(1 Thessalonians 5:16-22) – “For this is the will of God…”
Sometimes the will of God can seem unclear. When I was younger, I had several misconceptions about the will of God.
I thought it only related to future plans. People always talked about God’s will as something to find for later.
I thought it automatically meant doing the opposite of what I wanted. God came across to me as someone who didn’t want His people to enjoy life, but rather shove them into His mold apart from their agreement.
I thought it was unknowable to normal people, like you had to ask a priest or a pastor for the password to unlock this super-secret box of mysteries.
I’ve had conversations with my students where they’ve said the same things. And I’ve been so happy to share with them that all of those thoughts aren’t true.
God’s will is simply what God wants, and what He wants is so much more than just what I’m doing later. It’s also (primarily) about who I am now.
Because God is good, loving, creative, and wise, what he desires for us is also good, loving, creative, and wise.
And he doesn’t leave us hanging when it comes to knowing His will. His will isn’t something to find because it’s not lost.
He’s given us His Spirit to indwell us, His word to teach us, and His people to counsel us. All 3 of those things are essential to living in the will of God.
God’s will is both general and specific. There are things He wants for everyone, and things He wants for just me.
This passage relates to the general will of God. He wants all of His people to live in joy, to saturate in prayer, and to see life through a thankful lense.
When God starts changing WHO you are, then WHAT you do automatically changes. When WHAT you do is consistent with WHO God wants you to be, WHERE you go as you do WHAT you’re doing will be as wide open as you can imagine.
We often do this backwards. We focus so much on the WHERE, and hope that going to the right place will help us do WHAT we’re supposed to do, and thus become WHO we’re supposed to be.
But geography doesn’t change the heart. God’s will is less about a place and more about a person.
He wants us to be like Jesus. He wants us to trust him. Simple as that.