It is God's will for you to do whatever you want.
Last week in Crosswalk I asked the teens to submit questions they've have about God, the Bible, Christianity, etc. They could ask anything that they've wondered about and we would talk through them as a group on an upcoming Wednesday night. Even without having any prior notice, the teens came up with some great questions. They were so good that I decided to post the questions and our discussions about them here for future reference and for anyone else who may be interested.
Because it is obviously my goal for this post to go viral, I have done what I've seen demonstrated on every viral blog post to date: begin with a seemingly controversial title that turns out to be very misleading in the end. Hence the title of this post. This is, however, how I opened Crosswalk last night: It is God's will that you do whatever you want. I believe this is true...
But only in the correct context. *
It is a common thing for Christian teenagers, as well as adults, to wonder about what God's will is for their life. This question is asked in regards to major life decisions like who should I date, where I should go to college, and what job should I pursue. It is also asked regarding less-pivotal, everyday decisions like should I watch this movie, should I continue to invest in this relationship, or how can I honor my parents in this specific situation. I believe the answer to all of these questions, both those big and small, is to do whatever you want.
As a group we put three caveats on this idea. After all, there are times where doing what we want to do will obviously not follow the will of God. There are a few things that must be true of us first:
1. In order to do God's will you must be saved by grace, through faith (Isa 64:6; 1 Tim 2:3; Heb 11:6).
It is God's will that we have a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus. Without that being true, even our good deeds don't measure up and we cannot honor Him with our decisions. Therefore, if you want to follow God's will for your life, start by getting your heart right and be ultimately reconciled with God through the blood of Christ.
2. In order to do God's will, you must be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2).
Paul tells us specifically that in order to discern God's will and know what is good, acceptable, and perfect, your mind must become more like His mind. Over and over in Scripture we read about how man's wisdom does not measure up to God's wisdom and the two seem foolish to each other. We will not be able to understand and follow God's will for our lives if our thinking is still governed by our flesh. We must immerse our minds in the perspective of God as revealed through His Word. The more our minds are transformed, the easier it will be to know and follow His will for our lives.
3. In order to do God's will, you must follow His commands (1 Thes 4:3; 5:18; Eph 4:25-5:15).
In certain instances, the Bible is very specific when it comes to God's will. For example, 1 Thessalonians 4:3 states that it is God's will that we refrain from all sexual sin. Chapter 5:18 tells us that it is His will for us to give thanks in all circumstances. When we talk about knowing what God's will is, we are usually talking about things like what job should I take, whom should I marry, or where should I go to college. We don't often think about refraining from sin and being thankful. Yet, in searching for God's will, why would we ignore specific passages that directly tell us what His will is? God doesn't want us to be ignorant of what He wants from us or for us, but we have to be willing to conform to what He directly states.
In the end, if these three things are true of you, then do whatever your want! Once you are the person God wants you to be, you will choose what God wants you to choose, and you will do what God wants you to do. Your desires will conform to His desires and you will truly be able to do whatever you want.
*Note: Our discussion here will be limited to making decisions which honor God according to His will. The goal was to help the teens make God-honoring choices. Space nor practicality allow for exploration of God's sovereign ability to use all events, both moral and immoral, to accomplish His will. If you'd like to read about that avenue of the topic, have one of the teens submit it as a question.