“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” – 1 Peter 4:1-2
One of the most common questions that believers struggle with is this: “What is the will of God for my life?” It’s a valid question, but when we ask it, we are missing the point. When I was in high school, I went through the same “what am I going to do with my life” crisis as I made the decision of where to go to college and even more-so what I would do for the rest of my life. It was such a big deal and overwhelming question! It always seemed like God was hiding His will for me. I was chasing the wind for the answer to God’s “mysterious” will like a treasure hunt, when all along the treasure sat on my bedside table in my Bible.
The funny thing is, we have searched and searched for this “mysterious will of God” for our personal lives, when God has clearly revealed His will in Scripture. As we study this text, there are a few things you must first believe:
- God is sovereign. He does nothing by accident. He knows how many hairs are on your head and how many days you will have on earth. (Luke 12:7, Psalm 139:16) You live where you live, do what you do and have the characteristics you have for a reason. For example, I have no skill at playing basketball, I get queasy when I see surgeries and I don’t understand accounting. It is clear that I shouldn’t pursue a profession in the WNBA, shouldn’t be a doctor nor should I handle all of my accounting. God creates us all with unique gifts and passions that are meant to be used for His glory. Acts 17:26 tells us that God determined the “allotted places and boundaries” of our dwelling place. This word in the Greek means that He fixed it beforehand. We must have a firm foundation and trust in God’s sovereignty, believing that He knows all things, including every detail of our lives.
- God is good. Ever since Genesis 3, the world has become tainted with sin, suffering and devastation. It is because of the mighty work and agape love of God that we can be saved from the wretchedness of sin into amazing grace. The Gospel is the goodness of God for all. Psalm 119:68 says this: “You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.” We must believe in the goodness of God and dwell in the truth of His Word. Despite the sin and suffering in the world, God already conquered it through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus.
Believing in these two truths are foundational to understanding the will of God. Because He is sovereign and He is good, we don’t have to worry about the immediate details of our lives. He has placed us where we are, with the people we are with and with the passions that we have for a reason. Our role as the church and as daughters and sons of God is to obey His Word. That is the will of God for us. 1 Peter 4:1-2 tells us clearly what the will of God is (for everyone):
- We are to arm ourselves with the thinking of Christ. Christ suffered for sin and we must also suffer for the glory of God. Christ doesn’t say “if” you suffer, but rather “when” you suffer. If we expect suffering in this fallen world, we will first turn to God in times of need instead of away from Him.
- We are to die to our flesh and live for the passions of God and not human passions. Deitrich Bonhoeffer said — ‘When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.’But this isn’t a once and for all death. This is a death to death so that we might live to Christ. That is God’s will for us! We are to no longer live lives centered on glorifying ourselves, worshipping manmade idols, lusting after possessions, envying each other or murdering others in our heart. We are instead to encourage one another in the truth of the Gospel, to tell the world of Jesus, and to love others like Christ loved us – sacrificially.
Sisters, I pray God frees you from your worry to understand that His will is to be where you are obeying His Word and trusting Him with all the other details. He is sovereign and He is good and He loves you. Rest in that and love Him fully in all you do!
your sister, Gretchen