Dear friends in Christ,
Frater Francis Dominic wrote the following, for us to take to heart.
Man’s greatest honor and privilege is to do the will of God. This was what the Lord Jesus taught His disciples. He once said that only those who did His Father’s will would enter the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21). He also said that His true brothers and sisters were those who did the will of God (Matthew 12:50). This emphasis was passed on by the apostles to their generation. Peter declared that God sets men free from sin so that they can do His will (1 Peter. 4:1-2). Paul proclaimed that believers are created anew in Christ Jesus so that they can walk in a path God has already mapped out for them. He therefore exhorted the Ephesian Christians not to be foolish, but to understand what the will of the Lord was for their lives (Ephesians 2:10; 5:17). He prayed for the Colossian Christians that they might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. He told them that his co-worker Epaphras was also praying for them that they might fulfill all the will of God (Colossians. 1:9; 4:12). The apostle John taught that only those who did the will of God would abide forever (1 John 2:17).
Acts 13:22 seems to imply that David was called “a man after God’s own heart” because he desired to do the will of God alone. David himself tells us elsewhere that he delighted in doing God’s will (Psalms 4:8). He was not a perfect man. He committed many sins, some very serious ones, for which God had to punish him severely. Yet God forgave him and found pleasure in him because basically David wanted to do all of God’s will. This encourages us to believe that in spite of all our imperfections, we too can be men and women after God’s own heart – if only our hearts are set on doing His will.
The New Testament urges believers to walk as Jesus walked, following His example. The guiding principle of Jesus’ entire life and ministry was to do the will of His Father. He never moved until His Father told Him to. And when He did move, neither the threats of His enemies nor the pleadings of His friends could stop Him from doing what His Father required of Him. His daily food was to fulfill His Father’s will (John 4:34). As men crave for food to nourish their bodies, He craved to do the will of the One Who had sent Him. Every believer should have a similar hunger to fulfill all the will of God. How easy it is to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” and then to do just as we please, without seeking God’s guidance in our daily lives.
The Bible teaches that God has a specific plan for each of our lives (Ephesians 2:10). He has planned a career for us, chosen a husband or wife for us and even planned where we should live and what we should do each day. In every case, His choice must be the best, for He knows us so well and He takes every factor into consideration. It is wisest then to seek His will in all matters – major as well as minor.
Many have made shipwreck of their lives by failing to seek the will of God right from their youth. It is indeed “It is good for a man, when he hath borne the yoke from his youth.” (Lamentations 3:27). In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus invites us to take His yoke upon us. What does it mean to take the yoke? Oxen that are used to plow fields are kept together by a yoke upon their necks. When a new ox is to be trained to plow, it is yoked together with an experienced ox. The new one is thus compelled to walk in the same direction and at the same speed as the older ox. This is what it means to take the yoke of Jesus upon us. We shall have to walk with Jesus in the path that pleases Him, never rushing ahead to do anything without His leading, nor lagging behind when He calls to some new step of obedience. Few understand this meaning of the yoke. Fewer still are willing to accept it. The ox is forced by its owner to take the yoke upon its neck. But Jesus invites us. There is no compulsion here. How foolish we are to reject this invitation! We would rather take the heavy yoke of our own self-will with its accompanying frustrations, defeats, and regrets, than the light yoke of Jesus that brings true liberty and deep rest!
We read of Enoch that he “walked with God” (Genesis 5:22) he did not rush ahead nor lag behind, but walked in God’s appointed path as one under the yoke – for three hundred years. As a result, God testified that He was pleased with Enoch’s life (Hebrews 11:5). This is the only way that we please God – by living and moving under His yoke, in His perfect will. Only in this way shall we be able to stand before Him without regret when He comes again.
It is possible for a believer to miss God’s perfect will for his life. Saul was chosen by God to be king over Israel, but eventually as a result of his impatience and disobedience, God had to reject him. True, he remained on the throne for some years more, but he had missed God’s will for his life. Solomon is another example. He pleased God in this earlier years, but fell away later through marrying heathen women. Twice in the New Testament we are exhorted to take a warning from the example of the Israelites who perished in the wilderness. God’s perfect will for them was that they should enter Canaan. But all except two of them missed God’s best through unbelief and disobedience (1 Corinthians 10:1-12; Hebrews 3:7-14). Many believers have similarly missed God’s perfect plan for their lives through disobedience and compromise – often in marriage or in the choice of a career.
Each of us has but one life. Blessed is the man who like Paul, can say at the end of it, that he has finished his God-appointed task (2 Timothy 4:7).
“And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence [lust] thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:17).
“See therefore, brethren, how you walk circumspectly [carefully]: not as unwise, But as wise: redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore become not unwise, but understanding what is the will of God.” (Ephesians 5:15-17).
Let us consider this well: “How easy it is to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” and then to do just as we please, without seeking God’s guidance in our daily lives.” We would like to close with a question: “Who is the interpreter of the will of God in the church?”
Charity seeks not her own.