There is a huge difference between how a general believer and a wholehearted disciple of Jesus thinks about finding God’s will in their lives, what God wants them to do. The first has his own plans and goals in life, and these plans and goals are often influenced by what the world, his parents or his friends see as great. The last has given up all his plans and entire will, and only wants to do the will of Jesus in everything he does or says. And Jesus gladly shows His will to people who have it like this!
A disciple does it the same way Jesus did
In his daily life, a disciple understands and does things just the way Jesus Himself understood and did things while He was on earth. For example, He said: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” John 5:19 (NLT).
Jesus also never dared to form His own opinions about things and people, and judged from there, but He clearly explained: “I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.” John 5:30 (NLT). Only what the Father spoke in His heart was right for Him, and that was the only thing He was interested in! And a disciple wants to do it just like His Master!
The example of a factory owner
The life of a disciple, which is a person who has given his life completely over to Jesus, can be compared to somebody who owned and ran a factory that wasn’t doing so well, and then gave the whole “factory” over to a new boss, who will now decide what needs to be done. When someone becomes a disciple, he gives his whole “factory” (his life and will) over to the new Boss, who is Jesus Himself. Now Jesus will steer and guide and decide what should be done in and through this “factory” (in and through this person’s life)!
If you have given everything into Jesus’ hands, then you must be very open and honest about everything that is taking place in the “factory”! You cannot do things without discussing it first with your new Boss! You want to know what He thinks is best, and you need His advice in all departments! It can be that you unknowingly still do some things out of habit, but as you work closely with Him and discuss things with Him, He can point it out and then you can make sure you do it the way He wants it to be done in the future.
You cannot just start making a totally different product, and demand new tools and more money to do it, if you have not first discussed it with the Boss and received approval! - No! You can only ask for His support with something if you have discussed it with Him beforehand and got His approval!!
Why doesn’t Jesus answer our prayers?
This example shows how completely wrong we can be when we are not yet wholehearted disciples of Jesus. We plan our own life and decide things according to our own will and desires, often according to what the world sees as great, and then we want Jesus to bless and support our self-will and plans! And, when we meet difficulties, then all of a sudden we want to ask Jesus to help us out and bless what we ourselves wanted to do! It is as if I am asking Him to help me to become great in this world!
And for this reason, life is so hard for many people, and they cannot understand why Jesus is not answering their prayers! It is to such people that Jesus one day will say: “I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws!” Matthew 7:23 (NLT). You cannot serve God and the world!
How do I find God’s will?
James writes that if we want to know God’s will, which is the same as wanting to have wisdom to know what to do, we should simply ask Him! And then He will gladly give it to us without blaming us for our past mistakes. “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:5 (NLT).
But then James also mentions a condition, and that is that my heart should not be divided, wanting to do God’s will on the one hand, while on the other hand wanting to do my own will and not even wanting to give it up! No, I should be prepared to let go (give up) my own will, my likes and dislikes, and instead choose to do God’s will.
“But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” James 1:6-8 (NLT).
If I want to do God’s will and still hang on to my own will, then my loyalty is divided between God and my own will, and then I cannot expect God to show His will to me!
He will work His will in us
Jesus was so willing to do God’s will when He was here on earth, that He was prepared to die on a cross – just to do the will of God! But God raised Him from the dead and made Him alive because He did God’s will!
In Hebrews 13:20 – 21 it is written that the same will happen to us if we die to our own will, if we give up our own will in order to do God’s will. Then “the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead…” will “…make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight...” Then His will becomes clear in my heart and mind! And He gives me faith in it and the power to carry it out.
This is a very special experience! And then God supports what we do. Even if things go against us, we can carry on, because we know that what we are doing is not something we have decided ourselves, but it is something that God has worked in our hearts! And then He gives us all the power and means to carry it out!
It is for this reason that all honour belongs to Him, for it is He who worked it in us, and it is He who gave us the wisdom and power to carry it out. And if people dishonour us when we carry out His will, it is Jesus who is dishonoured – and not us. (1 Peter 4:14.)
The life of a disciple, where we do God’s will every day and carry out His plans, is the most exciting and blessed life that one can live here on this earth!