What is the will of God?

So many decisions. What should you do with your summer? Which college should you apply for… which grad school… which job? Where should you live, who should you live with, who should you date? What should you study… what do you want to be… what should you do with your life? 

There are things that are clearly out of God’s intended way for your life—sin. Anything that is against his law, the boundaries for which he has set for his people. But those boundaries are set for us to experience freedom, not bondage; clarity, not confusion; peace, not fear. We can trust that within this freedom, we are indeed free. Here’s some analogies to help you understand the freedom we have in Christ:

Think of an elementary school that invested in the most amazing equipment for their playground. The kids pressed themselves up against the windows to see their new playground and they stared in wonder because it was incomparable to anything they’d ever seen. The problem was that a major highway was next to the playground. The parents had taught their kids not to go into the street and because they didn’t want their children to feel trapped and confined, they decided against getting a fence—surely they’d feel more free without one. Once the playground was complete, the kids were let out for their first recess on the new playground. The teachers were shocked, though. The children wouldn’t play. Despite the children’s desire to play, they were terrified of the roaring traffic constantly flying by and instead of enjoying the new playground, they huddled in the center of the playground. They were overwhelmed by the extent of their freedom that they were confined by their own fear of harm. They stayed close to each other in the center of the grounds, making parameters for themselves playing patty-cake and duck-duck-goose even when there were extravagant playsets and endless opportunities for fun. Frustrated that the new playground wasn’t being utilized, the principle decided to override the parent’s decision and had a fence built. The fence lined the parameters of the playground to protect them from the dangers of the major highway. After the fence was built, the bell for recess rang and the children eagerly ran out to play. They felt free. They used all the new equipment because they had a fence that protected them from harm. They felt free to run and play wherever they wanted because anything and everything within the fence was safe and for their delight. The fence is the law. Do you see how it actually sets us free? It doesn’t confine us from freedom—it grants us freedom. It protects us from pain, danger, and fear. 

Separate analogy: Think about a father taking his children into their backyard to play and he sits watching them from the porch. He has built them a swing set, a sand box, and a tree house. He made them all for his children’s delight. Imagine one of them going to their daddy and asking, “which one do you want me to play on?” The father shrugs and says, “You can play on whatever makes you happy! They’re all for you.” Confused, his child says, “But daddy, which one pleases you the most?” He laughs, shaking his head, and assures her, “I’m pleased to watch you enjoy yourself with whichever one you prefer! I’m happy when you’re happy.” Isn’t this what we do with God? We worry about which decision is the most pleasing to him, constantly questioning whether we are in the will of God, when in reality, as long as we’re inside the fence—the distinct boundaries he has set, we are free to choose whatever we find the most delight in because our delight honors the one who was pleased to provide us with options and multiple opportunities.

Imagine a room with a college student, a doctor, a teacher, a stay-at-home mom, a preacher, and a homeless man. If they are all living their life to the glory of God, seeking to love Christ and love others, are any of them “more” in the will of God than another? Of course not. Do not fret over the little things. Make decisions, go places, meet people, and dedicate your every moment to the glory of God—the purpose for which he has set you free through his grace. As long as you stay within the fence—which is a parameter of his grace designed for your benefit—you can thrive in the center of his will wherever you are and in whatever you do. Now, live in that freedom. 

Galatians 5:1&13 “For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit any longer to a teaching of slavery. For you were called to freedom. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love, server one another.”
1 Thessalonians 4:3 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.”
Colossians 3:17 “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Philippians 1:26-27 “For your progress and joy in the faith, and so that your confidence may abound in Christ, whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

To see more on what the process of sanctification looks like practically, I encourage you to read 2 Peter 1:3-15. You can read it online here

  04/26/13 at 03:03pm
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