What is God Doing.
My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.(John 4:34)
Jesus considered God’s will to be His highest priority (John 4:32-34). Following God’s will is also important for you. Often when people want to know God’s will, they will ask, “What is God’s will for my life?” As one of my seminary professors used to say, “If you ask the wrong question, you are going to get the wrong answer.”
“What is God’s will for my life?” is not the best question to ask. The better inquiry is, “What is God’s will?” Because people are naturally self-centered, we tend to view The Who,e world-even God’s activity- in term of our own lives. Of course, we want to know what we should do and how events will affect us. But that is actually an inverted life-perspective. Once I know God’s will, then my life gains its proper perspective, and I can adjust my life to Him and to His purposes. In other words, what is it that God is purposing to accomplish where I am? Once I know what God is doing, the. I see what I should do. My focus needs to be outward on God and His purposes, not inward on my life.
Now, this does not mean God has no plans for your life. He certainly does. He created you, and He knows how your life can reach its maximum potential. The Bible says He wants you to live an abundant life and to be filled with divine joy. But the plans He has for your life are based on what He is doing in the world around you. He has a larger purpose in mind for all humanity. His desire is for you to become involved in what He is doing to bring salvation to others. Discovering God’s greater plans help you know what He wants to do through you.
Henry and Richard Blackaby
There is a lot of thought and conversation being given in the church community concerning how we resume indoor gatherings, how we return to the normal activities of the church while keeping everyone safe and what activities and parts of our worship experience will need to be modified. All this is good for these are certainly important things to consider. What appears to be lost in the shuffle is the mission and purpose of the church and God’s will and plans for His people. Throughout church history, there have been many moments of crisis, whether disease, or persecution, or diversion of purpose by church leaders, or heresy and complacency, but God’s original purpose has continued many times in spite of human failure. God seems to have a one track mind. The Bible tells us that when Jesus reveals to the disciples His death on the cross to fulfill God’s plan of redemption, they all try to dissuade Him, but nothing moves Him from the Father’s plan. Later these same disciples will suffer persecution even to death but they stay focused on their purpose to “preach Christ and Him crucified”. Whatever happens in the world and in the church, God’s will never changes.
As we consider the new environment and what we are to do, I’m sure many are asking, “God what’s Your will for my life? What’s your will for us, the church? How do we cope with all these things?” The answer isn’t as complicated as we make it. We begin by considering first of all the question: What is God’s will and purpose? This isn’t something we have to discern or discover. He has already made it known to us in pretty clear terms. We call them the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The first tells us that it is God’s will to love Him with all our heart. If that is His will universally then it is also His will individually. So God’s will for me is to love Him with all my heart. How do I do that? First by repenting of my sin and rebellion and inviting Him to come into my heart and by yielding myself to His Lordship. When I love God with all my heart, mind and strength, my purpose is defined. I live to please Him in every thought and deed. My question becomes, “Lord is this pleasing to you?” My question to myself is, “Am I a reflection of Christ to those around me?” The second part of the Great Commandment is to love my neighbor and Jesus established that my neighbor is everyone I meet. Again the will of God is revealed in that our actions, our words and our deeds reflect the love of God through us toward our “neighbor”. How we treat our server at a restaurant or the cashier at the grocery store or even the person who has acted ugly toward us is part and parcel of this loving our neighbor. There’s no question that in the division and hatred and racism, this principle is being ignored, certainly not practiced even at times by professing Christians. As the church ponders it’s future and it’s process of dealing with COVID-19 we must strongly practice this love for our neighbor. We may not be able to do what we’d like personally for the benefit of the whole congregation so we must place the safety of others above our personal preferences. At the same time we cannot minimize our loving God with all our hearts and finding ways to express that love through worship. While we may be extremely restricted with personal touch, we must find creative ways to express our love and care for one another and our neighbors.
The will of God is also expressed in the Great Commission and no matter what the environment around us is, God’s purpose never changes. His plan from creation has been to be with humanity. From the fall, God has single-minded moved toward restoring relationship between Himself and humans. This has been and will always be the will of God. It has taken on many forms from Abraham being called out of Ur to the Israelites being delivered out of Egypt and the prophets calling them over and over again back to God to Christ on the cross and the proclaiming of the gospel by the apostles. Tho the means have varied, the purpose has remained the same. Fallen humanity restored to right relationship with God.
We as the church are the only tool God has to accomplish His purpose of redemption. We have been given the assignment of proclaiming the good news of salvation offered to “whosoever that calls on the name of the Lord.” While we may not be able to do church as we have in the past, our commission is still the same, preaching the gospel.
We may discuss and debate how we carry out the mission but we cannot choose whether or not we carry it out. I acknowledge that it’s challenging but then it’s always been. There’s an interesting thing that happens in the church. The church grows and thrives in times of great crisis and even in persecution. For example, in parts of the world where Christianity is suppressed such as China and many Muslim nations, the church is growing exponentially. Even though these Christians live daily at the risk of losing their lives and families, they continue preaching the gospel to their neighbors and in doing so they fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The unfortunate thing is that we in the church have taken lightly these two proclamations by God as though they are mere suggestions for a select few. But the will of God is that every believer practice both.
I believe in these unprecedented times, we have been give a window of opportunity as I’ve never seen it in my life. As our nation struggles with the virus, the political climate, and the division, as people lose hope in government and the economy and live in either fear or skepticism we must be the beacon of hope. We as Christians are anchored to the Rock and even in the storm we have this hope. This is our message, this is God’s will, that we tell the hopeless of the hope we have in Christ Jesus.
I call us as the church to put ourselves in the will of God. I call us to put His will first even if it moves us out of our comfort zone. I call us to focus on God’s purpose for His church rather than focusing on our inconveniences. I call us to embrace this new day with new vision and new strategies to carry out the will of God. I call us to respond to the question God asked Isaiah, “Who will go for me and whom shall I send” with “Here I am, Lord, send me!”
You may say, “Well, I’m willing but I don’t know what to do.” So I give you God’s response to Moses when Moses objected to standing before Pharaoh.
“The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey —the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain. ” Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “ I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘ I am has sent me to you.’” Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”
Shall we then do the will of God?
Dr. John Thompson