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  • Denise Kohlmeyer


"What is God's will for my life?" Ever heard that asked? Maybe you've even asked it yourself.

It's an age-old question that's been put forth by millions of Christ-followers down through the millennia. When this question is asked, what people really want to know is: What does God want me to do with my life? What is His plan for me? Or, more specifically: Where should I go to college? What should I study? Which job should I take? Where should I live? What kind of car should I drive? Should I get married or stay single? Whom should I marry? How many children should I have?

These are what we typically call "gray areas" in which God gives us great amounts of grace and freedom to choose (within biblical parameters, of course). God's will [theléma, "wishes, desire"] is really about our character and our conduct as committed Christ-followers.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 - "It is God's will that you should be sanctified; that you should avoid sexual immorality."

1 Thessalonians 5:18 - "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

1 Peter 2:15 - "For it is God's will that by doing good, you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people."

Other verses imply His will through His commands:

Matthew 22:37-39 - "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself"

Matthew 5:44 - "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"

Luke 9:23 - "'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me'"

Ephesians 425-32 - "...put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his angry and do not sin...let the thief no longer steal...lot no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear...let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

Romans 12:1-3 - "...present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

Ephesians 5:14-20 - "Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Micah 6:8 - "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Matthew 6:33 - "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [clothing, food, shelter] will be added to you."

Taking all these verses into account, here is what God's desire and wishes are for us:

• To love Him first and foremost with our whole being;

• To love our neighbors;

• To love our enemies;

• To pray for those who persecute us;

• To give thanks in all circumstances and for everything;

• To live wisely and not foolishly in these evil days;

• To maintain purity and abstain from sexual immorality;

• To be filled with the Spirit and not with alcohol;

• To speak kindly, graciously and encouragingly to one another;

• To do good so as to silence the foolish;

• To act justly;

• To love mercy;

• To walk humbly;

• To be sanctified;

• To speak loving truth to one another;

• To put away sinful habits such as lying, anger, stealing, bitterness, wrath, clamor, slander, malice;

• To be kind and tenderhearted towards others;

• To forgive, as God has forgiven us;

• To avoid conformity to this world and its ungodly influences;

• To be transformed, first in our minds, then in our behavior;

• To deny ourselves, taking up our "cross" daily (metaphoric for dying to self by way of Christ's example of taking up His cross to go to Calvary to die);

• To follow Jesus and His example of loving others, humility, compassion, serving, and, yes, dying;

• To seek first God's kingdom agenda (the salvation of souls) and His righteousness (dikaios, "being just in the eyes of God; properly, approved by God").

Yes, God's will is more about our character and our conduct. About our righteousness and holiness. About our conformity to Jesus Christ, above all else.

If we're living these out, pursuing them as best as we can and with the help of the Holy Spirit, then all else — all those gray areas — will fall into place accordingly. In fact, how we live and walk out our Christlikeness will actually influence and impact our lifestyle choices in the end.

So, perhaps the question we should really be asking is not so much "God, what's your will for my life?" since we already know what it is from the above verses, but rather "God, how can I live out your will today?"

Be blessed.

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