Saturday, August 17, 2013

You're Better Off Following Jesus

I once spoke to a man on a plane about Jesus, and he said, "My life is already good. Why would I want to add Jesus to it?"  I feel sorry for that man, because he was so enamoured with the world and his earthly possessions that he didn't realize he'd be better off following Jesus. 

Today I want to show you why you're better off following Jesus, so you don't make the same mistake as that man on the plane.

Superior Name
The apostle writing to the Hebrews said that Jesus is superior to those who came before Him.

He said, “The Son has become greater than the angels since he has been given a name that is superior to theirs.” (Heb 1:4).  The name of Jesus is superior to that of any angel.

The apostle Paul said, “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Php 2:9-11)

The apostle Peter said, "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (Act 4:12)

Superior Ministry
Not only is His Name superior, but also his ministry.  “Jesus has been given a priestly work that is superior to the Levitical priests' work. He also brings a better promise from God that is based on better guarantees. “ (Heb 8:6, GW)

That Greek word in Hebrews used to mean "superior" is the word "diaphoros," which in this context means “excellent, surpassing.” -- Thayer

“Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. For it is attested of Him, ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.’" (Heb 7:11-17)

Jesus clearly has a superior name and a superior priesthood.  So what difference does that make for us?

Since Jesus is superior, the apostle says in Hebrews “…God had provided something better for us...” (Heb 11:40).  Let’s see all that God has provided for us that is better.

Better Tabernacle
First of all, we have a better tabernacle.  “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;”  (Heb 9:11).  As beautiful as the earthly tabernacle was, and although it was made after the pattern of the heavenly one, it cannot compare to the greater and more perfect tabernacle.

“For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;”  (Heb 9:24)

Better Mediator
Jesus is also a better mediator.  “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.” (Heb 1:3-4).

Before Christ came, the Word was spoken through angels (Heb 2:2).  But the Lord Jesus is better than the angels, and now the gospel has been spoken by Him (Heb 2:3).

In Hebrews, the word better comes from the Greek word, kreitton.  It means, “1) more useful, more serviceable, more advantageous; 2) more excellent.” – Thayer.  It means “stronger, that is, (figuratively) better, that is, nobler: - best, better.” – Strongs

Unlike the angels, Jesus is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His nature. He upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb 1:3).  He is God's own Son, who sits at the right hand of the majesty in the heavens and His throne is forever (Heb 1:8).  He is God (Jn 1:1; Col 1:15).  All things were created by Him (Col 1:16).  All the angels worship Him (Heb 1:6), and He's a better mediator.

Better Blood
His blood is also better than the blood of Abel, who was a righteous man that was murdered.

“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.” (Heb 11:4 NASB).

Abel’s blood still speaks, but Jesus’ blood speaks better.

"And to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel." (Heb 12:24)

While Abel's blood cries out for justice, the blood of Jesus cries out for mercy. His blood is not only the that of a righteous man, but of God's only begotten Son, who was completely innocent of sin.

His blood is also better than the blood of animals.  “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:13-14)

Better Sacrifice
The sacrifice of Christ is better than all the sacrifices offered under the Law.  “Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” (Heb 9:23)

Those gifts and sacrifices could not make the worshiper perfect in conscience. “The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.” (Heb 9:8-10)

Jesus has put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. “nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”  (Heb 9:25-26)

“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (Heb 10:1-4)

"Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET." (Heb 10:11-13)

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom 8:3-4)

Better Hope
Jesus offers a better hope. “(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” (Heb 7:19)

“nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” (Gal 2:16)

“Therefore be it known to you, men, brothers, that through this One the forgiveness of sins is announced to you. And by Him all who believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.” (Act 13:38-39)

Better Covenant
The New Covenant is better than the old.  “… Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.”  (Heb 7:22)

“For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: ‘The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, “Know the Lord,” because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.’ By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” (Heb 8:7-13)

“For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Rom 4:13)

Better Promises
Not only is the new covenant in Jesus' blood a better covenant, but it is based on better guarantees -- on promises of better things. “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.”  (Heb 8:6)

“For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,” (Rom 4:16)

Better Possession
Through Jesus, we inherit a better possession than anything this world has to offer! And this possession lasts forever. “For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.” (Heb 10:34)

Better Country
The apostle writing to the Hebrews said of those who walked by faith before Christ, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” (Heb 11:16).  Even they desired a better country than the earthly and natural promised land of Canaan. 

The country the Lord has provided those who put their faith in Christ is better than any country on earth.  It’s even better than the country of Israel, better than the holy land on earth.

Better Resurrection
For those who follow Jesus, there will be a better resurrection. The writer to the Hebrews said, “Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;” (Heb 11:35)

Some people have received back their dead by resurrection, which must be an absolutely awesome experience!  On the other, other people who have been given the chance to avoid persecution by denying Christ have refused to deny him.  In some cases, their loved one may be in the hands of persecutors, who offer them their loved ones back if they deny Christ. They fear God and know that if they deny Christ, they may get their loved one back temporarily, but at the resurrection they will arise to everlasting condemnation.  And instead they choose not accept their release, so that at the resurrection of the dead, they might arise to everlasting life.

Putting it All Together
So we can see that Jesus Christ has a superior Name and a superior ministry.  His priesthood is superior to the Levitical one.

This is good news for us, because it means God has provided many better things for us through Christ.  These include a better tabernacle, a better Mediator, better blood, better sacrifices, a better hope, a better covenant, better promises, a better possession, a better country, and a better resurrection.  If the man I spoke to on the plane had understood all this, he would have realized that the brief and comfortable life he was living was far inferior to the abundant and eternal life we have in Christ.

If you know the Lord, then be encouraged by these things.  You're better off following Jesus.  Don't trade it for anything.

I once lived for myself without Christ, and I personally "...spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry."  I can testify that I'm better off now following Jesus.  If you don’t know the Lord, then I invite you to put your trust in Him today.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Author's note I invite you to also read these related articles of mine: Is Jesus God?, Supremacy of Christ, The New Wine, and Supernatural Power for All Disciples. You can also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Image credit: The "All Hail King Jesus" painting © 2012 by Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lifting Your Face in Prayer

Does your posture or the direction you look in during prayer really matter?  I believe it does, as I've written about previously in my post called Lifting Hands in Prayer. I believe the Lord honors every act of faith, and certain postures open you up to receive from the Lord more readily. One of those is lifting up your head and eyes to God in prayer.  Here is the Scriptural basis for it:

David lifted his eyes to the Lord in prayer
David lifted his eyes to the Lord in prayer. “To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens!” (Psa 123:1)

David also wrote of the generation who seeks the Lord’s face.  He spoke metaphorically to indicate that we are like gates or doors, which have the ability to open up and let the Lord come in or remain shut. “This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face--even Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah.”  (Psa 24:6-10) If we gates want the Lord of hosts, the King of glory, to come in, then we are invited to lift up our heads.

Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:20)

Jesus told us to lift up our heads in expectation of His return. "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luk 21:28). This is a way of loving the Lord with your strength, as well as your heart and mind.  You change your whole posture to open up with joyful expectation for the Lord to come.

Sin Keeps Men from Lifting Up Their Face to God
Ezra told the Lord it was sin that kept him from lifting up his face to God.  “And I said, ‘O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens.’” (Ezr 9:6)

This was the reason the sinful tax collector would not lift up his eyes to heaven.  "But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'  (Luk 18:13)

If there is sin in your life, you should not lift your eyes proudly to the Lord. You should humbly confess your sin, repent, and ask the Lord to forgive you. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1Jn 1:9)

Then you can lift your eyes once again in prayer, and come before the Lord with clean hands.  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Heb 4:16)

Nebuchadnezzar raised his Eyes Toward Heaven
When king Nebuchadnezzar was judged by God for his great pride, he experienced seven years of living outdoors like an animal.  He had the mind of an animal and could not rule his kingdom.  The Scripture says, "Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws.” (Dan 4:33).  I assume he could not even speak normally, but maybe grunted or growled or even howled.

But notice what happened at the end of that time.  He himself testified, "But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. “ (Dan 4:34).  He said, “I…raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me.” The Lord honored that one, simple act of humility and faith on his part.  Then he blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him. 

Our God is awesome.  And when we will raise our eyes to Him in childlike faith, adoration, and total dependence, He takes notice.

Jesus Lifted His Eyes in Prayer
Jesus lifted His eyes to heaven in prayer.  "Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people." (Luk 9:16)

He didn't look down or stare at His navel when He prayed. “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You…’” (Joh 17:1)

Putting it All Together
Let me encourage you to lift up your face when you pray.  This is pleasing to the Lord, when you come to Him with clean hands and a pure heart.  As I've written about in my article called, The Link Between Two Realms, there is a definite link between the physical and spiritual realms.

Lift up your eyes to the Lord.  He's the One from whom your help comes. David prayed this way, Ezra did also, and so did Jesus.  The Bible teaches us to lift our heads up to God in prayer, and to love Him not only with all our heart and soul, but with all our strength, too.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. "Seek My Face" and "My Beloved Son" paintings © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Lifting Hands in Prayer and The Link Between Two Realms.  You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Walking in the Perfect Will of God

I want to address the matter of God’s will, since there are so many misconceptions and misunderstandings about it.  Both non-believers and believers alike have some negative connotations surrounding the expression “God’s will.” 

Some people think the will of God for their lives must be dreary, boring, or too difficult.  I used to think like that before I knew the Lord. Others think that if they do God’s will, then it will require them to do something they don’t want to do.  Some question God’s will, saying things like, “If God were a God of love, why would He allow this to happen.”  Still many don’t even know what the expression “God’s will” even means!

So let’s look at the truth about God’s will, so that we can properly understand it and know it.

The Nature and Meaning of God’s Will
First of all, let’s consider the very nature of God’s will and what it means when we refer to the will of God.

God’s will is that Jesus would lose none of those whom He has given to Jesus. "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.  (Joh 6:39)

It’s God’s will to give eternal life to those who believe in Jesus. "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."  (Joh 6:40)

God is a Mighty Savior, and it’s His will or desire for all men to be saved. “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  (1Ti 2:3-4)

It’s not God’s will that anyone perish in hell.  "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.  (Mat 18:14)

His will is for everyone to come to repentance. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”  (2Pe 3:9)

Since God cannot repent for you or force you to repent, sometimes it is God’s will for us to be made sorrowful for a season, in order to bring us to repentance. “I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.” (2Co 7:9)

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2Co 7:10)

Will (Greek, thelema)
When speaking of the will of God, the word for “will” is thelema, which means “A determination (properly the thing), that is, (actively) choice (specifically purpose, decree; abstractly volition) or (passively) inclination: - desire, pleasure, will.” – Strong. The will of God is what He has determined should happen.  It’s His desire or pleasure.

Another word that is used much less often for God’s will is boulomai, which is a verb that means “1) to will deliberately, have a purpose, be minded; 2) of willing as an affection, to desire.” – Thayers.  Some examples in the New Testament, where this is used for God’s will are 2 Peter 3:9 (where it is used in the negative sense about what God does not desire), Matthew 11:27, 1 Corinthians 12:11 and James 1:18.

It was God’s will to beget us and give us new life by the Word of Truth. “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.” (Jas 1:18)

If you have given your life to Jesus, then you were born again by the will of God. “Who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  (Joh 1:13)

Certainly it’s God’s will for you to give yourself to the Lord and to the brethren. “and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.” (2Co 8:5)

It’s God’s will for you to be made pure and holy.  “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;” (1Th 4:3)

It’s God’s will for you to give thanks in everything.  “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Th 5:18)

It’s God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish men by doing what is right.  “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” (1Pe 2:15)

Doing what is right usually involves some kind of suffering by the will of God, which requires you to trust God. “Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” (1Pe 4:19)

It’s God’s will for elders to shepherd His flock voluntarily, not because they have to, or because they are being forced to, or for the money. “Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; (1Pe 5:2)

Now that we have established the true meaning of God’s will and its benevolent nature, let’s see why it’s so important.

The Importance of God’s Will
The reason Jesus came was to do God’s will.  "THEN I SAID, 'BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.'" (Heb 10:7)

The only person Jesus considers part of His family is the one who does the will of God. "For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother." (Mar 3:35)

The apostle Paul lived according to God’s will. “But taking leave of them and saying, ‘I will return to you again if God wills,’ he set sail from Ephesus.” (Act 18:21)

Paul prayed that he would visit the Christians in Rome by the will of God. “Always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.” (Rom 1:10)  As we know from Luke’s account in the book of Acts, when Paul was on trial for his faith, he appealed to Caesar.  This required that he be sent to Rome for the emperor’s decision.  Therefore, he did go to Rome, but it was as a prisoner.  There he lived in his own rented house, where he welcomed all who came to see him, and preached the kingdom of God to them.

The Spirit intercedes according to the will of God.  “And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Rom 8:27)

That’s why the Spirit’s intercession is so vital, because the only prayer God hears is the prayer according to God’s will.  “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”  (1Jn 5:14)

We must know and confirm the will of God. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom 12:2)

You need to be fully assured as to what God’s will is, and this comes through prayer.  “Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.” (Col 4:12)

The prayer and declaration that Jesus taught us to pray is “Heavenly Father, Your will be done.” When His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, he said to pray to the Father in heaven: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.”  (Mat 6:10). There is no resistance to God’s will being done in heaven, but there is resistance to it on earth.  That’s why we need to be praying that it will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  And when the saints around the world are praying that way continually, then the will of God will be accomplished.

That’s the way He Himself prayed in the midst of His suffering.  “He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.’"  (Mat 26:42)

Now that we see so many reasons why the will of God is so important, let’s move on to how that applies to our lives from a practical perspective.

The Necessity of Doing God’s Will
Not only is God’s will benevolent and very important to us, it is absolutely necessary for us to do the will of God.

We must live our lives only for the will of God.  “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”  (1Pe 4:1-2).

You only receive what was promised when you have done the will of God. “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” (Heb 10:36)

We must do the will of God from the heart. Paul taught slaves to obey their earthly masters “not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” (Eph 6:6)

To avoid passing away and perishing with the world, you must to the will of God.  “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”  (1Jn 2:17)

Only the one who does the will of God will make heaven. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  (Mat 7:21)

Doing God’s will is not the same as saying you will do it or having sincere intentions. It must be evidenced by action.  "Which of the two did the will of his father?" They *said, "The first." Jesus *said to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.  (Mat 21:31)

Anyone who knows God’s will, and does not act according to it, will be punished severely in hell. "And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes,  (Luk 12:47). So there is a great responsibility to live in the perfect will of God once you know it. 

And those who don’t act upon it, because they don’t know it will be punished, too, although less severely. (Lk 12:48)

For Jesus it was as nourishing as eating food to do God’s will.  “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.’”  (Joh 4:34)

Jesus only sought to do God’s will.  "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  (Joh 5:30)

Jesus only came to do God’s will.  "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  (Joh 6:38)

You come to know the will of God experientially by doing it. It’s not just an intellectual head knowledge that you need.  "If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.  (Joh 7:17). 

God knew that King David would do all His will, and He called him a man after His heart.  "After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, 'I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.'  (Act 13:22).  We need to be men and women and children after God’s heart, who will do all his will.

“So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  (Eph 5:17).  We need to understand what the Lord’s will is, in order to avoid being foolish.

“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,”  (Col 1:9).  Paul prayed that the Colossians would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will.  That’s the kind of wisdom we need.

Once you know God’s will, He will give you all you need to do it.  “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Heb 13:20-21)

Putting it All Together
As we’ve discovered in God’s Word today, the will of God is not something to be dreaded. It’s nothing to run away from or resist.  His will is always good, perfect and pleasing. 

Before I gave my life to Jesus, I was considering the claims of the gospel that a friend had shared with me.  I was considering giving my life to Jesus, and I thought that if I gave my life to the Lord, I would no longer have those hilariously fun times I had enjoyed in the world.  But after I gave my life to Jesus, I realized how wrong I was.  I have experienced greater highs of joy and excitement and fun in the kingdom of God while serving the Lord Jesus that I ever experienced from any of the many worldly pleasures I indulged in while I was in the world. He knows what is best, and wants the best for us.

He desires all men to be saved. It’s not His will that any perish, but that all come to repentance.  Yet you must repent and give your life to Jesus, or else you will perish. But since He cannot make you repent, He sometimes allows godly sorrow into your life to bring you to repentance, which leads to salvation.

The will of God is for you to be sanctified, holy, righteous, and living according to the truth, doing what is right, and giving thanks to Him in everything.   God’s will is very important to us.  It affects every aspect of your life -- including where you live, work, go to school, what you do for work and recreation, who you marry, how you dress, how you treat your parents, spouse, children, and neighbor, and how you spend your money.

The only ones who are punished are the ones who don’t do the will of God, either because they don't know His will or because they know His will and make a choice not to do it.  Yet the ones who know His will and don’t do it will be punished more severely.  It’s important to know and understand what His will is!

However, we don’t seek to know the will of God for informational purposes only.  We seek to know it, so that we can do it.  It’s not enough to simply call Jesus your Lord.  It’s absolutely necessary for you to do the will of God, in order to become part of Jesus’ family, to enter heaven and live forever.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. The "Thy Will Be Done" paintings © 2012 are by Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Author's note I invite you to visit these related articles of mine: "Is Obedience Optional?", "Obedience by the Spirit,"  "Righteous Deeds and White Robes,"  "Faith Works!," and "Doing What is Right," and Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth? You can access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."  I also recommend the booklet by brother Sadiq Ibraham, called Walking in God's Perfect Will.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.