The Will of God

free will

(Another unorganized post…)

What is God’s will for you? It is for you to decide! God gave us a free will so that we would not be robots and it would be possible for us to love. He does not desire for us to use our free will to ask him about every decision we make and then do what God says (because he doesn’t always tell us what to do). That is called choosing to be a robot. It is choosing to be what God did not design you to be. We have a relationship with God. Of course we should communicate with God about all things in life. He loves to give us input because he is very wise and happens to know all things. We create a problem for ourselves when we assume that God has a will for every little thing we do in life. Having someone make all your choices for you is called immaturity. This is why we renew our mind and gain an accurate understanding of God’s heart, because we are then able to make decisions that are aligned with his heart.

God’s will is that you will.

Matt Spinks explains that following God’s will is like floating down a river on a raft. You have to try to get out of his will. It’s effortless.

“Forget about trying to find His plan for your life – your life is His plan! Neither your location nor your timing matters – He has dawned His eternal day. You are His moment; you are His location! “…worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there … It’s who you are…” (John 4:21:23 MSG).”

God doesn’t always have a will for us (2 Samuel 7, Acts 5, Romans 14). He didn’t give us freedom so that we would use it to ask him what to do for everything. That defeats the purpose

“The “will of God” is not like a funnel, desiring to control your every move with precision. It is like Revealing to you that there were more options than you could imagine and empowering you to freely choose.”

“God willing we will…” Well, we could do it or make it happen outside of God’s will too. You can’t say this and then when it comes about conclude it was God’s will.
James 4:15 – James was giving an arrogant people who thought they were self-sufficient a humbler way of speech, not giving a way to talk for all people.

“Not my will but yours…” Luke 22:42 – This is really an interaction of two natures, not Jesus not knowing what his Father’s will was (which is the way it is used today lol)

Asking God what to do in every situation is called control (and he doesn’t want it). Never talking about decisions with God is called independence (and it’s an illusion). Conversing with God about things that matter to his heart is called relationship (and it’s lots of fun).

“If it’s your will, then…” – This basically shows that the person saying this doesn’t know Jesus. Rather, the person only knows about him. To such people Jesus said, “depart from me; I never knew you.”

What would this sound like in human relationships?
Say a man feels like eating Mexican food on a certain night, so he decides to bring the matter before his wife: “Honey, if it’s your will, then let us eat Mexican tonight.” And then he walks away. He’s thinking, “I did my part. Whatever happens will happen, and the will of my wife will be revealed through what she does.” – This is a monologue. It is weird. What would a normal person do in this situation? He would ask her a question! “Would you like to eat Mexican tonight?” “What would you like to eat tonight?” Just because he doesn’t know what his wife is thinking at this moment doesn’t mean that he despairs of finding out her thoughts until she takes some action while he passively does nothing. He interacts and relates with her.

Yes! It’s okay to ask God questions. And he loves it when you do. He desires to answer you. He’ll answer in his own way that we may not be used to (just look at how Jesus answered people’s questions all throughout Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), but he will. “How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.”

Not saying we completely know God’s every thought at all times, but we share in it; we have the mind of Christ

Paul prayed in Colossians 1:9 that they would be filled with the knowledge of the will of God, so obviously it’s possible and not only that but also desirable.

Ephesians 1:9, 5:18
Matt 26:39; James 4:13-16; Rom 12:2; I no longer call you servants but friends, because you know my business. Praying in Jesus’ name is according to his will
God’s ways were higher than ours until Jesus raised us up to heavenly places (Kris Vallotton)

“Love God and do whatever” – St. Augustine

Casting lots in Acts was the last time from then on that that method was used to determine God’s will; everything was revealed by Holy Spirit from then on.

“The will of God” isn’t something that is but something you do.

God still works in the same “mysterious ways” that he always has. But they are not so mysterious anymore; we have the mind of Christ.
Isaiah 55:8-9, 2 Corinthians 2? (and the OT Scripture it quotes)

*****

Also see:

http://frankviola.org/rethinkingthewill.pdf

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Choosing Your Feelings

Self_Control

In my previous post I discussed how God does not desire to control us but rather has empowered us with self-control. In this post I will expound on this idea.

I believe that people, as creatures created in God’s likeness, are genuinely free. We can make decisions and act on them with ourselves being the only cause (i.e. God is not making us do things). The basis of our humanity is that we are free to will and can therefore love.

Though the Holy Spirit inhabits your humanity as God, representing in His person both the Father and the Son of God, He will never violate the sovereignty of your will, nor deprive you of the moral responsibility to choose…That is why your free “yes” to God, at any given moment, fills His heart with greater joy than all the thrilling wonders of a million universes, throwing out into the vastness of outer space by the word of His power. They have no capacity to love him – because they have no capacity to choose Him! – Ian Thomas

This doesn’t mean God can’t influence our decisions. And he does influence us with his love. But influence does not equal coercion. Whether it’s God or physical factors influencing us, we are not controlled by them. We are united with himWe are his co-laborers. We live and make decisions together.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because of misunderstandings this idea produces and has made people (including myself) relate with God in negative ways.

A classic example of this is asking God to remove your pride, purify your heart, help you resist temptation, kill your flesh, or die to yourself (all of which he has already done, by the way). When people ask God to do these things, they are essentially asking God to control them. They are asking him to make a decision that they are capable of making themselves. “Make me act good, God!”

One reason people stay in this mentality is because they have been taught that they have a sinful nature. You don’t. You now partake of God’s own divine nature, completely free from sin. Sin doesn’t interest you anymore, but righteousness looks like a lot of fun! And it is :]

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). Holy Spirit does the producing, and we get to do the eating. It is possible for us to choose to not eat it, however, and refuse to acknowledge our privilege of freedom. But God isn’t going to take up that responsibility; we have been given a spirit of self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).

Don’t ask God to do what he’s empowered you to do. 

You can do everything through Christ. God didn’t want you to be helpless and unable to do anything. That’s the state you were in before coming into a relationship with Jesus. Not anymore.

Self-control is usually used in the sense of controlling yourself to avoid sin. But the opposite is more important, because sin-avoidance naturally follows it. Self-control is more about choosing to be conscious of Jesus, what he has done, and who you are in him than it is about restraining yourself from being naughty.

Last week I was talking with Jesus about stress. He said, “Stress is a choice, Ty. You can choose to live a stress-free life.” Oh my God! That’s really good news!

Of course, stressful things will happen in life, and that can’t be avoided. But we don’t have to be a victim of our circumstances. When something stressful happens, we can choose to set our minds on what is stressful, or we can remember the greater reality that we are in Daddy’s arms. The choice will make the difference between feeling stress and feeling joy. Easy choice.

And this is not only true of stress, but any and every other kind of negativity: depression, sadness, lonliness, worry, anger, frustration, irritation, pessimism, anxiety, etc. You can control yourself by choice to experience the thoughts and emotions of God. Never stop hanging out with him.

This should not cause you to worry or feel like its all up to you to make everything work out. All I am trying to communicate is that God respects the freedom that he gave you and is not interested in directing your every move, and also that you have been equipped with everything you need to continually experience the fruits of Holy Spirit.

All of this must be seen in the context of Christ’s work. Don’t make an idol out of your will. Don’t rely on your willpower but on his. “For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

Our job is to rest in Christ as he does the work.

*****

Also see:

http://www.iamaspirit.org/archives/1724

A Militant God? – If You’re Owned, You’re “Pwned”

russian-troops-surrender

What does a wrestler do when he’s placed in a painful and inescapable position?

What does an army do when it is completely surrounded and outnumbered?

And what do you do when God tells you that he’s madly in love you?

Surrender.

Surrender?

Well, that’s what a lot of believers say. Kind of strange, no? Think about it.

Has anyone ever responded with an “I surrender” when you told them that you love them? If someone did that to me, I would think that that person is thinking that I want to control them or something. lol.

Surrender communicates fear. At least the way it is normally used does. Wrestlers surrender to escape pain. Armies surrender to they don’t get slaughtered.

And it does so even when Christians use it. It makes it sound like God’s ultimate goal is obedience, and if he’s not obeyed that there will be punishment. In other words, he wants control over you, and he will use fear to get it.

But God’s not like that. At all.

First, obedience has its place. But God desires his children to move beyond merely being obedient slaves to being friends who know his heart. Jesus communicated this to his disciples the night before he was crucified (John 15:15).

Second, Jesus took care of any and every need for us to fear or be punished on the cross (1 John 4:18).

Third, God is not a cosmic control freak. That’s why he created us free, even to the point of allowing us to reject him if we so choose. There can be no love without the freedom to choose whether to love.

God is not militant; he is benevolent.

He’s not trying to get you to surrender to his every bidding. He simply wants you to know the depths of his love for you, and he knows the rest will naturally follow out of knowing that love.

Surrender is a poor word to describe our relationship with Christ. It expresses a sense of being obedient although, really, we don’t want to. There’s a word for “following Jesus” only out of a fear of damnation: religion. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), but it is not the end of it. You can only truly get to know Jesus by love. We fear him as a foundation to fall back on when all else fails, but ultimately we are not able to live a fruitful life or have a healthy relationship without love being our motivating factor.

If you think that doing what God tells you to do is no fun, I have some good news to share with you: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

Let me switch to a related topic.

Have you ever told God, ”I give you everything. I give you all of me”?

If you haven’t, you’re probably not a disciple of Jesus (not that you have to say those exact words, but the idea within it).

If you have, have you told him that more than once? If so, I question why you are re-giving him everything. Did you take it back from him after you gave it? I encourage you to not do that. It’s just not a very nice thing to do.

Instead, recognize that you already belong to God (1 Corinthians 3:23), you were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20), and everything you have came from God as a gift (1 Corinthians 4:7).

Us belonging to God doesn’t mean he uses us the way we use our belongings like pens, clothes, or computers. We belong to God and God belongs to us the way a husband and wife belong to each other; we are his bride. It is a mutual belonging of love.

It’s not about giving yourself to God (as if he needed anything from our side). It’s about realizing that we belonged to him all along, even before we acknowledged it.

When you believed Jesus and became part of the Church you acknowledged that you indeed do belong to Jesus.

Here’s what I wish to point out: possession implies surrender.

If you acknowledge that you belong to God, then you’re already “surrendered” to him. You “surrendered” when you realized your need for a savior and came to Jesus.

Practically, this means that you have believed that God’s ways are a lot more fun and joyous than what the world has to offer. Thus, when God tells you to do something, you cheerfully do so, not because you are “surrendered” to him or because it’s your “duty,” but simply because you know that that’s the most fun and most joyful thing you can do. And if God’s goodpleasing, and perfect will doesn’t seem so fun or joyous to you, then your mind is not renewed in that area (Romans 12:2). If you come across something like this, all you have to do is ask Jesus why it’s so great and I bet he will tell you. Even if he doesn’t right then, if you truly believe he loves you and has your best interest in mind, then he can be trusted.

If “surrender” is to have a place in a believer’s vocabulary, it should be to describe the sweet surrender of giving up on your own efforts to try to please God and live upright and instead trusting in what Jesus did and does in and through you.

So I commend to you “Sweet Surrender” by Bread. These guys have it down :] (lyrics below video)

Baby I’m through runnin’ it’s true
I’d be a fool to try to escape you
Maybe I’m beat but oh what a sweet surrender
You keep your rights, I’ll take your nights
No one can lose when we turn the lights out
Tastin’ defeat, lovin’ that sweet surrender
I’m giving’ up myself to you but I didn’t really lose at all
I gave the only love I’ve known and it never hurt me to fall
Now that it’s done, so glad you won
I know our lives have only begun now
No more retreat, only y sweet surrender