The world and all its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:17 NIV
Some of my best growth times with the Lord have been during teaching times with my children. I remember when my son asked an important question, “Daddy, what is the ‘will of God’?”
Now, he wasn’t asking, “What does God want me to do?” It was more general than that. He simply wanted to know what the phrase “will of God” meant. He had heard others say the term many times, but he never understood it. My hope is that you and I can also grow through this experience.
I explained to him in a way that has always helped me understand the will of God in my life. Understand this is a paradigm for understanding God’s will, not a script according to Scripture. I believe there are Bible verses that can further define each one of these (I’ve put a couple in parenthesis after each one for example), but my intent here is simply to help people process God’s will for their life.
First there is God’s individual will.
That is for the individual decisions you and I make each day. You know that God cares intimately for you, even down to the number of hairs on your head. God does allow, however, for you to make some decisions for yourself in life. You may choose what to eat for breakfast or you may choose a red car instead of a blue. It isn’t that God doesn’t care which you get, but He most likely will allow you to make that decision. (Proverbs 16:9, Jeremiah 29:4-6, Genesis 13:11)
Second, there is God’s moral will.
God’s desire for you is that you develop your character into the image of Christ. He will present you with every opportunity for you to do just that, but you will play a part in how far you grow spiritually. You may choose to love your neighbor as yourself or you may choose to be a very selfish person. God, however, is very concerned about your character, and for His moral will for your life. In fact, God cares more that His moral will for your life be done than His individual will, because God is in the character-changing business. (Philippians 2:5, Galatians 5:22-23, Romans 12:1-2)
Third, there is God’s sovereign will.
God has a will that is set in stone! It won’t change. It can’t change. It always stays the same! For example, God cannot help but love you because that is His sovereign will. God cannot break His promises, because that is His sovereign will. Some things God has set into motion, and they will never be different. (Job 42:2, Deuteronomy 4:39, Isaiah 45:18)
I don’t know what God’s individual will is for your life. (I hope today it includes your favorite cereal and a shiny red convertible…if that’s your color.) But I can tell you this. His moral will is that you be like His Son Jesus.
That begins with your sincere faith in Jesus as your Savior! And better yet, His sovereign will says that because of your faith in Him, He has reserved you a place in Heaven!
Do you struggle to know God’s will for your life sometimes?