The will of God

The Will of God

 THE WILL OF GOD: 3 signs to understand God’s will for you

The will of God! Some years ago this was one topic I surfed through several articles online searching for. I had a single question on my mind: “what is God’s will for me?”  My search became even more frantic when it was time for me to decide on whom to marry. A tough time it was for me. It was my world against that of my parents. I am the first child of my typical Yoruba parents and for my western Nigerian folks; I guess you understand what that means. Both of them are natives of the same state and hometown. So they had always sung the importance of intra-tribal marriage to us since when we were teenagers.  Of course, they added the need for us to marry from the Church (I was born into a Christian home). So, basically, in addition to our own imaginary checklist of childish fantasies, we (my siblings and I) had two items on my parents’ ‘checklist of potential life partner’ for us: marry a Yoruba man in the Lord. That requirement turned out more difficult for me to achieve than how it sounds.

Decision Making

I had turned down a number of marriage proposals because the suitors did not meet both requirements. It was either a Yoruba guy from a different Church or a Christian brother of a different tribe.  My friends believed it was a dumb idea to segregate between Christians. “Must he be from your Church?” “Are we all not Christians?” These were regular questions I got from them. It was too hard to make them see why my husband and I needed to be of the same fold. I was growing older and I soon reached a point when I decided to place all my cards on the table. I remembered the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible. Martha had opened the door of her home for Jesus. While he was with them, Mary had chosen the company of Jesus Christ while Martha had chosen to busy herself with serving their guest. Jesus made it clear to her that she was troubling herself with so many things. However, only one thing was needful. Mary had chosen that part and it cannot be taken away from her. It was time to ask myself some hard questions. What was truly important? Could God’s will be the same as my parents’ will? If it wasn’t, then I told myself I was ready to resign to whatever He wills for me. I finally got my cue from the account of Jesus’ temptation in Luke 4. Devil tempted Jesus in three ways and the response he got from Jesus forms the basis of three simple signs to figure out God’s will for anyone. These signs are applicable in different areas in everyday life decision making.

The Temptation

Luke 4:3-13 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

At first Jesus said ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’

Next he said ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’

Finally he said ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’

Fitting God’s will into the Decision-making process

Now let’s fix these answers into your question. “What is God’s will for me in this matter?”

Answer: Whatever decision you make

1. Must not contradict God’s word

2. Must not take God’s place in your life, and

3. Must not be an attempt to test God

Sometimes we keep badgering God with our “what-do-you-want-from-me?” lines for months or years and He just seems absolutely silent. I imagine Him just looking at us unruffled like a father watching his kid throw tantrums. A typical Nigerian parent will just say “when you’re done ranting, you know just what to do.” Yes! He already gave you guidelines in His word. Do not go beyond the word. Do not accept whatever would take His place in your life and do not test Him. After all these you are still asking “what do you want me to do?” A lot of times we still keep asking Him not because we don’t know His will but because His will is not ours and we are just hoping that by one ‘streak of fortune’ He can just adjust His will to suit our wish. No, dear! It doesn’t work that way.

Back to my ‘search-for-husband-story’; I had someone whom I desired to be with. We are of same tribe but of different Christian folds. We had sharp disputes concerning our faith which always left me angry. It was clear this would be a constant bane in our union if we get married. This is because we both held strong convictions in our conflicting belief and no one was willing to defer or compromise. Despite this, I kept asking God if this was His will for me. Was I really asking for His will? Or was I indirectly asking for my own will to be done? “God, comm-on, make him accept my belief so we can be happily married” If I had married him, hoping that God would change him to suit my desire then I would have been testing God. God had made it clear enough from the onset that this was not His will for me. The blessing of the Lord makes one rich and He adds no sorrow with it- Proverbs 10:22. I had to make this big decision of letting go twice. Why twice? Each time, I kept hoping God would come around and make them understand and accept my faith. Who was I kidding? I only ended up hurting my emotions.

Then came another friend after a while. He was a Christian brother but not Yoruba. So I had my emotional guards mounted high to never get attached to him (maybe they weren’t high enough). He was supposed to be off-limits. However I became very worried when I realized we both wanted to be together. “This couldn’t be God’s will because it is directly against my parents’ will.” That was my thought. I finally brought my confusion under the scrutiny of the scriptures. Didn’t I read in Galatians 3:26-29 that as many of us that are in Christ are all sons of God? No Jew, no Gentile!

What truly counts

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Refusal to marry outside the fold is justifiable here. However, rejecting a partner in the Lord on the basis of tribal dichotomy clearly defies this scripture. ‘A brother or sister in the Lord’ with questionable conducts is no brother or sister and can be rejected on such ground; but definitely not for tribal differences.

Further subjecting my dilemma to the 3 signs for God’s will;

1. It was obvious getting married to a faithful Christian brother is God’s command. 2 Corinthians 6: 14-18

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”

2. He was not going to take God’s place in my life because we were both servants of God.

3. I was certainly not going to test God with such decision because it was not contradicting his instructions.

I finally had my answer. It meant goodbye to personal will or my parents’ tribal sentiments. Thank God they are both Christians. I had long meetings with them discussing these scriptures to make them understand that God’s ways are not ours. And at any point when our will differ from God’s will, we must learn to defer. Supported with prayers, I got married to him.

What about you?

Are you in a relationship that constantly makes you violate God’s command? Do you have a job offer that will come in between you and God? You need not ask God if this is His will for you. Do the right thing please.

A brother related a sad incident of how a woman amassed a small fortune and was faced with a decision on what to do with the money. She had two options in mind when she was asking God to make His will known- to buy a car or commence building an apartment for herself. When she believed she had discerned God’s will, she bought a secondhand car and took it to a panel beater to fix some dents on the car. Something went wrong in the process of fixing the car and the entire vehicle caught fire. It got burnt beyond repair. Could this be God’s will for her?

I would like to hear from you. Please drop your comments.

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