“For this is the will of God, your sanctification…that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor….For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness”(1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 7 ESV).
Have you ever said, “I just want to know the will of God for my life!”? I’m sure that every one of us who have decided to follow Christ has asked that question at least once or twice. And it’s an understandable ask. If God has a plan for each of our lives, it only makes sense to want to know what it is. And apart from hearing a thundering voice from Heaven it can seem like a herculean task to figure it out. Fortunately, the pathway of discovery is well marked, if not level and easy.
God Wants Everyone To Be Saved
This Sunday our pastor taught on the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, found in Matthew 20:1-16. In it, Jesus makes it clear that He wants everyone to be saved, and that there is equal grace for everyone, regardless of whether they serve Him for a long or short time before their death. “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23-24 ESV). Sometimes I have to remind myself that all sin carries the same judgment. Sin is rebellion against God whether a “little white lie” or genocide! Apart from Christ, any sin earns its wage: death (Romans 6:23).
But the good news is that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4 ESV). For “the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world…. [And] We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:14, 19 ESV).
It may be all to obvious, but our salvation is God’s will.
God Wants Us To Be Sanctified
This is from our main text. God didn’t provide for our salvation so that we could continue to live the life we lived before knowing Him. His salvation is as much about how we live now as it is about Heaven. Paul tells us that, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4 ESV). “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:3-4 ESV).
Obviously holiness is important to God, so it should be important to us as well.
God Wants Us To Love
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8 ESV). And although the scriptures, in many other places, specifically mentions our fellow believers, we are given no such distinction here.
We are to love, not only other Christians, but also those who are not. Love is the great imperative for us as believers. And it is also the great distinctive for us as believers. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 ESV).
God Wants Us To Be Thankful
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17 ESV). Gratitude for the blessings of God is so much more than a thank-you note. It is finding in Christ everything we need. It is contentment that all of our needs are met (Philippians 4:11,19).
A thankful heart sets us up in a position to receive from God. If you were to give a nice gift to someone and they receive it with indifference, how likely are you to give them another gift?
God wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. He wants everyone to be sanctified, growing in holiness. And He wants us to be thankful and content with what we have and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
I know that this might seem disappointing to some who wanted answers about a major life decision. But this is a roadmap, not Siri or Alexa. And unlike many things in life, we don’t find answers by seeking answers. We find answers when we seek Him!
Scripture tells us that “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10 ESV). So, if we are looking for more direction regarding the will of God, we simply need to be faithful to do what we already know of the will of God!
Remember, God often works on a need-to-know basis. We get worked up about our next turn, while God simply wants us to keep walking forward. ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV). Do what you know to do, and God, in His impeccable timing, will make certain you never miss a turn.