clear. But what about the many decisions in life (large and small) which are choices between two or more good options. Does God have a fixed agenda in these matters? Does he have anything to say at all about each point of decision?
Yes he does … but so should we.
Gordon Smith makes the point that rather than try to “find” God’s will, we need to learn how to make wise choices by discerning God’s direction. Smith uses the analogy of a figure-skating pair on ice to describe how God leads with us. The person who follows the lead still has a choice and still contributes to the shape and form of the dance.
In a similar vein, Annette remembers a Life Boys’ poster that used to hang in the Sunday School hall of her church when she was a child. The poster showed a boy (in full Life Boys’uniform, of course) with his hands on the ship’s wheel. Standing behind him was Jesus (flowing robes and all). Jesus had one hand on the shoulder of the boy as if to steady him. His other arm was outstretched, fingers pointing into the distance. The boy’s gaze was also fixed on that point far ahead. All very dramatic! But it strikes us that the picture got it pretty right. We need to take hold of the wheel of life … we are active participants in the course we follow … but God is right beside us, providing encouragement and strength for the voyage, and helping us keep our eyes on the goal.
Clearly, God does want to provide direction in our life choices. However, it’s a growing partnership, where we have freedom to make the calls as we understand more and more of his heart for us. God treats us with astonishing respect. We are not just pawns in some great cosmic game of chess. We are junior partners with the Master of the Universe.
For when it comes to our decision-making, God too has a purpose. And that purpose is not just utilitarian, getting us to find the right answers. God certainly desires that we make good choices, but he has a much bigger scheme. He uses these times of choice to grow relationship, trust, character and maturity into our lives.
Bruce Waltke, Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion?, page 78.
Waltke, p. 86.
Waltke, p. 86.
See Gordon T. Smith’s book, Listening to God in Times of Choice (Downers Grove: IVP, 1997), page 22.