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The Absolute Certainty of Godís Will
By David A. DePra
Have we realized that Godís will is a certainty? It is. Now, I donít mean that it is impossible to rebel against Godís will, or to reject it, or to miss it. Indeed, there are going to be people who end up in hell. But what I mean when I say that Godís will is certain is that it is certain that God is going to have His will. The question for you and I is therefore simple: Are we going to enter into Godís will? Or shall we insist upon our own?
Of course, most professing Christians would never say that they intend to insist on their own will, and always say they want Godís will. But some of us are quite deceived along this line Ė we really cannot tell the difference between Godís will and our own. In fact, many Christian people think that whatever they want IS Godís will. They never even question it. So this too is a consideration: How do we know whether our will is Godís will?
God is going to have His full and complete will. And despite the fact that we will always have a choice as to whether to enter into Godís will, He would like us to enter in. God wants us to enter into His will, experience His will, and just as importantly, become instruments whereby His will is brought to pass in this age.
God Has a Will
First, we need to understand that God HAS a will. This might seem too self-evident to discuss, but it really does need to be discussed. For in our Christian lives, it can sometimes seem as if God doesnít have a will Ė that is, it sometimes seems as if God doesnít really care, or isnít interested in doing anything. We pray and nothing happens. Perhaps we are in a big trial. We seek God and canít seem to find Him. During those times, it can seem as if God doesnít have a will at all.
Actually, the temptation to believe that God doesnít have a will is usually central to any trial of faith. If we buy into it, we are likely going to take matters in our own hands, instead of standing fast for Godís will. So at the top of the list is the necessity of knowing that God is not indifferent, apathetic, and uninvolved with us. Rather, God has a will Ė He has a will for this age, and a specific will for YOU. God is a purposeful God. He also has a will as to HOW to accomplish His will.
Second, once we establish that God has a will, then it only follows that we must see that He intends to have it. He intends to do whatever is necessary to bring it to pass. In short, we believe God has a will. And then we believe God will take steps to bring His will to pass Ė precisely because IT IS HIS WILL.
Do you believe that God wants to do His will? In your life? Or maybe the better question is this: Do you believe that right now God IS doing His will in your life? Some of us doubt this because we have already decided what Godís will ought to be. We donít know God. So we donít recognize when His hand is upon us.
Third, once we believe God has a will, and once we believe He intends to bring it to pass, then we must understand that we need to surrender to God FOR His will. God can do whatever He pleases, and when. But generally, God wants to bring His will to pass through people. And since God wonít force anyone to do His will, this means that in order to enter into Godís will, we must surrender to God.
Now, you will notice that I have not said that we must understand the will of God BEFORE we surrender. No. Our surrender is to God Himself -- for WHATEVER He wants. Never try to surrender to a THING called, "Godís will." Rather, surrender to God. If you do that, God will bring His will to pass in your life.
The fact is, if I surrender to God, my surrender is exactly what opens me for His will. I will grow to understand His will, indeed, I will grow to BECOME His will. God isnít going to give you a THING called, "His will," in the form of some blessing, or lot in life, as a THING apart from a relationship with Him. No. I must first fall into the hands of God unconditionally. Then, because I have, I not only get God, but I get everything that His will carries.
Actually, if you want to know where the hang-up in our walk with Christ usually is, it is right here: We donít surrender to God for HIS WILL. Instead, we seek THINGS from God, and a certain leading from God, all the while we ignore God Himself. I donít think most of us do that on purpose. We just donít know any better. So God is at work in our hearts to reveal HIMSELF to us, and to bring us into conformity with Himself. And because we tend to focus on THINGS, and God always focuses on RELATIONSHIP, we think He is not doing anything. But He is. He is trying to make us fit for His will.
What I am saying is that you cannot have THINGS that belong to Godís will until you BECOME Godís will. In other words, until you are adjusted in your relationship with Christ along the lines of Spirit and Truth, you will never be able to function in THINGS unto Godís glory, or to your benefit.
Another way of saying this is that Christ must first have victory over us before we can live in victory over anything else. Iím talking about victory over both blessings and trouble. If I am not being governed by the Holy Spirit, then how can I be trusted to governed over, and within Ė to Godís glory Ė the will of God for me? The notion that I can live in the will of God, or according to Godís will Ė but NOT have a clue about surrender to God Himself Ė is nonsense. And if we would just see this it would explain much about what God does what He does, or seems to not be doing what we think He ought to do.
Thus, we must say this again: My overall relationship with God must be according to His will if I am to live in the will of God. I must BECOME Godís will before I can live Godís will to His glory. I must be dependent upon Christ in order to live in freedom over that which belongs to Him.
What IS Godís Will?
Godís will for each one of us is CHRIST. If you are a Christian, Christ is in you. Christianity IS Christ in us. (see Col. 1:27) But Iím talking about more than just salvation as Godís will. Iím really talking about everything that comes after, and as the result of, Christ in us.
God wants us to become an expression of Christ Ė living epistles, if you will, of the Holy Spirit. God wants to take everything that Jesus is, and everything that Jesus has done, and make it all real TO us, IN us, and THROUGH us. That is the will of God. Everything else is unto that end.
Here again we see a reason why sometimes it seems as if God isnít doing much. His will is Christ. Our will is often THINGS. Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God Ė which is the work of the Spirit to make Jesus LORD of us Ė and all THINGS will be added." In short, if we come under the Lordship of Jesus in all things, then God can add more things. So again we see that God has a will, and it is Christ. But unless we surrender to God, Christ cannot be formed in us, and thus, THINGS could become a danger. God will be limited as to the THINGS He can add to us.
Iím not suggesting that we have to become fully mature in Christ before God will do anything in our lives. No. This is an on-going growth process. But the bottom line is that Godís will is Christ Ė and He wants to use all THINGS to serve the building up of us in His Son. This is about a relationship with God.
God wants to glorify Himself to us, in us, and through us. This happens if and when God has His will Ė to us, in us, and through us. But before we celebrate God having His will and glory Ė and I hope we do Ė we need to realize what it all means.
First of all, it means that if you really want Godís will, your will is no longer under consideration. This doesnít automatically mean that anything you want, or prefer, or like, is out the window. It doesnít mean you will be miserable. But it just means that you donít get to decide about yourself. You donít even get to decide who you are, or what you want to be. Rather, it means just what the Bible says: You no longer belong to yourself.
We really donít believe this, but if we were to belong to God Ė not merely in word, or religiously, but REALLY Ė that we would find our true identity in Christ. Thus, instead of being a negative, this would actually be the path to FINDING our life. Jesus said that. He said, "Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." He was not talking about physical martyrdom. He was talking about losing everything about yourself into the hands of God, and letting Him make you what HE wants you to be.
Do we really think that we can build ourselves into someone who glorifies God? Today, much in the church is along that line Ė people are offered, "Your Best Life Now," and programs are developed to improve your personality, and to enhance your self-esteem. One wonders how the apostles got along without these, "positive messages?" Well, they did get along without them, in fact, they would have hated them. The apostles realized that in order to find your life in Christ, you had to be losing it at the Cross. The truth is, God wants to completely set aside our SELF life, and set us free in Christ. If God could do that, not only would He be glorified, but we would greatly benefit.
To truly BECOME the will of God in Jesus Christ, our will and our kingdom must be torn down. That will be negative to our flesh and natural thinking Ė indeed, today such a process would, in many places, be viewed as the work of the Devil. After all, doesnít God LOVE us? Yes, He does. That is why He wants us set free from the number one thing that keeps us from Himself: Our obsession with ourselves. He wants us focused on Christ.
Godís glory means God is seen, exalted, and made manifest. This always happens where His will is accomplished. And it is never accomplished any other way.
If there is one thing that Godís own people need to get settled, not only in their personal lives, but in the church, it is this: God is committed only to His will and His glory. He is not going to accept our invitation, or even our demands Ė no matter how sincere, and no matter how hard we pray Ė to bring to pass our will and our glory. God is not going to hop aboard our bandwagon, even if we think we are driving it in His will. No. God is calling us onto His will, for His glory.
I donít know how many people really grasp this. Iím not sure how many of us understand that God ALREADY has a will for us, and is ALREADY moving in that will. He is trying to call us INTO His will. Thus, for us to try to get God doing what we want Him to do, and for us to try to get God to buy into OUR program for Him Ė and oh yes, we do this quite religiously Ė well, this is just working at odds with God.
Jesus said to pray, "Thy kingdom come, and Thy will be done." This is so simple that we miss it. He is telling us that we donít have the right to decide. He is telling us we have no kingdom of our own. He is telling us that God wants to get us to where we will not settle for anything short of GODíS WILL. He is telling us that we need to get to the point where we actually ASK God to bring what HE desires for His glory.
"To ask," is not so much about words. It is about heart attitude. We ask because we TRULY WANT. If I am asking in word for Godís will, but not really yielded to God, God isnít going to answer, because Iím not really ASKING. Iím just saying words and being religious. I really ASK when there is no hidden agenda in me, and when I have surrendered to the point where I really want Godís will.
Wanting Godís will is equal to wanting Godís glory. Godís glory isnít going to glorify me. But really, God wants to bring us to the place where we DONíT WANT any glory. Again Ė this will not be an act. We wonít be acting humble. We will truly WANT Godís glory.
The amazing thing is, that if we surrender to Godís will, and refuse to settle for less, God isnít going to immediately DO THINGS. What God will do is HIS WILL IN US. That comes first. He will reveal to us Jesus Christ. And then, in the light of Christ, things can move.
If I am unconditionally committed to Godís will and glory, then I am actually committed to that the same thing that God is committed to: His will and glory. Can we see then WHY if we pray according to HIS will, God will answer? Absolutely. And even if I donít know specifically how Godís will might work out, I can be absolutely certain that God is going to bring His will. Indeed, because I am already surrender to God, I will be able to move with Him in His will.
Increase of Faith
If you want to know HOW TO HAVE FAITH Ė how to increase in faith Ė the answer is right here. If you commit yourself to Godís will Ė allow God to do whatever He pleases Ė you can be absolutely certain that God WILL DO as He pleases. He will work in you unto that end. God will not fail to do HIS WILL in the life of someone who surrenders to Him, and keeps surrendered to Him.
Jesus gave a little story to explain this. His disciples requested of Him this very thing:
And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamore tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shall eat and drink? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:5-10)
This is one of the many times that Jesus was asked a question, or received a request, and didnít seem to answer it directly. He could not. The apostles apparently thought that an increase of faith was the result of God giving us more faith. But the answer Jesus gives pointed in an entirely other direction.
Note the picture Jesus is painting. He is saying that if there was a servant in the field doing work for his master, that it would be nonsense for that servant to come in from the field and expect to BE SERVED by his master Ė as a thanks for doing what he was supposed to do, namely serve in the field. No. In fact, Jesus says the servant would continue to need to serve before he could eat. And He ends the story by saying that if we have done all the serving we can muster, that we have still done only our duty.
This is an interesting story, especially because Jesus doesnít mention one word about FAITH. What happened to their request for an increase of faith? Well, this story is intended to illustrate to them the key to an increase of faith. First, letís note what is NOT of faith: If I serve God, it is nonsense to think that God is going to thank me by serving me; giving me what I want. Such an expectation is not faith in God. It is faith in what I have done, because I think I have earned points with God, and because I now think he OWES ME.
So many of us try to tell God what we think He wants to hear, and do what we think He wants us to do, and pass this off as faith. False teachers like Kenneth Copeland teach that faith is a force that we generate up to God to get Him moving. No. Jesus is telling us right here in this story how to increase in faith.
According to Jesus, you cannot bribe God. You cannot move God. You cannot indebt God to you. At the end of the day, if you have given your all, you are still doing only your duty. The key to an increase of faith, according to Jesus, is to serve God to the disregard of your own interests. It is to obey Him without any thought of payback or reward. In other words, I put myself LAST under Godís will Ė "I eat," only after HE EATS. If I will do that Ė abandon myself to Godís will and Godís glory Ė I am going to have all the faith necessary. But not for what I WANT. I am going to have all the faith necessary for GODíS WILL to come to pass in my life to HIS GLORY.
In short, Jesus is saying that if we unconditionally commit ourselves to Godís will and glory, all of the faith of Jesus Christ is going to be mine, because the faith of Jesus Christ is for Godís will and glory. Have we realized that we cannot have the faith of Jesus Christ for anything Jesus doesnít have faith for? And have we realized that if we are sold out for Godís will, that the faith of Jesus Christ will be ours Ė because we are one with His will and purpose?
Do we want an increase of faith? Well, then live for Godís glory. Live for Godís will. Yes, DO it, but abandon ourselves to God that He may do it IN US. And THROUGH us. Let Him decide how to make this happen. And then when He does make it happen, we will move with Him. If we live in this way, there will come an increase of faith in us because there will be an increase of Christ in us.
The fact is, it is simply NOT POSSIBLE for you and I to have faith for anything except the will of God. Oh, we can THINK we have faith. We can think faith is a FORCE we generate, or an emotion. But no. FAITH is a relationship word. It is reliance, trust, and surrender to God. Thus, faith is always possible for the will of God, and faith Ė REAL faith Ė is never possible for anything outside the will of God. Why? Because God is only IN His will, and never in anything outside of it! We therefore cannot have the faith of Jesus Christ for anything but what Jesus would have faith for Ė the will of God.
The early disciples were able to work miracles, and be used of God in big ways, simply because they were absolutely sold out to Godís will for His glory. And when we are sold out to that, God is free to do many things, because HE is sold out to it. In short, sell out to Godís will and His glory, and what you will get is Godís will and His glory. Some times that means miracles.
Left to ourselves, you and I can be certain about NOTHING. But in Christ, we can be certain about GOD. We can be certain that God has a will, and that He is committed to it. And His will is Christ. Thus, if you want true certainty Ė surrender to God. He wonít let you down.
Funny how total surrender TO God, results in certainty IN God! Funny how surrender to Godís will, makes you certain OF it. That is faith Ė it is moral relationship with God. David saw this in one of the Psalms:
Truly my soul waits upon God: from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. (Ps. 62:1-2)
David could not be greatly moved Ė and it had little to do with himself. He could not be greatly moved because he knew that God was going to have His will. And since David was likewise committed to Godís will, he had faith Ė and an absolute certainty in God Himself.
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