Jesus asked His disciples: “Have you understood all these things about the kingdom of heaven?” They said to Him: “Yes”. And He said to them: “Therefore, everyone who is trained for the kingdom of heaven, is like a master of a house, who brings forth out of his household’s treasures: things new and old” ~Matt. 13:51.
In these days, I believe we need a safeguard. We endure all sorts of pressures in our everyday lives, and the one stabilizing force of all, is our confidence in who we are, and how we perform. “Who we are, and how we perform”, may be the most elusive thing to most people, and especially to me, but not when this identity of ours – each of us – is found in doing God’s will; for then: we’re empowered by His Spirit.
“He who does the will of God, lives eternally” ~1John 2:17.
This is an old train of thought to me, and will be to many others who’ve been Christians for many years, but it’s something that will either stabilize our faith, making confident our “stride” in this world, or: without it, we will falter, staggering in our faith because of the pressures of life. In short we each need to know:
What is the will of God?
Besides our knowledge of God’s will stabilizing our faith, it will also facilitate the answering of our prayers, for the apostle John states: “This is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, (then) we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him” ~1John 5:14-15.
Do you want to walk in confidence? I do, even though I feel weak, daily; as we all surely do. But, God’s word has this covered as well, for it is the apostle Paul – that great conqueror, adventurer, explorer and transformer of cultures – who stated: “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” ~2Cor. 4:7. Treasure, …in earthen and weak vessels.
What treasure? If we look in the preceding verse, we find this statement: “the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ”. That’s a big thing to “contain” in an earthen vessel, in your weaknesses, in your frailties, amongst all your wound-ed-ness, and “down there” in your throbbing heart. But, this is where this focus of doing God’s will, will get us: into carrying the knowledge of the glory of God, with confidence, despite the pressures of life.
“…we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” ~2Cor. 4:7. Treasure, …in earthen and weak vessels. What treasure? “…the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ”. We contain the glory of God.
God’s glory is found in doing His will – the ~4-fold, revealed and specific will of God:
“This is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, (then) we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him” ~1John 5:14-15. What confidence! It’s a confidence that surpasses all others.
The will of God, is stated plainly, specifically and explicitly: four times in the New Testament:
~1 The will of God, is our complete and eternal salvation:
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” ~John 6:39-40.
And, our confidence in this will of God for our eternal life, is “nestled in” our conscience – in our knowing together with Him, with His Spirit whom He’s give us through our belief in the eternal gospel:
“By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.
“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him.
“And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us. Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us” ~1John 3:19-24.
~2 The will of God, is our sanctification.
“Sanctification” just means holiness, which is our separation to God. It includes moral purity and knowing and cooperating with Holy Spirit, through how He makes us holy by our knowledge and practice of His word, just-as-Jesus-prayed to the Father, whilst on earth: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” ~John 17:17.
God’s will for our sanctification is stated by Paul here, to the Thessalonians: “Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.
“For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you” ~1Thess. 3:1-8.
Of course, sexual immorality is just one thing, concerning our sanctification, and one “on the top of the list”, but the main thing concerning all of our holiness as I see it, is “that no one transgress and wrong his brother/fellow-believer in this matter” of sexual immorality and any other transgression and violation of “his brother’s” love-rights.
Keeping ourselves from transgressing and wronging our fellow believers, is the main thing in God’s eyes, because “If anyone says: I love God, and yet hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” ~1John 4:20.
So generally, we please God, by loving people as He loves them.
~3 God’s will is for our joy, through our prayerfulness and thankfulness:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” ~1Thess. 5:16-18.
And yet, the immediate context is also important:
“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 to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; and he will surely do it” ~1Thess. 5:12-24.
~4 God’s will is that we do right/do good:
“…it is God’s will and intention that by doing right, you should silence the ignorant charges and ill-informed criticisms of foolish persons” ~1Peter 2:15.
The whole context of ~1Peter 2:6-25 is important to comprehend the full meaning of “doing right” in this respect of doing God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven”, so as to please Him – for He’s worthy of pleasing! – and “get our prayers answered”.
~1Peter 2:6-25 “For it is contained in scripture: Look! I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and honored cornerstone, and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame!
“So honor will come to you who believe, but for the unbelieving: the stone that the builders rejected — this One has become the cornerstone, and: a stone to stumble over, and a rock to trip over. They stumble because they disobey the message; and they were destined for this.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once: you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
“Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against your own spirit. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation (when He comes to separate the good from the worthless, of His flock).
“Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the Emperor as the supreme authority or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good. For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good/doing right.
“As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the Emperor.
“Household slaves (employees), submit with all fear to your masters, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel. For it brings favor if, mindful of God’s will, someone endures grief from suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if you sin and are punished, and you endure it? But when you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it, this brings favor with God.
“For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps. He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth; when He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He was suffering, He did not threaten but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly.
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds. For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls”.
In summary, you could say that the revealed and specific will of God is:
Of course, as it’s often said in Christian preaching and teaching: “God’s word is His will”, meaning that these four specifically revealed aspects of God’s will, are not all that’s revealed, but that other aspects of God’s will are open to all who seek to do His will.
In respect of “getting our prayers answered” these are the key things to meditate upon, simply because we need to maintain confidence in God’s will, so as to ask according to His will, and thus: get our prayers answered by Him.
The stabilizing of our faith, is surely here, from our Master’s lips:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” ~Matt. 7:21. Now surely, that’s a stabilizing influence, when mixed with your knowledge of “the will of My Father who is in heaven”, as explained above. It’s in the doing of That-Will, that anyone will find God’s comforts, power and provision. Mere knowledge is not enough, but doing.
“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” ~Matt. 7:22-23. For, they did these things, without doing That-Will.
Cheers, fellow-grapplers in our faith.
The eBook is “a boon” for anyone who’s interested in divine dreams’ interpretations: