When Jesus Christ gave Himself up as a living sacrifice, it was so that the Father’s will would be done. But where do we find God’s will mentioned in the Old Testament?
The Hebrew language uses different words than we do in English, so when we look for God’s will in the Old Testament, we find different phrases with a similar meaning. King David, and others, delighted to do God’s will, to obey Him. In fact, God commands that we do so.
In Deuteronomy 6:5 we read, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength,” NKJV. This is an important statement about our steadfast obedience to God’s will, which is God’s intended direction for our lives.
The “soul” mentioned in this verse is the nephesh, which is a living, breathing human being whose life resides in the blood, not an immortal soul. So loving God with all of our soul is living a life centered on God. Jesus Christ refers to this as the “first commandment” in Mark 12:29-31, and goes on to teach that, “…the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
When I was very young, my mother regularly took us to the Lutheran church. She was proud that we went to “church” as a family. But her pride was short-lived. My brothers and I had an entry-level of obedience, we appeared to be obedient by being there, but that was it.
One day, a police detective showed up at our door. Someone had informed him that my teenage brothers had stolen some goods that were hidden in our basement. I was about 9 or 10 at the time, and we all went down to the basement. It was full of tools that had been stolen by my brothers. One brother went to the county jail and the other to juvenile hall.
As far as I know, my brothers never really developed a fear of God, but they did develop a fear of the criminal justice system! When they got out, they became model citizens. Obedience born out of fear.
Christ said, “…with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,” in Mark 12, and the mind and heart are where those deep thoughts about God originate. It’s not entry-level obedience, just going through the motions, but a change of our carnally focused hearts and a renewing of our minds.
Many authors have tried to tackle the will of God, Amazon has a long list, but their explanations are rather fuzzy. They don’t have a knowledge of God’s plan for mankind, and most, unfortunately, they fail to live by every word of God and embrace God’s law. To them, God’s will is an unknowable mystery. But that isn’t true, God’s will may not always seem clear to us in the midst of a trial, but through faithfulness, we are well aware that it is not God’s will to forsake us.
God’s will should be clear to the Church of God. Our whole being should willingly be surrendered to the Most High God. We want to have the sameness of Spirit that God, the Father, and Jesus Christ have. To do so, we must keep God’s commandments and obey His voice. Our Father is showing us the way so we can be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding!
by Jim Sampson