I believe there to be a grave misconception in the ‘modern’ Christian life concerning the “will of God”. We abstract the concept so much, almost reserve it to a providential act of God – untouched by us – or we dash to the other extreme, and render it manufactured by our own ‘holy’ hands. I have written on this subject before, but I once again came across the concept in a light as voiced by Paul in his salutation to the Romans.
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.
The portion below is excerpted from my phrasal analysis of Romans, but hopefully the truths can still penetrate despite the lack of full context. As to provide some inkling of background, Paul is addressing the Roman believers in the beginning of his letter. He has mentioned his thanksgiving and prayer for them, and now motions to express his desire to visit them.
“A way in the will of God” – Questions flood the readers’ mind. Firstly, how broad is the will of God? Secondly, is the will of God not only composed of the way rather than a way? Can different paths provide the same direction? Thirdly, what is it that Paul means by the ‘will of God’? The first two questions may be hard to consider given the lack of material thus far, but the third question’s answer may be hypothesized. Obviously, first, the will of God is the desired and ultimate path. Paul seeks to make a path, or means, by placing it within the will of God. Therefore, the will of God, and whether the way is ‘in’ it, makes the way navigable. Secondly, and complementarily, the will of God is the standard for whether a follower of God can route a path. A step outside of the will of God is deduced as possible, and not permitted by Paul’s mentioned desires. Thirdly, it is as if the will of God is an ideal, frame of reference, or path’s guidelines that a certain way adheres to, not a specific path itself. Therefore, the way is teleological and relative according to the called one’s liberty and sincere pursuit of Christ. No man can follow it without the Spirit, create it himself, or religiously decree it as the universal standard of the called one’s necessary ministerial path. Conclusively, it seems that the apostle is trying to ultimately live and be led by the Spirit. He is attempting to submit to God’s will, rather than his own path. Further, it portrays and reinforces Paul as a servant to God, his master. He only embarks upon what God leads him to do.
Practical Obedience in Response to the Text: No desire of mine forgoes my submission to the will of God. Primarily, I submit to His plan, and all else falls under this first perspective and action. However, this does not hinder me petitioning God in prayer and laboring to prepare His answering. The will of God does not yield my work; it fuels it. More importantly, my good intentions and morality does not constitute an acceptable path towards heavenly reward. God is my pursuit, and His Spirit is my comforter and ultimate guide. The worst thing I could fall ill to is walking a good path outside the will of God, never finding or seeking God and His unyielding favor.
For further reading:
Wait vs. Work – http://tterzek.tumblr.com/post/14154852849/wait-vs-work
Decision Making and God’s Will – http://tterzek.tumblr.com/post/22329024295/decison-making-and-gods-will