Have you ever heard people say they want to know what God’s will is for their life?
If you study all the Scriptures that talk about God’s will, it seems as if they all have something in common. It’s as if they communicate God’s will being the perfect balance of love and holiness.
Theologian, J.I. Packer suggests the Scriptures refer to three different facets of God’s will: The Ultimate will, the Revealed will, and the Permissive will. God has one will just as he is only one God, but Packer suggests that one will has three facets (three in one).
The Ultimate will acknowledges that God is sovereign or supreme. In this we understand that nothing ever happens that is outside His will. Ephesians 1:11 says that he works all things according to the counsel of his will. This doesn’t necessarily mean he causes things to happen, just that he permits them. This is the hidden part of his will, containing things that we don’t know will happen until… after they happen.
The Revealed will is just what it sounds like: the part of God’s will that is revealed to us. And it is revealed through the Bible and our conscience. The more our conscience is in line with God’s word the more we walk in his will. If the word of God is in us, then the will of God comes out of us.
The Permissive will. This is the part of his will that exposes his attitude and it defines what pleases him. For instance we know that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, however he still wills or decrees it. Jesus said the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God, but they will inherit death. But that doesn’t mean God takes pleasure in that. As a matter of fact I would be willing to bet
So what about this heart?
I just want to know God’s will for my life.
When people ask that, what are they really saying?
Sometimes I think we expect to sit across from God at a table as he hovers over his crystal ball waiting for him to reveal to us what the future holds so that we can know what kinds of decisions we need to make.
The problem with this is when seeking to know the future… we’re longing to know what we can’t know.
Clutching to our limited understanding is exactly where God wants us to be so that our strength is in him and not in ourselves.
But we still want to know don’t we?
Maybe it’s because we are easily preoccupied with what we’re doing instead of who we’re becoming.
The Apostle Paul wrote about this very thing in what’s considered his most important theological legacy. The longest letter he ever wrote which was addressed to the Romans.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God what is good and acceptable and perfect.”