God’s Will is clear and simple?

God’s will is clear and simple or What actually is God’s will for you?

About two years after my new birth I became obsessed with wanting to know what God’s will was for me. I heard calls from the pulpit to surrender to foreign missions or to answer the call to full time pastoral ministry. Trouble is, though I wanted both, was ready to do either, I could not be sure if I were called to either.

That emotionally and spiritually difficult period was resolved when I made a decision to attend seminary with a view to being a pastor. Indeed, I did have a sense of being called, like Isaiah the prophet or even like Paul. (How many times, in so short a time did I hear sermons on Isaiah 6 and Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road.) The tension I experienced coalesced one day while studying for a masters in psychology when it dawned on me that I would not be able to talk to counselees about Jesus in a school setting as a student counselor. I announced to my pastor I had received a call, and shortly after off I went to attend seminary.

This essay however is not about experiencing a call. To this day I believe my calling was genuinely from God, no, this essay is about knowing what the will of God is. The answer might seem rather tame and plain; my objective however is to be as biblical as possible

In former days

The Four Spiritual Laws booklet published by Campus Crusade for Christ, which I used countless times while a hippie street Christian in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District in the 1960s, was correct: God does have a plan for the Christian’s life. Question was however–How do I find out what that plan is?

Thus ensued numbers of mechanisms, everything to filling our questionnaires to having “prophets” pray over you that they might get a “word from God,” in order to solve the mystery. As a pastor of a church filled with young adults in the 1970s, many of whom were avidly seeking to serve their Lord, I, and our pastoral staff and elders, sought diligently to find answers and help people discover God’s will for their lives, and while we were at it, discover their spiritual gifts. Looking back I think that what we really did was process in our minds, almost unconsciously, what we knew about a person and consider what they were already engaged in, ministry wise or in their lives so far, to come up with something that seemed likely. Trouble is, the pronouncements of what came up was usually preceded by a “Thus saith the Lord.” Few would disagree.

God’s will is the same for us all[1]

Clear and simple God’s will is that we believe in his Son, Jesus. To a group of seekers who asked Jesus, “What must we do, to be doing the works[2] of God?” (John 6:28). Jesus’ answer is in verse 29: “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

Overshadowing all else, the chief will of God for us is to believe in, rely upon, trust in, the Triune God, for the forgiveness of sin and our new birth. Jesus is extremely clear: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40).

We start by trusting in Jesus, and we continue the same way. It is as the writer of Hebrews stated:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy what was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and isseated at the right hand of the throne of God.          Hebrews 12:1-2

God’s will is that we grow up in Christ, continually turning away from sin, and should be falter, confess our sins and receive his forgiveness.[3] We are to be perfect, or complete and mature followers of Jesus, and we know this does not happen overnight.

We take on the full armor of God that we may be strong in the Lord and stand against the wiles of the devil.[4]

We are to flee from sin, study and meditate on Scripture, pray, and in the way Jesus taught us,[5]  and a whole host of other instructions found bunched together in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapters 5,6, and 7, but also found scattered throughout the whole of Scripture, Genesis to Revelation.

Every Christian is to be a proclaimer of the Good News that in Jesus’ work on the cross we can be forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life. Here is what Jesus specifically said:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. God therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

Matthew 28:18-20


[1] To prevent this from becoming something more than a short essay, it is necessary that the myriad of passages that could be referred to be reduced to key and summary ones.

[2] Works and will are essentially synonymous as can be deduced since in Jesus’ response to the question He uses the term “will” in place of “works,” see John 6:39-40.

[3] 1 John 1:8-2:2.

[4] Ephesians 6:10-20.

[5] Matthew 6:9-13.