Ephesians 2:9-10 (NLT)
Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
The last few days I have struggled. Retracing my steps for the last couple of months, I have second guessed my decisions and direction concerning our son. I feel like you do when on a long car ride to a new destination. You are following the map. Everything seems to line up with the instructions but the farther you go and the longer it takes the more you look back wondering if you missed a turn somewhere. I have traveled back and forth from Tallahassee, Florida to Gainesville, Florida enough to think my Suburban has an autopilot feature now built in yet lost in thought or even prayer I have come to clarity looking around to be sure that I have not missed the turnpike leaving I-75 to head west on I-10. There are landmarks that I can easily identify that assure me I am still on course. However, there are more pine trees and long stretches of forest I must pass by first. In January, we had a plan and definite course of action. After several obstacles arose, we were faced with a different plan that would turn in to two distinct possibilities. In February, health issues arose with our son further complicating a well-thought out process now there are too many variables to list. Frustration mounts as it is not clear which direction that we will take. Exhaustion from a journey that has lasted almost three years further convolutes my thinking. Now as I begin to reassess our steps, it only adds to the chaos surrounding this situation. I want to know the Will of God. I want to walk in His Way. I want to see His Word come to pass. These seems like such simple goals. It is difficult to discern the Goodness of God in the wilderness of life. We must look back to the beginning to understand His Plan. It is impossible to take the facts of life and see His Complex Creation. Salvation is the beginning of reclaiming the life that God intended for us to have when He created us so long ago. It is a process of shedding the burdens of this life to allow Jesus Christ to renew and restore us. It takes time sometimes more than we are willing to commit. I want to know the Will of God today. Do you? Are you perplexed, confused or not understanding? Let’s do this together.
Genesis 1:1-4 (NLT)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness.
What does Creation have to do with all of this? It is where God’s Will for our lives began. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth then light and darkness. There would be a clear separation between good and evil established from the very start. He made sure that the darkness would not penetrate the light. He called the Light good. From the very beginning, God was making things good. God’s Will is always good. The word “will” means power of control the mind has over actions. God’s Intention from the very beginning was good! Will also means to choose one’s actions. God chose goodness. He asserted His Choice which is to do His Will. It was His Desire that created such a place to put His Beloved People. This is God’s Will, His Purpose and Determination.
Genesis 1:26-31 (NLT)
Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.
This picture of God makes me think of new parents who are planning the arrival of their first child. They create a place for the new baby in their home. Everything must be perfect when in fact all that you really need is a basket, blanket and mother’s milk to bring them home. But as parents that is not enough to satisfy us, so we build elaborate nurseries with overflowing diapers, bottles, toys and anything else we anticipate that they may need not just to survive but have a good life. We agonize over their name that will be their identity for life and dream of who they will grow up to be one day – doctors, lawyers and such. I believe this greatly resembles our Father in Heaven who painstakingly created the world with much thought and intentionally to bless His Children. We are created in His Image because we were born to be His Children. Once created, God immediately blessed humanity and gave them an inheritance. When He looked over all He had made, He concluded that it was very good. If we stop right here, lingering to look at Creation as God does we see the picture of His Love and Goodness to His Children. This is the Will of God in a nutshell. He created us in His Image. He had already provided everything we needed to be blessed and prosper. He gave us dominion over the earth and everything in it. We left the Will of God when we decided that there was more.
Deuteronomy 4:32-40 (NLT)
“Now search all of history, from the time God created people on the earth until now, and search from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything as great as this ever been seen or heard before? Has any nation ever heard the voice of God speaking from fire—as you did—and survived? Has any other god dared to take a nation for himself out of another nation by means of trials, miraculous signs, wonders, war, a strong hand, a powerful arm, and terrifying acts? Yet that is what the LORD your God did for you in Egypt, right before your eyes. “He showed you these things so you would know that the LORD is God and there is no other. He let you hear his voice from heaven so he could instruct you. He let you see his great fire here on earth so he could speak to you from it. Because he loved your ancestors, he chose to bless their descendants, and he personally brought you out of Egypt with a great display of power. He drove out nations far greater than you, so he could bring you in and give you their land as your special possession, as it is today. “So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The LORD is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other. If you obey all the decrees and commands I am giving you today, all will be well with you and your children. I am giving you these instructions so you will enjoy a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”
God has continuously tried to lead us back to His Will ever since we left Him. He is constantly trying to convince us of His Great Love and Grace concerning us. He does miracles in our midst and we miss it. He speaks to us but we do not listen. He is persistently trying to fulfill His Good Intentions in our life but we are not looking at Creation but our daily circumstances and situations for relief rather than restoration, renewal and resurrection power in our life. The Creative Power of God the Maker of Heaven and Earth is expressing His Unfailing Love for His Children but we are still after lesser things like rescue or a little relief rather than the fulfillment of the Will of God for His People. He is not asking you to obey Him to add further anguish to your life but release you from the heavy burden that sin has attached to you that keeps us from righteousness. Righteousness is just a fancy word for right-standing. Mankind was created to be virtuous. (Ecclesiastes 7:29) Virtuous is moral excellence and uprightness to which we said, “No thank you!” But that’s okay, because when we were created God knew exactly what would happen and provided His Way for us to return to right standing. Adam and Eve were created in the midst of lush provision and protection by God and commanded to be blessed. This is God’s Will for our life – we must only find the Way back to it.
Colossians 1:15-16 (NLT)
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.
The Will of God included Jesus Christ from the very beginning. Where do I see that? Well, in Genesis 1:2 indicates the Spirit of God hovering. The Spirit of God is Jesus Christ. He was there watching and waiting. In the beginning was the Word, the Word would become flesh and live among us. (John 1:1-5) Jesus is there again. He was there in the beginning and as the pages of time slowly turned He would come to the earth as a visible image of the Invisible God. Throughout the Old Testament, God repeated tried to convince His Rebellious Children that there was a better way with less sorrow and super provision but the people insisted on surviving rather than thriving declaring independence and freedom that was not the case at all as sin kept them from God’s Will for their life and the blessings that accompany such an existence. The prophets told of his coming. (Isaiah 42:1-4) Jesus came to allow us to experience God’s Unfailing Love and Goodness found in right standing. He did it all. Jesus offered us the Grace. Some say that “grace” is in fact God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. This was not a new concept created as a stop gap or excuse for humanity. It is the gateway to stepping back into the Will of God. Grace allows us to become righteous again. It is not something that we do but faith and belief in everything that God has done through Jesus Christ. God wants us to depend on Him because He is good and believe that He is always acting out of His Great Love for us enough to stick out until we know His Will and glorify Him in it. God’s Will for my life is to bring Him glory. (Isaiah 43:7) Glory is praise and thanksgiving born of a state of great splendor, magnificence and prosperity. If this is not indicative of the life that you are living today, then it is not time to give up but press in because God is doing more than we can think or ask and we just have to make it to where He is to have it. God does not receive glory in the struggle but when we make it through to victory! God’s Will for your life can be found in Jesus Christ. If you choose to cling to Jesus Christ, even if you lose what you thought was your whole world and gain only your soul – you will experience the Goodness of God and fulfillment of His Glory!
Romans 1:19-21 (NLT)
They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.
So back to my dilemma, have I missed God’s Will for my life or that of my son? Did I wait too long without acting? Did I make the wrong turn? The only way to answer this question is to know God more. Everyone struggles with this sometimes even strong Christians who strive to live righteous lives. Take John the Baptist for example, when imprisoned he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He really was the Messiah. Yes, the same man who baptized the Son of God when the skies opened and the Spirit of God descended and God audibly spoke, “This is My Son!” When we reach the edge of our faith, God’s Mercy supplements it. He gave us His Word, His Spirit and most of all His Grace for those times when our faith is insufficient and needs a boost. There will be days when the Light seems to turn a little gray as darkness looms to consume us. You ARE only human. But the Spirit of God lives in side of you and like a fire can be stirred up once again to chase away the darkness and make room for more Light. (2 Timothy 1:6) Read the Word. Talk to your Father. Worship Him. Praise His Name a little even when you don’t think there is a good reason. When you feel that warmth come over you and peace begins to clear the cluttered, chaos of your mind – know that His Spirit is chasing away the darkness. He lives in you whether you choose to acknowledge His Presence or not and Jesus will come when you call Him. You cannot miss the Will of God because that would mean that God didn’t know you at all. But the fact is that He knows every single thing about you good and bad making provision for the times you fall short or allow doubt to cloud the Truth. His Grace is sufficient for you because it was also created with you in mind. This is not some random acts of events that comprise your life. You may be shocked by what is going on but God is not. In fact, He is busy working every detail out for your good! (Romans 8:28)
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT)
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
God did not send Jesus Christ to die for you so that you would call on Him and He would trick, tease, torment, tempt or even test you. God has a plan for you that is good. It is to give you a future with hope. He wants you to call on Him so that His Goodness and Unfailing Love can overtake you. He would not call you if He could not be found by you. (Isaiah 45:18-19) But to have the Will of God requires a wholehearted effort. Compromise and substitutions are intolerable. Some things that you should know about His Will and Plan for you are this: 1) His Promises and Blessings are too numerous to list (Psalm 40:5); 2) His Will is always about justice (Psalm75:2-3); 3) His Plan is beautiful in its own time so be prepared to wait (Ecclesiastes 3:11); 4) God’s Plan is so wise that it is often beyond anything humans can comprehend so stop overthinking it (I Corinthians 1:25); 5) God does not improvise and is set in His Ways (I Corinthians 2:7); 6) God has planned our life for His Good Pleasure revealed from the beginning so He is not out to get you (Ephesians 1:9); 7) His Will for life is constant and consistent as it was from our creation so you can’t do anything to mess it up (2 Timothy 1:9); and finally 8) God is working both sides so we have a definite advantage (Revelation 17:17). God’s Will for your life is that you will totally depend on Him as He makes good on every promise and blessing that He is determined to give you. Eternal life comes through salvation that connects us to God’s Kingdom once again. We don’t just slide by but Jesus puts us back in the place of honor that God predetermined that we should have called righteousness. (Hebrews 4:1-3) By faith, confident hope is our anchor that keeps us in His Presence even when the natural circumstances of life are crippling, time seems to be stalling, and nothing makes sense anymore. Faith must be the belief that God is Good and His Will concerning us is born of such character. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, tonight or ten minutes from now. What I do know is that God is Good so therefore I can be confident and committed to His Will no matter what happens.
James 1:16-18 (NLT)
So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.