“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Satan, rubbing his hands together, speaks, “If I can just keep them confused about God’s will, their lives will be ruined. If they’ll just believe my lies about what He wants for them, their relationships will fall apart! They’ll constantly question their choice of job, spouse, where they live, their salvation, and they’ll be anxious all the time! They’ll never have peace with the decisions they’ve made if I can befuddle them about the will of God!”
The author of confusion–Lucifer–has the most to say about God’s will, and many have believed him. Thankfully, God’s will is simple. It’s Jesus. It’s the Spirit of Jesus in you and through you. How elementary. How not confusing.
Paul Ellis, author and friend of mine, wrote this:
“Not everything that happens is God’s will. If everything that happens is God’s will, then it’s God’s will for me to tell you that not everything is God’s will.”
Does that make sense? Do you see what he did there? He simplified something Satan and religious people have made overbearingly difficult. Dark forces and the uber-sanctimonious have caused many to live in a perpetual state of paralysis of analysis. Some can’t even go to the grocery store without obsessing about God’s will for each individual purchase. I’m serious. This is a real thing.
With all due respect, for these squirrels caught in the middle of the road, when a big decision appears, they instantly turn to stone. Unable to decide, “Do I go left, or right?!” all because they can’t “hear” from God. As a result, they freeze and don’t know what to do.
“I’ve made too many mistakes in the past by not listening to God’s will for me! I’m not doing that again!”
“SPEAK TO ME GOD! WHY ARE YOU SILENT?! SPEEEEEEAK!”
“Everything is screwed up because I had so much sin in my life I couldn’t hear from God! The pastor told me so!”
“It’s my fault I’m at where I’m at! I ignored God’s will, therefore I missed my calling!”
I’ve been building up to write this devotional for about a year and a half now. With six published books and having a social media “memistry,” I get asked quite often, “Do you have anything on the will of God?”
I didn’t want to rush in regard to this topic, so I’ve stayed mostly vague. Although in my spirit I knew the truth, I never felt like I had enough information to be thorough. That is, in using my gifts to attempt to explain such a thing.
What most people don’t know is, after each devotional I write, I’ll post it on social media before I put it in a book. I pay close attention to the feedback, then I’ll edit it by adding in concerns and questions I may have missed. I doubt I’ll have missed many, if any at all, for this devotional. I have too much info on this topic at this point.
In October of 2018, I began stockpiling primary questions, comments, quotes, memes, private messages, Bible passages, and blatant lies about God’s will. In front of me, I now have a nice, neat, stack of notes. If you could see this small mountain of short writings, emails to myself, and cut-out memes sitting here on my ottoman, you’d understand that this subject could become a short book. Why?
Because God’s desires for us is immensely important to us.
There’s not enough time to write all this out. Rather, I’ve come up with the top ten lies, in no particular order, based on my copious amount of research. I truly hope this list gives you confidence and peace in knowing the simplicity of God’s will for you. Enjoy.
- “God’s will is that you not have grief.” This lie is directed toward those who are grieving “too long.” As these dear people suffer with severe grief–such as the death of a loved one, loss of a job or marriage–insensitive individuals attempt to push them past their supposed stop-clock of mourning. As if God wants them to, “Hurry up and not be sad!” No! That’s a lie. Bottling up feelings will only cause worse things to happen. The truth is, grief is a feeling and God gave us the ability to feel for a reason. There’s no time limit in Scripture to be quick to feel things, or slow. Feelings allow us to express what’s going on in our soul. There’s not a single passage in the Bible which commands us to not feel something or to feel something. We’re allowed to feel what we feel as long as we feel it. God never pressures us to change our feelings, especially grief. Instead, He comforts us in the hallows of our deep pain. Never does He say, “Don’t grieve so much!” or “Get with it! Stop mourning already! Where is your faith?!” Alternatively, He gently expresses to our spirit, “My sweet child, take as much time as you need. I’m with you in this. You’re never alone.” (See Revelation 21:4, Psalm 34:18, Matthew 5:4, Hebrews 13:5).
- “I’ve dropped out of God’s will because of a huge sin from my past.” If I were putting these in order this would be number one. This lie, sold by the devout, is why countless people give up on going deeper into their relationship with Jesus. Numerous messages I’ve received prove many Christians believe they’ve blown it. Due to a pretentious person deceiving them, “Look at your lifestyle! You’ve lived like hell and you called yourself a Christian! You’ve not repented well enough!” many children of God accept this falsity as gospel. Here’s what the behavior-police have convinced them of: “There are many different levels of sinning! Big sins will drop you out of God’s will! It’s too late for you!” The reality is, there are not different levels of sinning on this side of the Cross. Sadly, those who don’t understand what Jesus completed by His death and resurrection will dip back into the Old Covenant and use Proverbs 6:16-19 to cherry-pick “the worst” sins. “THESE ARE ABOMINATIONS! THIS IS WHAT GOD HATES!” However, the truth is, God hates every sin and every sin deserves death–not just these few. And, we live on this side of the Cross which means everything which is not of faith is sin. From gossiping, to gluttony, to murdering 50 people, every sin requires death. Not repenting, but death. Sin does not require the silent treatment from God about His will for your life. It requires death. Jesus died. If we get our calculators out and do the math, His single death paid off all our sins once for all our life. How? Because He’s not bound by time. No sin could ever keep us out of God’s will, which is Christ, He’s hidden us inside of Himself. (See 2 Peter 3:8, Romans 1:29-31, 6:23, 14:23, Hebrews 1:3, 10:10-14, Colossians 3:3).
- “If it’s God’s will, it will happen. We don’t need to do anything except wait on Him.” I once heard a story about a man drowning in the ocean. “Help me, God! Help me! I’m going to die! I can’t swim, Lord!” he shouted. Soon enough a boat comes by, “Here, take this lifesaver!” the deckhand yells. “Grab it and I’ll pull you in!” Strangely, the man replies, “No! I’m waiting on God!” So the boat faded off into the distance. Three minutes later another ship offers support. With only his chin above water, the man squeaks, “God’s got me! Go on!” As soon as it sails away he goes under, drowns, and dies. Immediately appearing in heaven, he asks God, “Why didn’t you save me?” God grins, chuckles, then retorts, “I sent you two boats, silly. You should’ve taken their help.” Friend, we are not puppets, we are people. God doesn’t want anyone to perish, but we must believe in the one whom He has sent, Jesus. And when He clearly offers us help through others, we should accept it. Don’t sit still and drown, reach out and receive their gift of help. (See 2 Peter 3:9, John 3:16, Galatians 6:7-10).
- “If I read my Bible, do devotions, and go to church, then I’ll unlock God’s will for my life.” If this were true, what would happen if you could no longer read–or you never could read? What if you no longer had the time to do devotions? What if you’re not the type of person who wants to sit still and read because it’s not in your personality? What if you weren’t physically able to go to a church building, or you live in a country where it’s not allowed, or your right to go to church is taken away? Friend, you’d worry about God’s will, that’s what would happen. Worry is not from God. Do you see how these things do not cause God’s will nor maintain it? Sure, such can be wonderful in helping us mature, as long as Christ is the focus, but God’s will is never unlocked through anything we do or don’t do. (See Luke 12:25, Matthew 11:28-30, Galatians 5:1).
- “Prayer is not forcing God to do your will but preparing you to do His will.” Jesus prayed, “Not my will, but your will be done,” before He was betrayed. However, He was praying from the view of His humanity. He is God, but at the same time He knew the physical pain He was about to endure to pay off our sins. Clearly, His will is the same as the Father and the Spirit’s–they are one. So when someone uses this verse in an attempt to make us believe our will is not the same as God’s will until we pray and He changes it? That’s off base for Christians. We are not pitted against God in lieu of prayer. That’s worse than having an accountability partner; we would avoid praying like we avoid them. Yes, through prayer the Spirit reveals things, sometimes instantly, sometimes later. He gently reminds us about making wise, righteous decisions; common sense surfaces in our thoughts. Through inspiration and motivation He’ll direct us toward advocates, mature friends, counselors, and Christian family members to consult with in our times of trouble. As we pray, every so often obvious writing-on-the-wall which matches up to both your will and God’s, transpires. We know. We aren’t being prepared to do anything different from what God wants, nor what we truly want. (See Luke 22:42, John 14:26, Galatians 5:22,23, 1 Corinthians 2:16, 13:4-8).
- “We can frustrate the will of God.” If this were true, God would not be God. It’s impossible to frustrate the Omniscient One. Everything God was frustrated about was put on Christ at the Cross. Take a glance at the Old Testament and you’ll see how furiously frustrated He was. To be clear, sure, we can frustrate religious people and demons who put pressure on us, but not God. THE CROSS WAS A HUGE SUCCESS. BLAME JESUS, NOT ME. So now, God works in us and through us, never frustrated but encouraging and loving, even while correcting us. (See Luke 1:37, Romans 5:1,9).
- “If you didn’t fully give your will to God, you’re not really saved.” This is wrong because our will doesn’t keep us saved, our new heart does. Christ staying alive allows us to have our new heart. At salvation, through an act of our will once, we fully gave God our wicked heart. I REPEAT, FULLY. He then fully gave us back a new heart which is forever protected by the life of Christ. A legalist who wants to define fully by their own works will shout, “No way, Matt! I’ve seen people in church for fifteen years who walked away from God because their full will wasn’t ever really involved, and it didn’t stay involved!” The truth is, if they were ever saved during those fifteen years, once, what fully happened is they walked away from people teaching this trash, not God. I’m happy for them. (See Ezekiel 36:26, Colossians 3:4, Romans 6:17, Hebrews 7:23-25).
- “God’s will is like a dartboard with a bullseye. If you try hard enough, you can hit the center, but if not, you’ll never get the best from His will.” Wow. Just typing that sentence, memories of religious abuse gets stirred up in my soul. Many who don’t understand Jesus have split God’s will up into sections and placed the emphasis on us to throw “our dart.” Demonic forces have labeled this permissive will and perfect will. Friend, there is no dartboard. There was a Cross. God permitted this flawless sacrifice for us. Jesus hung on the bullseye, the center of it, and we benefit perfectly from God’s will by placing our faith in Him, once.
- “God’s will is that you suffer! So suck it up and carry your cross!” What we’ve believed about this lie has caused more physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse than we can possibly calculate. Wolves in sheep’s clothing love this lie because it allows them to control you. I agree, 1 Peter 3:17 says, “For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” But many have twisted this into, “It’s God’s will that you suffer!” No flipping way. Peter’s point is, “Behave, and if you suffer while behaving, you are doing God’s will.” Remember, it was God’s will that Christ suffer, not you. Just read around Peter’s statement for context. The church was being persecuted and Pete was saying, “Keep doing good things! God is with you!” As for carrying our cross? Jesus said this to the disciples informing them of what they couldn’t do and what only He could do. He was exposing their need for His sacrifice at His Cross–not their own. On this side of Calvary we have been crucified with Him! This happened! WE’VE COME BACK FROM THE DEAD! We are not on that Cross with Him any longer! That was Friday! WE CAME OUT OF THE TOMB! We are not repeatedly dying! We live forever! When Paul said, “I die daily,” he was talking about the physical dangers he faced as he traveled–not himself! There’s no more cross to bear! We are alive! We are not called to suffer but to fully live an abundant life in Christ! (See Isaiah 53:10, Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:3-11, Colossians 3:1-4, 1 Corinthians 15:30-32, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, John 10:10).
- “You can easily get outside of God’s will by making bad decisions, and if you do, you better repent quickly!” This is the type of lie which causes people to hate Christians because it creates stress and fear in others. It’s almost the same as number two on this list, but this lie is a repeated dropping out of God’s will. It causes a person to stay in a ceaseless state of panic, even over their thoughts. Then, to get back into God’s will they must act fast! They gotta do something or see someone or go to a geographical location. They think they’re failures yet they aren’t. They’re safe in God’s will forever no matter what choices they make for the rest of their lives. The truth is, every decision–good, bad, or indifferent–has no bearing on God’s will staying intact. Who do we think we are? How can we override the Creator of the universe and His great love for us in Christ? “What should I do God? I’ll wait for a sign! I’ll wait for confirmation so that my next decision is yours!” No, friend, don’t do that. Rest instead. We simply need rest and live. We simply need to be. We simply need to trust as a baby, jumping off the edge of a pool, directly into their smiling father’s arms. God is a good Father and He allows us to decide where we live, who to be involved with romantically, what job to take, how many kids to have, what car to buy, whether to have a ministry or not–whatever, all of it. During each stage of our life we choose what to do and He goes with us. He’s never disappointed and never leaves. Disappointments, to Him, are called sins. Jesus has removed those already, so don’t worry. He’s looked down the timeline of your life and decided to forgive you of everything. It’s never too late to enjoy Him in whatever you’ve decided to do with your life. With anything, with everything, and with everyone, we’re always in His will, Christian. We’re always in Jesus.
So today, my friends, know this: God’s will is that we give thanks in all things; not thanking Him for the bad things, but thanks for Him being with us during the bad things. God’s will is to rescue us, that none perish, and all come to understand the knowledge of His Son. God’s will is not that we surrender, but to be reborn. We are never commanded to surrender in Scripture, but to be reborn into His family by grace through faith. God’s will is to give us wisdom and to have our minds renewed to the truth of Christ in us, guiding us. God’s will is that we mature and grow into who we truly are. God’s will isn’t always easy, according to our old methods of coping, but it’s always perfect, according to our new identity. God’s will is to work in us and through us, to fulfill His good purposes. God’s will is both the Jew and the Gentile join Him as the New Creation. God’s will is that we express Him and bear much fruit. God’s will is to give us glory, the same glory He had before Adam and Eve were created. God’s will is Christ in us and us in Him–oneness. God’s will is for us to be protected by the promise between the Father and Son, made at the Cross.
All these things can be found in Jesus. Therefore, God’s will is Jesus.
(See 1 Thessalonians 5:18, 2 Peter 3:9, Ephesians 1:7, Romans 9-11, 12:2, Philippians 2:13, Galatians 3:28, 6:15, John 14:20, 15:8, 17:22,23, 19:30, Colossians 1:26,27, 1 Corinthians 6:17-19, Hebrews 6:16-19)
A prayer for you: Dad, thank you for letting me call you Dad. Your will is to allow me to do this. Romans 8 tells me I can call you Abba, which means Daddy. Daddy means Dad. This was your exact will for me, to be your son. Your will is my will, I can never step out of this, on purpose nor accidentally. Thank you for making me righteous like you and guiding my righteous plans. Proverbs 12:5 tells me whatever I decide to do, I’m still righteous. I know I still make unrighteous choices sometimes, but you’re still with me, working all things out for good! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Many of these dear readers are confused and scared about your will. Anxiety riddles their lives about what decisions to make and when. Give them a sense of peace today. Remind them that angst isn’t coming from you. Your divine will is clear. It’s Christ in them, and if they have Him, they’re enjoying your will at all times. They have NOT missed the boat. If they want to move to another city, or country, they are free! If they want to stay put–THEY ARE FREE! Let them also know your will is that we are healed SPIRITUALLY through Christ. Yes, you perform miracles, but those are rare for a reason. This planet is not where we belong permanently. Assure them, Father, that you never leave them. Ever. If they’re prostituting on the street, binge drinking in a bar, or shooting up heroin in their bedroom, your will is to be with them–and you are. If they’re struggling as a legalistic pastor, a depressed missionary, or abused housewife commanded to constantly submit, your will is to be with them–and you are. Rich or poor, in sickness or good health, your will is contentment in all things. Your will is your grace being sufficient. Your will is to let us decide, and to be with us, through Jesus. We are grateful. In His holy name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from my upcoming book, The Christian Identity, Volume 3. Check out my other bestselling books here!