God’s Will

My good friend Tom Hammon of Young Life UK wrote this recently and I thought other would benefit from it too.

I Thessalonians 5:16

 

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” NIV

 

“Be happy in your faith at all times. Never stop praying.  Be thankful whatever the circumstances may be. If you follow this advice you will be working out the will of God expressed for you in Christ Jesus.”  J. B. Phillips Translation of the New Testament

 

 

I bet the subject line on this email caught your attention. One of the most frequent questions we personally struggle with and any leader is asked regards what God’s will is for our lives. Should we move? Where should I go to college/university? Who shall I marry?  What job or career should I pursue? What is my next move? And on and on…We desire answers to these specific and at times urgent questions. Some come at us like a freight train. The scripture has little to say regarding specific life choices but loads about trusting God. This verse provides a key to discovering God’s will.

 

First we are told to be joyful, to be happy in our faith. This presumes that joy is a condition we chose, not an emotion we wait upon to swoop down on us. Joy is a choice! Now there is a counter cultural thought. Joy is a condition of well being based not on emotions, life circumstances, how much sleep we have had or our body chemistry. Joy is found in our confidence in Christ’s love, the security of our salvation, that fact that He will not leave us or quit on us, that He delights in us! Joy transcends circumstances and emotions. How else could Paul have been so joyful in a miserable Roman jail?! We generally believe joy only happens when our lives are super – no problems, everything sunny. By that definition I have rarely been joyful in Christ if ever! The only source of joy that will not disappoint and never change is Jesus Christ. Everything else ebbs and flows, everything else changes and ultimately will fail. It is God’s will – and our choice – for us to be joyful. Keep your eyes on Jesus!

 

Second we are to pray constantly, to never stop. Our thoughts, our mind time is to be a dialogue with God our Father. Talk to Him and listen for the still small voice of God. We often limit our prayer to the minutes of our daily devotions; to when we are facing something scary or stressful; or to special occasions like Christmas dinner. These are fine but God desires our mind time, continually, never ending. How would life look if it was always lived in the context of a moment by moment encounter with our loving Father?! It is almost a physical pain for me to be separate with my grown kids. I ache. Sporadic communications are wonderful but my heart yearns for intimate communication with those I love. That is a feint image of God’s desire to be intimate and constant with us. The highest compliment I can imagine is that the great God of the universe, YHWH, the Alpha and Omega desires to deeply know us!! Remarkable!! How would our thoughts change…our attitudes…our lives? God’s will is that we never break the chain of communication. Pray continually!

 

Third we are to give thanks, regardless of circumstances. I go to God daily with my personal shopping list. It is like praying, “Here is what I would like for you to do for me”!! Audacious!! There are dozens, hundreds, thousands of things we can thank God for. Thank Him! What are your blessings? Thank Him! I usually begin my prayer time preoccupied with the concerns of the upcoming day. When I switch the gear and focus on God’s majesty in praise and thank him specifically for everything He gives (health, salvation, good food, Jesus, Ninie, my kids, humour, laughter, a car that runs, great friends, His Word, The Holy Spirit, a wonderful family…) the context changes. Everything changes. I change. It is as if the laws of gravity are suspended and I float. Take a moment and list 50 things to be thankful for. Once you get started I bet you can’t stop. Thank God!! Thank God!! It is His will.

 

The result of obeying God’s Word, God’s Will, is that the pressing choices, the urgent concerns that keep us awake at night are put at bay. We KNOW God deeply, we know his heart, his character and even the mind of Christ. The hard, at times ugly life realities are taken care of by our mighty Sovereign God, our pulse calms, anxiety diminishes. Life happens with joy and confidence. In that context, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit we make the specific decisions before us. We live in His will.

 

Tom

 

Tom Hammon – Young Life International

Senior Regional Director

UK/Ireland/Scandinavia

thammon@1270.younglife.org

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