Tuesday, September 18, 2012

walking through the gospel: seeking God's will in our lives

Have you ever wondered what God's will for your life was?

I know I have.

It's such a challenge to walk by faith when it comes to our lives. Where do we live? What do we do? Do I go this way or that way? What is the most important thing for me to do in this life I've been given?

Those are questions I think we all face.

When we walk with God, we know His desires for us because of His Word. We are given specific direction- He spells out us His will for us right there in the Bible.

Here's just a small list of what we know about God's will for us:

1. He wants us to love Him with all of our hearts.

The most important part of walking with God has nothing to do with where you live or what job you take, or how many times you should volunteer, or how many kids you have. Your first priority in your life is to love God with every. single. part of you:

Matthew 22:
37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

2. He wants us to love people like we love ourselves.

Jesus very specifically says to love other people like we love ourselves- just like the commandment God gave in the Old Testament. We are to treat the needs of others like they were our own needs. We are to bear others' burdens like they were our own to bear. 

It's something we cannot do alone. It's way too overwhelming on our own!

When we love God with all our heart, He show us specifically what we can do to help those around us through the guiding of His Holy Spirit.

I always like to hear specific real-life stories of the Holy Spirit at work, so here's one example of what it has looked like for me:

I read a craigslist ad the other day, and this lady was venting in detail about her ex-husband in the ad. It was random, and usually I would go on, but for whatever reason, my heart started hurting for her. 

It was really aching- I felt like crying for this lady who had been so obviously hurt by a man. I couldn't shake the feeling. I felt like God wanted me to email her. The next morning I sat down and wrote her an email, telling her what I felt God was laying on my spirit- I told her that I think He wanted me to tell her He loved her.

I felt like a crazy woman sending an email like that to an anonymous address, but I did it. I couldn't not do it. It was heavy on my heart.

Minutes later I get an email back from the lady.

She says thank you for the sweet email, and how it made her smile.

Phew. :) Thank you, Jesus.

Another minute later I get a second email from her. She writes to me, "it's so funny that you picked that exact moment to email me... I was just in the middle of a crying breakdown because my ex was still being mean... I think I needed to read your email. Thank you."

Then came the goosebumps. And the tears.

God knows what He is doing, sweet friends. I felt like the Holy Spirit was heavy on me to pray for and email this girl. He had a reason for me to do it. And at the exact moment it was needed, He wanted me to share His love with someone else. He does some crazy stuff!! :D Listen to Him if you feel His Spirit telling you to do something. :)

He will guide you and show you how to love others. I can guarantee it. It's His will for you!

3. He will provide for all of our needs.

It's so easy to lose sight of loving God and people when we get busy taking care of our daily cares, but when we hear Him telling us to do something, we know that He will provide the resources to do it.

If you hear His voice whispering in your heart to have children- of your own or to adopt, He will provide the means for you to take care of them. You don't have to worry about it.

We don't have to worry about anything- God already knows our needs. When we are His, He will take care of us. We can trust in Him! All we have to do is seek after Him {see #1 ;)}

Matthew 6:31-33
 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

4. He will give us the desires of our hearts when we seek Him.

When we trust God with all of us, He not only specifically directs our path and provides for us,  He also grants us the desires of our hearts.

Psalm 37:3-5
Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.b
4 Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.

When we delight in Him, He meets our needs and gives us what our hearts desire.  But here's the catch- it doesn't mean that God just gives us whatever thing or circumstance we happen to desire at that moment.

When we seek after God, our heart wants God more than anything. Our hearts want God to do what He wants, not what we want for ourselves.  We long to please the one true and living God more than anything else.

When we seek the will of God for our lives, and trust in our God to do what He wants, He will change our hearts to line up with His. He will literally give us the desire of our hearts. God is so cool- when you walk with Him, He will change your desires to line up with His own. And then He fulfills that desire!

John 15:7

7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Isn't that the craziest thing? Walking with Jesus is so much better than you can ever imagine. He is so much God, that He turns our very hearts to love and wish for the things He wishes for us. And then He gives us the things we long for!

5. He wants us to walk in joy and thanksgiving with Him.

No matter how our life turns out- when we seek after God, we know that what He gives us is what He desires for us. The God that created the entire universe can be trusted with our circumstances.

He wants you to take joy in what He gives {or sometimes doesn't give} you, and His will is for you to give thanks in all situations:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

It always comes back to having your eyes set on things above. When your hope is in God, you know that no circumstances are out of His control. Nothing surprises Him- He is in control of it all.

Knowing those very things changes our perspective- trusting in God allows us to rejoice and be thankful even when we don't know why things are happening to us. We just know that we can trust in Him, and His purposes, because we know all things work together for the good of those who love God- for those are called to His purpose {which is you, the believer}.

We like to make life really complicated. :) But it's really simple: seek God with all your heart. Love Him with everything, trust Him, and His will be done in your life. No worry, no fear, no anxiety is needed.

Trust in Him. He will guide your path.

He promises.

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