PART 3 TESTIMONY

Chapter4

                       

WhatIs God’s Will or Plan for My Life?

 

What is God’s will or plan for yourlife? There are two ways we could answer this. The first is the general meaninginvolving certain spiritual attainments to which God would have each of usaspire. The second is the particular plan which involves the Holy Spiritworking individually in each of our lives to provide us with guidance in manyareas. That would include financial, friendships, marriage partner, where weshould reside geographically, conviction of sin, illumination of Scripture,exercising our spiritual gifts, etc. Which one should we focus on initially? Ibelieve the general one. Why? Because as you will see, if we are able toparticipate in God’s general plan, this will provide for us with the properfoundation for His individual plan for each life.

 

God’s General Plan.

 

What are thosespiritual attainments which are considered as a part of God’s general plan forour life?

 

We will begin in the book of Romans.

 

Be conformed tothe image of his Son

Suggested Reading:Romans 8:29-30

29 For whom he didforeknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son,that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

 

God the Father knew beforehand (foreknowledge),who would respond to His invitation of salvation by repenting and believing inHis Son as to who He is and what He has accomplished. Therefore, He chose (elected)whosoever beforehand (before they were ever born). In time, God instituted Hisplan called predestination. This involves many events, as well as thedecisions that mankind will make, especially concerning salvation. The goal ofpredestination is for people to become saved, and subsequently, be conformed tothe image of His Son.

    

If we were living during the timewhen Israel first became a nation, the Age of Israel, we would be talking aboutGod executing a plan through the institution of the Mosaic Law that would allowthe Jews to believe in Him as He was revealed. But because we are living duringthe time of the church, we will be talking about a plan that has to do withpeople responding to the Gospel message. In this dispensation, once a person issaved, one of God’s desire for him/her is to be conformed to the image of His Son.

 

What does it mean for a Christianto be conformed to the image of God’s Son?

 

The word conformed refers tothe process of sanctification, whereby the saint is transformed in his innerheart life to resemble.36 To resemble what? Toresemble the image of God’s Son. This word image refers to character.Where is this idea of character derived from in Scripture? It is found in Galatians5:22-23.

 

But the fruit ofthe Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness,temperance: against such there is no law.

 

The word fruit means theSpirit’s influences, spiritual qualities, the graces of the Spirit which relateto Christian character, or the unity of the character of the Lord.

 

So, there you have it. One of thegoals of God’s plan for us is that we would be conformed (i.e., atransformation would take place in our inner heart life) whereby we resemblethe image (the likeness; the character) of the Lord. The character refers tothe fruit, the graces, or spiritual qualities of the Holy Spirit.

 

What else is considered a part ofGod’s general plan for our life?

 

Please go to the book of 1Thessalonians.

 

For this is thewill of God

1 Thessalonians4:1-4

1 Furthermore thenwe beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye havereceived of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound moreand more.

2 For ye know whatcommandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.                                                                                                                

 

Paul declared to the saints of thechurch at Thessalonica that as they received (learned) from him, Silvanus, andTimotheus as to how they ought to walk (behave toward one another) so as toplease God, the hope for this quality of life would abound (increase) more andmore. He then reminded them to recall the commandments (the instructions)regarding personal purity (as to how they should live). And then he proceededto tell them the will of God for their lives.

 

3 For this is thewill of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

 

The will or plan of God for theirlives is their sanctification (that they should be holy).

 

How is this accomplished?

 

4 That every oneof you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

 

This is accomplished when each ofthem is able to learn and know how37 to possess (be controlledthrough God’s power; gain mastery over; exercise self-control over) his vessel(his body; sexual desires) in sanctification (behavior that is set apart to theLord in its motivation) and honor (recognized by others as intrinsically worthyof respect38).

    

While we are not told how topossess (gain mastery over) our body (sexual desires), we are told that this isGod’s will or plan for every life.

 

There is one more very importantspiritual reality that is God’s general will or plan.

    

This is found in the book of Ephesians.

 

Be filled with thespirit

Ephesians 5:18 Andbe not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit

 

We are commanded to be filled withthe Spirit. The word filled refers to the believer being under theSpirit’s control. It also suggests the idea that this condition occurs becausethe believer has yielded him/her self to Him. And when we are yielded to Him,He is said to control us in our mind, emotions, and will.39 As welearn how to consistently be under His control, we will increasingly manifestHis fruit, i.e., love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,meekness, and temperance.

    

This doesn’t tell us how we get tobe yielded to Him, but what it does convey to us is when we are, we will beevidencing to others His fruit (graces; spiritual qualities of character).

 

Some would saythere is so much more to what God’s general will or plan is for our life. Theywill stress obedience to God’s Word as it pertains to street witnessing,prayer, laying down our lives for one another, visiting the orphan and widows,giving financially, etc. While I would agree that we should be responsive tothese opportunities to express Christ-likeness to others, I would also contendthat without learning how to be conformed to the image of God’s son, how tohave mastery over our sexual desires, and how to be filled with the Spirit allthe actions that we attempt to perform will be done in self-power according tothe inclinations of the flesh. Instead of revealing Christ-likeness to others,we will only reveal the person we used to be before we were saved. So, what wereally are talking about here is our testimony; is it reflective of the old sinnature or the new spiritual nature?

    

Does your testimony come fromobedience to God’s Word and translate to doing this or doing that? Or shouldour testimony start from within? Being transformed from within will revealChrist-likeness in everything we do. A lack of inward transformation willexpose what appear to be Godly actions before those in leadership and ourfellow believers but will be void of Godly character that exemplifies the fruitof the Spirit.

    

Now that you know what the generalwill or plan of God is for your life, let’s take a look at an attempt toaddress the second part of the final comment that someone who attendedthe Hillsong church ministry expressed in the article, “Sex Abuse & GayConversion Therapy: The Dark Past of Justin Bieber’s Megachurch Hillsong”.40The second part of the final comment is, there are people who don’trecognize that any relationship that I have with a man … would be full of love,equal to any other.41 In this case, we need to know the specifics of God’s plan. This believer (a male) was sayingthat he considered his relationship with a man as being part of God’s plan.When we become saved, there are a lot of things that we are not sure about asto whether we should continue in them or not. Am I allowed to continue to drinkalcohol? Am I allowed to get a divorce? What about having a relationshipoutside of marriage?

    

Wheredo we find the answers to these questions? We find them in four avenues: (1)attending a church that teaches on these topics (2) reading Christian books (3)watching a pertinent video on such (4) our own study of the scriptures.

    

The question we are really attempting to answer based onthe second part of this believer’s comment is, what is God’s perspectiveconcerning sexual relationships now that we have become a Christian?

 

When Jesus said, to love one another, as I have loved youin John 15:12, does this mean that the love we should be operating in condonesfornication, adultery, homosexuality, pedophilia, etc.?

 

Like any other question that you orI have, the answer should be found in the scriptures. The Epistles,which are letters written to the fledgling churches and individual believers inthe earliest days of Christianity contains answers to what constitutes sinfulbehavior, how we are to act toward fellow believers and unbelievers, and how wecan grow spiritually.

 

Are you ready to take a look atwhat the Word of God says and find out what it means to love one another withGod’s love.

 

Endnotes

 

36Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek NewTestament.

37Robertson’s New Testament.

38The Bible Exposition Commentary/NewTestament.

39The Bible Exposition Commentary/NewTestament.

40Sex Abuse & Gay Conversion Therapy.

41Sex Abuse & Gay Conversion Therapy.

    

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What is God's general plan for my life?
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