Knowing God’s Will for Your Life

How often do you wish you could know what God was up to in your life? When the days are especially painful or confusing or feel like, to borrow the title from Lemony Snicket’s children’s books,  ‘ A Series of Unfortunate Events’, what questions rise up in your heart? If things aren’t falling into place quite the way you planned or it seems like God has forgotten a necessary piece in the puzzle of your life, do you ever look up and simply ask, “Why is this happening, God?”.

Well friend, if you just nodded your head ferociously, do not be dismayed or misinformed, you are not alone. We, as humans, have this unquenchable thirst for information about God’s plan for us that will help us feel more secure and settled, especially in particularly insecure and unsettling situations. It’s in those seasons, and maybe that season is right now for you, where our heart desperately begs for understanding. We  ask, “God what are you doing?!”. Whether our soul is longing to know His response because we think the answer will bring us peace or we desire reassurance that God has not abandoned us, we want clarity on what He’s doing in our lives. In the midst of the fog brought about by pain or confusion, we long to see His purposes clearly for why He’s doing or allowing what’s happening to us. We’re looking for a concrete, illuminating answer.

Look no further, because there is one.

God’s will for your life is this: your sanctification.

There it is, surprised it’s only a two-word answer? 1 Thessalonians 4:3 states the answer we’re looking for without confusion. In Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica he states, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification”.

That’s right. It’s as straightforward as that, saints. God’s purpose for our life in all things is our holiness. The process of us being “transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” 2 Corinthians 3:8. The search for God’s will in our life is not an unknowable and exhausting divine quest. It is knowable and straightforward: that His children in and through everything are growing more and more in their family resemblance, becoming more like their Father in Heaven who says in 1 Peter to ‘be Holy as I am Holy”.  

Still not convinced? Observe Romans 8, most are familiar with verse 28 that says, “And we now that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those that are called according to his purpose.” This verse normally gives us hope that things will work out for believers and we all long for the ‘good’ that this verse is referencing. However, isn’t hard to believe He’s working things for ‘good’ when your situation or what you’ve experienced, for instance, is definitely NOT good. How do we reconcile when things aren’t ‘good’ in life, yet God says He’s working it all out for believers? I think this misunderstanding happens when we forget to read the following verses. For verse 29-30  follows, “For For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

What is ‘good’ is to be conformed to the image of His son. I.e. our sanctification, our transformation into His likeness that God has promised to be accomplished for His children is the true meaning of the word and will for our life.

Lastly, we have another confirmation of this truth in John 15:1-2 where Jesus portrays God as the vinedresser and His children as the branches. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” Sanctification is pruning, and pruning is not a pleasant sensation. It hurts and is painful, but there is a purpose in it.

Maybe you’re finally convinced biblically that God’s will in your life is sanctification, this pruning, this conformation into the image of Christ - but you don’t believe it’s good or that God is kind in making this the plan. Gently then remind yourself (as I have to do so frequently, daily, on the minute) of God’s overall character and His kindness to extend to us the gift of salvation in the Gospel. To always allow that to be the lens that we wrestle with believing in Truth when it doesn’t feel good or true. This God who makes His plan for his children one of sanctification, is the God in John 15 Who tells us these things so that our "joy may be in Him, and our joy would be full’ and that His character is one that desires to bring us ‘life and to have it abundantly." John 10:10.

That “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all” in Romans 8:32, is the same Father who knows what where our deepest joy is to be found, and it is found in being more like Him.

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