Friday, June 14, 2013

One sentence sums up God's plan for your life

We can spend a lot of time and mental energy wondering if we're on the right path, wondering what God's 'will for our life' is, and whether we're in it. But I feel like God's will for us is less an exact series of precise decisions that we can potentially stuff up at any minute, and more a way of living our lives aligned with His heart. The specifics are less important than we often think. So if you're wondering what exactly is God's will for my life? One sentence sums it up...

God's will for you is to reach spiritual maturity.

Maybe that sounds too simple. But think about it. If you are spiritually mature, you:

know God's heart more
have the fruit of the spirit abundantly in any circumstance
love like He does
understand His words
see His kingdom more clearly
become more like Christ

All of this makes it much easier to be led by the Spirit, wherever you are, whatever you are doing.

It's like knowing a friend or your husband really, really well. My husband doesn't have to be there for me to know what he will like or dislike or find funny or annoying about a situation. It's a bit like this with God. The more we know Him, the more we are aligned with His heart and will.

Whatever decisions or circumstances we encounter, this is something to keep in mind. If we see everything as an opportunity to grow in maturity, to grow closer to God, how would that change our mindset? How would that change how we respond?

Eph 4:14-15 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

We sometimes believe that God's will is unknowable, that we can't comprehend it, that we just have to blindly step out and cross our fingers and hope. But while God may not reveal to us the precise details and step by step layout of our lives, minute by minute, or even year by year, I don't think it is right that we can't know His will.

It's like saying of a friend, "We are good friends, but I'll never really 'get' him, I'll never really know what he likes or wants or will do." That's not how it happens. The more we know someone, the more we understand them.

It's the glorious grace of God that He is so beyond us, and yet, we can know Him. We are not servants, in the sense of acting out of obligation. Jesus calls us friends.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

Jesus has made known to us everything that the Father told him. By growing in spiritual maturity, we discover more of that revelation, and we understand more of it. We are changed and renewed by the Spirit to understand who God is and what His perfect will is.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

And we get beyond the simple mindset of wanting to know God's will, as in every little specific decision just for ourselves, in a little anxious bubble, and instead we more easily move in the flow and peace of the Spirit, in harmony with God's big picture for His church as a whole.

If God's will for us is that we grow in spiritual maturity, we can be sure that in every circumstance, bad and good, we have the opportunity for this to happen, and God will provide you with everything you need to grow and not be crushed. Let this change your thinking when faced with challenges.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

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