The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
When we talk about God’s will, what we usually have in mind are practical questions: Who should I marry? Where should I work? etc. But more important than any of those details is God’s revealed will in Scripture. When we’re trying to find God’s will for our lives, we need to start with what Scripture says.
What is God’s will for you? According to the above verses, He wills that you be saved. The reason God hasn’t yet judged the world is because He is not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. That’s why He has provided the man Christ Jesus as a ransom for all. God is a saving God who desires salvation for all men.
Every other aspect of God’s will for your life begins with this fact: He wants you to be saved. If you aren’t saved — if you haven’t obeyed this first step of God’s will — then you have no reason to believe that He will guide you in anything else. God does not lead those who do not know Him and love Him.
In Matthew 9:36, the unsaved multitudes around Jesus are described as “sheep without a shepherd.” In the same way, if you have never come to salvation, you are on your own. The only thing God has planned for you is eternal judgment.
Without Christ, you are a stranger to God. Without Christ, you are an illegal alien hanging around the fringes of a kingdom to which you don’t belong. Without Christ, you are a rebel.
Let me give you an illustration of this from Mark 3. Jesus is in a house packed with people, and He’s teaching. Then His mother and His brothers show up, and they send word to Him that they want Him. So as Jesus is teaching, a message comes up to the front, saying, “Your mother wants you.”
His response is amazing: “Answering them, He said, ‘Who are My mother and My brothers?’ Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother’” (Mark 3:33-35).
Jesus is saying this: “Earthly relationships only go so far. To be truly connected to Me you must do the will of My Father.” And what is the will of His Father? That you believe in and love the Son. God’s will is that you commit your life to Christ.
The gospel is a command. It’s not optional. We sometimes talk about “inviting” people to Christ, but the Bible doesn’t invite anybody to come to Christ; the Bible commands them. It says, “Confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead and you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
The first step of obeying God’s will is affirming Christ as Lord and Savior. If you haven’t taken that step, Jesus says, “You’re not even in My family. You’re not My mother, and you’re not My brother. You have no association with Me. You are a shepherdless sheep. You have no leader.”
If you have been saved, though, the gates are open to you. You have Jesus as your shepherd. And through that relationship you gain access to the next foundational element of God’s will in your life: being controlled by the Spirit. That’s our topic for next time.
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