There are two concepts that seem to be close, but they are not the same.
A) We believe in Jesus therefore we are doing God’s will.
B) We do God’s will therefore we believe in Jesus.
In A), we accomplish God’s will by believing in Jesus. In B), we accomplish God’s will whatever it is. God’s will so happens to include believing in Jesus. The two seems to be the same thing, but in practice, one can lead us off to the wrong path.
If we think we can accomplish God’s will by believing in Jesus, then that can leads to Matthew 7:21–23.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Jesus emphasize doing God’s will should be first and foremost in our mind. Jesus said love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul is the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:36.
Doing God’s will is different for different period of time and for different people. Old Testament saints did God’s will by traveling to a distant country in Abraham’s case. Jonah was to build a boat. In the millennial kingdom, God’s will most likely be different from faith in Jesus because Jesus will be ruling the world.
The problem with concept A) is many Christians are lulled into thinking that trusting in Jesus, going to church, don’t sin and perhaps join a short term mission will accomplish God’s will. These Christians are the ones people like to call “Sunday Christians”. So what is the difference between a Sunday Christian and Christ approved Christian?
The key of course has been emphasized by Jesus, and that is doing God’s will. You have to do it with all your heart and soul. Two questions immediately come up.
1) What is God’s will
2) What is doing God’s will with all your soul if you don’t know what it is in the first place.
For 1), the answer is simple:
John 7:17 “Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. “
What Jesus said in John 7:17 is a powerful statement. He said if you desire to do God’s will, a miracle has to happen, and in that miracle, somehow someway you will know what God wants you to do. You will be able to discern God’s will from all the lies that surround us with thousands of different religion and philosophies. That implies Jesus is greater than all the other false gods in this world. He has the power to perform a personal miracle on you to show you the truth, and overcome all the other lies that has been deceiving you.
To repeat, there are two things going on here. One is this is a personal miracle. It is a supernatural knowledge imparted to us. Second is this impartation of knowledge will overcome the lies we bought so far.
For 2), the answer is more difficult. How do we will to do God’s will. If your answer is a quick I did, many people done it, chances are you have not done it. For one thing, it is an attitude. Second is if you have adopted that attitude, it will mean something very deep and personal to you. This attitude is not just a casual acknowledgement. Desire to do God’s will is fundamental to the Christian faith even more important than calling Jesus “Lord, Lord”.
The rich man in Matthew 19 was an example of a person who has done what the Bible said, but has not made the attitude adjustment to do God’s will. The rich man told Jesus he has followed all the commandments. Jesus responded in Matthew 19:21, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” That he was not able to do. The rich man made the commitment to follow God’s law, but never made the commitment to do God’s will.
Jesus told him to sell everything he had. Note that was never a commandment in the Bible. The Bible never told anyone to sell everything. In another word, this commandment is extra biblical. Is something Jesus told him and only him to do. Jesus did not tell the rest of us to sell all we have. It was specifically tailored to this man.
This attitude to do God’s will is doing what God tells us to do above and beyond the commandments in the Bible. We are not to do it unless we are told. When we are told, we are to do it without procrastination.
Your basic attitude here drives all your action years down the road. If you have not made the determination to do God’s will at all cost, you will run into a road block in your Christian walk whether is now or years later. For sure, you will find your Christian walk going in circles because you have not made this fundamental attitude adjustment. Concept A and B listed above has a minor difference, but it will have profound effect on your walk.
Luke 14:27 said if you do not your cross, you cannot be Jesus’s disciple. What is your cross? Jesus the night before his crucifixion prayed to God and said it is not my will, but yours be done. Carry your cross is crucifixion of yourself. Is no longer what you want, but what God want. That is doing God’s will as Christ has done.
In Luke 14:27, the next sentence said:
For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
If you have not carefully considered doing all of God’s will, you have not looked at the cost. You are only willing to believe in Jesus, restrain from sin, attend church and do some mission work, then that is not the full cost. The full cost is all of you. Not willing to do God’s will results in unfinished Christian faith. You being your journey, and you run into a roadblock. You cannot finish your journey. You remain a Sunday only Christian. It is all because you went with A) rather than B) above.
Listening to God
Do we have the ability to hear God?
Least of us is greater than John the Baptist, the greatest prophet
Matthew 11:11 – The least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than the greatest prophet John the Baptist. Our sins has been cleansed and we have the Holy Spirit of God in us at all times.
We have the mind of Christ
1 Corinthians 2:16 – But we have the mind of Christ
Expected to use our talents
Matthew 25:14 - Master gave his servant talents. One had 5, another 2 and last 1. We are expected to make use of our talents. Luke 12:48 – Everyone who has been given much, much will be required. We have been given the Holy Spirit, and we have the mind of Christ. We are expected to hear what God wants from us and do His will.
If you never listened to God, the first step is fasting and praying. Do a 3 day fast. Is not enough to do harm, but is enough to be very uncomfortable. That is the point, to kill your flesh. By fasting, you are doing what you say to kill the flesh. Easy to say I will pray and give up everything. Is all together different when you go thru with it. So fast for 3 days.
Willing to do anything God tells you. While fasting, you will be more honest when you say to yourself you are going to give up anything God tells you to give up. If you hear God convict you to quit your secure good paying job and go somewhere, you will do it. Or if you are dating, and God said to leave the relationship, do it period. You have to play thru the what if scenario thru your head. Think of the most painful thing to do for God, and you are willing to do it. If you will do that, you are on first base already. Jesus gave us the what if scenario too.
(Luke 14:26–29 KJV) “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,”
Lastly, do not doubt.
(James 1:5–9 KJV) “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:”
People ask God for wisdom, then they are afraid God might not tell them, so they ask their pastor, deacons, parents, their trusted Christian friend or a Christian counselor for advice. One day you ask God for wisdom, the next day you ask somebody else. Earthly people comforts you an earthly answer. You refuse to try and listen to God because you don’t think you will hear. You never gave it the do or die trying by starving to death attitude to hear God. Satan told you that you are not good enough for God to speak to you, so you believed Satan instead of the word of God. That is a sin. You will never hear God!
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