Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”
Understanding God’s Will for your life
Do you know the difference between God’s perfect will and His permissive will. If you are like me the answer is, well kind of. The big question is, which one do you desire to have fulfilled in your life. Inside of us is that daily struggle between the flesh and the Spirit. The flesh thinks it knows what is best for my life and my emotions typically agree with my flesh. That is a huge caution to me when it comes to identifying just what is God’s will for my life. God reminds me that His ways and thoughts are much higher than mine are and can be very different. That tells me that my logic and feelings are very inadequate for making decisions.
What God knows is best and what He desires for each of His children lines up with His perfect will. When I ask for my will to be done based on how I feel or what I perceive is best for me that drives me to pray for that result and that result only. And to feel that God has not answered my prayer if the answer is not yes. God loves us so much He may allow an answer to prayer that is not in His perfect will. That is called God’s permissive will. The big problem is that when we are out of line with God’s will the end result is always without exception bad for us. Even if it lines up with my desires.
The story of Balaam and Balak is a great example. Balak the King had a problem. He saw how God was blessing His people that He had just taken out of Egypt. That meant doom for many groups of people who were populating the promised land. Balak was scared. He was the King of one of those groups. He heard that Balaam was a man of God and God answered his prayers. So he sent a group to Balaam the Prophet to ask him to come with them and to curse the nation of Israel. Balaam went to God and God told him to not go with them and to not curse Israel. Pretty straight forward. But like us Balaam allowed some things to blind him of God’s will.
When Balak heard the news he sent a 2nd group now including many persons of higher positions to influence Balaam. Balaam went back to God with the same request. In Chapter 22 and 23 of Numbers we read the account. Take special note that God told Balaam he could go along with them which reflects His permissive will. He gave Balaam what he desired but it did not line up with His perfect will which was to not go. That one shakes me because it challenges me on how many times I have multiple requests for the same prayer request. Am I also trying to change God’s will from His perfect will to His permissive will? Listen to the danger is doing so.
It notes in Numbers 22 that God was angry. And we have the same God today that answered Balaam. Balak offered Balaam a great sum of money to do so. That’s where the flesh took off running. Balaam saw a great material blessing at his waiting. The Spirit nudged Balaam with the realization that to do so was out of line with God’s will. And so the struggle was on. Just what would he pray for. God’s perfect will and loose the material rewards and maybe even his life or would he ask God for His will to be done? Balaam by not accepting God’s perfect will almost lost his life. If you read about the next events it was only by God’s grace that Balaam lived. That story of his life shakes me. How many times do I not listen to God and only want to accept what I feel is best for me. And those requests may be leading to disaster!
We do have the perfect example of this struggle given to us by Jesus. The human side of Jesus did not want to go through the torture of the cross. Jesus being the only person to ever walk the earth and never sin also was the only person to walk this earth who never requested anything other than…..
Mat 26:42 “Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” ‘