As we choose to live in God’s will, we must understand that there is a close correlation between our communion with God (our day-to-day relationship with God) and with His leading in our life. The elements of this relationship are communication (prayer…alone with God as well as throughout the day, reading God’s wisdom…the Bible, as well as fellowship with other followers).
Some time ago at Grace and Grits (where we feed the hungry every week) a young man and I were talking about his relationship with Jesus. I asked him, “So, if you had one major question to ask about a relationship with Jesus, what would it be?” My friend answered, “I find it hard to talk to someone I can’t see. How should I pray?” We talked a little further and I gave him some advice then later that evening, my friend, Pastor Dave, brought some books to Grace and Grits to give away. The books were on the topic of “How to Pray”. I gave one to my young friend and told him with a big smile, “Here buddy. I guess God was listening to our conversation. He has an answer for ya!” My young friend was floored.
Recently my young friend and I talked again. He told me that as a young man, he has problems with controlling his tongue at times and with things that he says. He also told me that often after we talk that he does good for a while, but soon he catches himself regressing into doing things he doesn’t want to do. But he said he is trying real hard. I asked him if he has been spending that quiet time talking with God as we had talked about the week before. He said no. I told him that he was approaching his problem from the wrong end. FIRST, work on this relationship with God….daily, because there is a close correlation between his relationship and living in God’s will (which is what he told me he wants to do). THEN…..he might find that daily strength and refuge in times of struggle to resist the temptations that life offers that so hurt us. I think he understood.
I told him that if his mom (I don’t think she is a believer) calls me, telling me that he is standing outside in the morning talking to the sky….that I would tell her, “Don’t worry….it’s normal and he’s okay”, LOL
Update: While my young friend has left LifePoint to go to a different church that has more kids his age (at my prodding because I thought it was very important for him to around people his own age…..he comes to church alone and tends to hang around the grownups), he was recently baptized.
What does it mean to live in God’s will? It’s not always easy–but in the end–it’s always rewarding. My prayer is that as you deepen your relationship with God, indeed, with Jesus, that you will have eyes that “see” His answers in your life, that you will have ears that “hear” his voice and that you will know and understand the strength and love that comes from a relationship with our Father.
THE FIRST STEP to “Living in God’s Will” is recognizing the presence of God in your life. Do you ever feel like you’ve been “given” a Bible verse when you open the Bible or devotional reading of Scripture? Does it feel (do you recognize) that God is speaking precisely to decisions or issues you face and providing divine direction?
Have you had experiences that you just know in your heart were God ordained where you felt His Spirit moving in your life? If we look for God in our life, we will see Him working–we will see Him comforting us and yes sometimes disciplining us, loving us and teaching us! No matter what happens to us, nothing should ever cause us to give up on God. In fact, everything that happens to us should only draw us closer to God.
Do you notice the presence of God in your life? We can only recognize God’s will if we are looking for it. If we go to God daily and allow Him to be our refuge and our strength. If we confide in God–He will answer our hearts.
The Italian poet, Dante Alighieri, said, “In His will is our peace”. And how true that is. May you recognize the presence of your Holy Father in your life each and every day as you seek His will.
THE SECOND STEP to “Living in God’s Will” is making the best of bad situations. Have you ever noticed how God works in people’s lives in a mysterious way? I’ve found that God rarely answers my prayers in a direct way but rather He almost comes from behind in a way that is mysterious. God often uses the misfortune or bad in our lives for something good.
The BAD news was: I spent much all of my teenage life on the streets, doing drugs.
The GOOD news is: I understand people’s struggles and can relate to them offering hope to those who have traveled down that path. God used that experience in my life to strengthen and empower me.
The BAD news was: I was so scarred in life that I couldn’t hold down a job, I was on the brink of being homeless. After High School I lived in and out of hotels. I went in the Army and hated it, got out, and was addicted to drugs, most anything I could get in my body. I lived in Daytona Beach renting a room for $25 a week.
The GOOD news is: In this case, God showed me the path He wanted me to take. He showed me the Army, and yes, I wrestled again with God. But I listened. I went back in, made a career of it and retired in 1997 as a Sergeant First Class.
Yes, “Living in God’s Will” often means making the best of a bad situation. I like to say that the problems themselves in our life are not the point–it’s how we chose to handle those problems that IS the point.
What is your BAD news?
We CHOSE to allow it to continue to be bad or we can CHOSE to allow God to work in those situations. God can turn something bad into something good. How do we do that? We do that by going to God and allowing Him to be our refuge and our strength. By looking to God for answers rather than looking to ourselves for answers.
Deitrich Bonhoeffer, the great theologian and pastor once said, “Of course, not everything that happens is simply, ‘God’s will’, and yet in the last resort nothing happens WITHOUT or Father’s will’.
May you live in communion with God in times of trouble as well as in the good times. May you recognize that HIS answers aren’t always YOUR answers….but that they are the RIGHT answers. May you realize that ANYTHING that has happened in your past can be turned around into a good thing by allowing yourself to be used by God.