By Skip Heitzig
When we think of God's will for our lives, a lot of us get hung up on stuff like: "Who should I marry? What job should I have? What car or house should I buy?" God is concerned with all those things, but He is more concerned with a whole different issue. The real issue with God is personal conduct more than a personal roadmap. In the New Testament alone, there are three passages where the will of God for our life is spelled out. Let’s call these foundational issues “biblical imperatives.”
Number one, God’s will for us is holiness. In 1 Thessalonians 4:3 Paul says, "This is the will of God, your sanctification.” You could express that, "This is what God wants for you. Live a holy life." And then he speaks specifically of abstaining from sexual immorality. It's strange to me that those who are sexually involved will often spend their time wondering about what God's will is for their career or where they should move, when they haven't even started here.
Number two, God’s will for us is thankfulness. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). In the Greek language this is in the present imperative: "Keep on being joyful, keep on being prayerful, keep on being thankful." I personally know some (and you probably do too) who have made complaining into an art form, but it is never God's will for Christians to be prayerless grumblers who complain their way through life.
Number three, God’s will for us is submissiveness. "For the Lord's sake submit yourselves to every human authority: whether to the king as supreme, or governors who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing right you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people" (1 Peter 2:13-15, ISV). What's interesting is that when Peter says to be submissive to authority, he doesn't differentiate between a good government and a bad one. When he wrote this, the exceedingly wicked Caesar Nero was in charge.
So, should Christians ever fudge on expense reports or cheat on income taxes—or, to get even more personal, should they speed so they get to church on time? No! These biblical imperatives are a good place to start to discern the will of God for our lives. And it's foolish for us to seek God's will for our career, our education, etc., when we ignore these basic things.
As your mind is permeated with biblical principles, the will of God will be second nature to you. You will just walk in it daily!
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