James 4:13-17: “13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
Planning without God’s Will, Don’t Ignore It!
Whether we believe it or not, God is sovereign, and our lives are in His hands. If we believe this, the phrase “if it is the Lord’s will” demonstrates total dependence upon God.
I often get asked how people can know God’s will for their life? I refer them to the place where God’s will is most clearly revealed: The Bible. Start with what you know you ought to do: Love God, love others, make disciples, take care of widows and orphans, and steward the resources God’s given you.
Taking a class or workshop to determine how God has uniquely designed you will help you get a clearer picture of your specific calling and vocation. We have SHAPE at Freedom Church that looks at Spiritual Gifts, Heart Passions, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences. As God opens the next steps, do that!
The Bible contains precepts, principles, and promises that will guide us in all areas of life. It may not tell you the exact city to go to, the person to marry, how many kids to have, etc., but as you walk with Him, talk with Him, you will gain wisdom and clarity.
From the Mount of Olives in Luke 22:42, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” In this prayer, Jesus was displaying perfect submission to the will of God. Like Christ, we are to know, understand, prove (through experience), and do God’s will from the heart. I encourage you to read through the book of Luke and see how many times Jesus took action after praying. He does so before every significant decision in His life.
There are many benefits to doing God’s will. First, you experience a deeper fellowship with Jesus. Second, you get the privilege of knowing God’s truth because you’ll be spending more time in the Word of God. Third, you will begin to see more and more prayers answered because your prayers will line up with the will of God. Finally, you can have hope and eagerly anticipate future rewards.
Allow God to change your mindset to “If the Lord wills…” This isn’t something you tack on to the end of your prayers or write at the bottom of your calendar. It is something you allow to be ingrained into your way of thinking so that you are continually asking God what you should or shouldn’t do. Don’t move forward without the peace of God.
Psalm 33:11-“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”
1 John 2:17-“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
Romans 12:2-“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.”
Only the fool ignores the will of God. Verse 16 says our plans that are devoid of God’s will are arrogant schemes and evil. Pretty blunt language.
Some questions to consider:
-How can you better discern God’s will for your life?
-What plans do you need to push pause on until you spend more time in prayer and in the Word?
-Is there a mentor in your life that can help point you to the will of God as revealed in Scripture?