The Good News - Home
Asking and Receiving Godís Will
By David A. DePra
Every Christian person, indeed, most unbelievers, know that Jesus promised, "Ask, and you shall receive." In fact, if there is one thing we all know for sure, it is that life is filled with NEED Ė and that it is because of those needs that we ASK GOD. Of course, if we really knew the whole story, we would discover that God Himself may have created the need so that we would ask.
Jesus said, "Ask, and you shall receive. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened to you." And then He added, "For EVERYONE who asks, receives. And he that seeks will find. And to him that knocks, it shall be opened." Just to make sure we understand, Jesus then reiterated, Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? " (Matt. 7:7-11)
Iím not sure that these promises could be made more clear, or more certain. Jesus does NOT say, "maybe." He says IF you ask, you SHALL receive.
Hereís the problem: You and I ask for things from God. And the fact is, we DO NOT receive many of them. Now, if you always receive everything you ask from God, well then, Iím glad for you. But I can almost say for certain that every Christian asks God for things and does NOT receive.
Now, what makes this more difficult is that we are often faced with great need, conflict, and confusion. And THEN we ask God. But often THEN we donít receive. Have you ever experienced this? You ask and ask, and there is only silence. And if you have any real honesty about you, it is going to make you wonder: WHY?
Of course, it would be easy to simply get nice and religious, and say, "Well, we cannot expect to understand the ways of the Lord. We have to simply take things by faith and move forward." Well, I suppose one could do that at certain points and do it in faith. I certainly would never insist that we must demand explanations from God, or insist that only that which we understand is of God. But often, this kind of reasoning is a big cop-out. I cannot accept that Jesus would make these tremendous promises, such as, "Ask, and you shall receive," only to mutter under His breath, "But what I really mean is that most of the time you WONíT receive, and you wonít know why you arenít receiving." Such a conclusion is not what the promises say. No. Indeed, Jesus goes as far as to appeal to our own willingness to give to our earthly children. He says that our Heavenly Father is all the much more willing.
If you read the Bible, it is filled with Godís claims about His own faithfulness. In fact, even in this same sermon on the mount from Matthew 7, Jesus tells us we are, "of little faith," if we cannot see the obvious Ė that God is faithful. Indeed, if a relationship with God is possible to LIVE OUT in practical situations, there are going to be many times when we are going to have to TRUST GOD and burn our bridges. We are going to have to risk Ė if we can use that word for a moment Ė everything on God. We will have a choice to trust God or go another way Ė perhaps a safer way.
When we are faced with great need, or a crisis, it is usually then that we are faced with the choice to trust God, or to choose another path Ė one that is the result of giving up hope. In the face of these great promises of God, are we going to say, "Well, I guess it was too much to hope for, that God would actually help me. It is too much to expect that God would intervene and make a way where there is no way."? Are we going to say that? Or are we going to say, "I donít see how God can help me. But He said that He would. I am going to ask, and I am going to receive."
Now, of course, I am not saying that you get to decide WHAT you receive. Nope. What you get to do is ASK. And we are going to talk about what that really means in a minute. But it is an incontrovertible fact that IF WE ASK, we are going to receive. What are we going to receive? Well, we are going to receive Godís answer and Godís solution. Perhaps not OURS. But it will be Godís. And what could be wrong with THAT?
The Will of God
There are many places in the Bible that add to the promises of Jesus, and also which explain His words. For example, we know that the apostle John states that we need to ask, "according to His will." (I John 5:14) Jesus also said, "And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. "(John 14:13-14) Praying, "in the name of Jesus," is one thing Christians always tack onto prayer. But do we really know what these things mean?
Praying in the name of Jesus means that I am praying for whatever Jesus would pray for. It means exactly that Ė nothing more and nothing less. You and I have no authority at all to use the name of Jesus for anything else. The notion that if I add the phrase, "in the name of Jesus," to the end of my prayer, that this somehow legitimizes a prayer that is out of the will of God is nonsense. The name of Jesus is honored on a prayer that Jesus would pray Ė and it does not matter whether I say the word, or scream them otherwise.
This actually ties directly into the promise that if we ask, "according to His will," God will grant our request. How? Well, think about it: Jesus would only pray for GODíS WILL. Nothing more and nothing less. Therefore, praying according to the will of God IS EXACTLY what it means to pray in the name of Jesus, and to pray in the name of Jesus is EXACTLY what it means to pray according to Godís will.
This should not be surprising. For Jesus said, "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. "(John 15:7) Now note: WHOSE words must abide in us, such that when we ASK it will be done? The words of Christ. In other words, our asking is nothing more than HIS WORDS Ė i.e., HIS WILL Ė coming forth out of us to God in prayer. And since the words of Jesus are always the will of God, we are right back to the same principle: That we must be asking God for the will of God.
Hopefully, the Truth about all of this is emerging. God wants to do HIS WILL. And He wants us to ASK for His will. If we do, God is going to do HIS WILL. And NOTHING under heaven can stop Him from doing it!
Now, just in case we donít realize it, by the time we really do ASK God to do His will, Godís will is going to be OUR WILL. Indeed, if Godís will is NOT our will, then we really arenít asking. We arenít praying in the name of Jesus, or praying according to His will. Nope. Everything depends upon our understanding this. TO ASK Ė means that we really want God to bring to pass what we are asking. We know that it is right, and we know that it is His will.
This is also verified in the sermon on the mount. Jesus said:
But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not you therefore like unto them: for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him. After this manner therefore pray: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matt. 6:7-13)
Jesus said in this passage that God already knows what we need BEFORE we ask Him. And yet we must ask. So HOW are we to ask God for what He already knows? Well, we are to ask, "Thy kingdom come, and Thy will be done." Note that. We are to take our need before God and ask Him to bring His kingdom into that need, and to do His will regarding that need.
In this we also see an indication as to WHY God wants us to ASK HIM for what He already knows we need. Obviously, this is not a matter of God making beggars out of us towards Him. Hardly. We just quoted how Jesus said our Father is more willing to give to us than we are to give to our natural children. So WHY must we ask of God before we can receive?
Because to ASK God for the will of God Ė especially for HIS WILL in our need Ė requires that something has happened in ME. Think about this. If God has a will for me, and I have a need, and God knows my need, what has to happen before I am able to ask God to do HIS WILL in my need? Well, I have to surrender to God. I have to believe God. Or, if you will, I must BECOME the will of God Ė I must come to the place where I truly WANT the will of God. Then I can sincerely ASK God to do His will.
We have to absolutely rid ourselves of the notion that we can ask God to do something we WILL Him to do, pray for it in the name of Jesus, and expect that God is going to answer. He isnít. Instead of trying to GET God to do something we think He ought to do, we need to seek HIS WILL, and pray that He would bring that to pass. The FIRST thing God will do, in that case, is begin to make me compatible with His will.
Giving to God
So many Christians have this whole thing backwards. We focus on what we can GET from God. Instead, we ought to focus on what GOD WANTS. Now, of course, if God gets what HE wants, we will be blessed. But natural thinking is blind to this.
Christian lives are to be for Godís glory and His will. The two always go together: Where His will is fulfilled, He is glorified. But notice what we usually do: We live for ourselves, and believe that this is what God wants us to do. We continually decide for God what His will ought to be, and pray unto that end. Ironically, we even believe that this is what God wants us to do. Somehow we get things so turned around that without realizing it, that we think God is here to service our life, and give us things as a reward for us trusting Him. Rather, we should be giving ourselves to God, and refuse to settle for anything less than His will and glory. If we would do this, we would both BECOME the will of God, and SEE the will of God come to pass in our lives every time.
In this day and age of, "name it and claim it," where we are taught that it is Godís will to make His will OUR will, and give us what we want Ė this Truth might seem revolutionary. But it is not. It is business as usual for God. God has a will. He wants to bring it to pass. But He will not bring it to pass until individuals become vessels for His glory, and get to the place where they will DO His will, and truly ASK Him to bring it to pass at all costs in their lives.
If you want to be absolutely certain that the will of God is done in your life, this is how: Refuse to settle for less. And hand yourself over to God for whatever it takes for Him to MAKE you His will. This covers all the bases.
Now, of course, if you do that, there is going to be a process necessary. God doesnít just go ZAP and turn you into His will. YOU must change. But if you continue to surrender to God in that way God will have His will because He will have you. He will get all the glory. You will get the benefit.
Turning to God
When we are in great need it is often the time when God is trying to teach us the Truth on this matter. When we have a great need, we usually pray and pray that God would fulfill the need. But have you noticed how God often does NOT do so? In fact, how silent and aloof He can be at the times when you need Him the most? The temptation is to think that God has forsaken you, or that you have unconsciously forsaken God. But no. God has a will and purpose He is trying to adjust you for, so that He can bring it to pass. You may still be working towards another end. In short, God wants YOU to become one who is so at one with Him that you have BECOME His will. Then He can bring His will. And of course, with Godís will, is all that you need.
There are many other ways to say this same thing: God has to tear down our kingdom as He builds HIS up Ė in us. God has to make us TRUE if we are to know the Truth. God has to form us together with Christ if we are to walk with Christ. But if you examine all of these, they all come back to a RELATIONSHIP with God Ė rather than THINGS we get from God, and rather than a religious pattern.
One of the biggest fears some Christians have is that their great need is evidence that they are out of the will of God. The trouble is, they donít know where they got out, or how to get back in. But this is all useless worry. First of all, if you ARE out of the will of God, you can get back in by simply turning to God and asking Him to do IN YOU whatever is necessary to bring you back in! Your turning, in and of itself, IS THE WILL OF GOD. Do we think that we are ever on our own Ė such that we are supposed to GUESS at the will of God? Or that God is sitting up in heaven waiting for us to get things figured out before He will help us? No. The most deceived person in the world is back on the road to Truth the moment they unconditionally turn to God. Indeed, the deception is when we donít turn to God.
Remember the time when Jesus said that He was going to the Father, and the disciples complained that they did not know the way? He answered them, "I am the Way." In other words, there isnít A way to God, or A way back to God Ė there is no method, formula, religious pattern, or even a thought pattern. There is only CHRIST. You can turn your heart to God through Christ, and based upon what Christ has done at any time Ė without anything else necessary. When you do, you are immediately in the will of God Ė for you are IN THE WAY. And any confusion or deception, indeed, any adjustments necessary in you, will begin. This is not only a privilege, but it is necessary. There is no other way to turn to God except through Christ by faith.
But you see, we think this applies only to salvation. We donít think that as Christians it can be that simple. So we search for the right religious method Ė and oh, yes, we search for it right out of the Bible. People devise this or that pattern and say, "This is how to reach God. This is how to plug into Godís will." People will tell you to give money, submit to authority, pray this prayer or that prayer, partake of some anointing, or join the right church. No Ė none of these things are going to work. Iím not saying we donít have to obey God. But I am saying that all obedience is to be the outcome of being rightly related to God by faith in Christ. You have to turn to Jesus as THE ONLY WAY, and then, if you do, everything else, including obedience, emerges from that. But bypass Christ and try to obey, or try to find another way to be right with God, and you will never come into the Truth.
Jesus said, "I am the Truth." Jesus is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. He followed up by saying, "No one comes to the Father except by Him." (see Jn. 14:6) But for many Christians this is merely a doctrine Ė and applies only for salvation. No. It applies to ALL situations in which we want to turn to God; come to God. We donít turn to God through a way or religious method. Rather, we turn through Christ by faith.
Now, contrast this over and against what we usually think Ė that if we DO the right thing, that we have plugged into God, and that God is then with us. No. For you will quickly discover the flaw in such thinking: How do you know, "the right thing," to do? Furthermore, you are going to find out that even if you do the right thing Ė obedience, etc., -- that often it doesnít solve anything. Thus, the solution here is to refuse the suggestion that you are separated from God until you do the right thing. Instead, abide in God through Christ BY FAITH Ė to the disregard of doing. Get that settled Ė you are one with God through Christ alone and NOTHING can separate you from Him. THAT is what it means to come Ė to ABIDE -- through Christ who is THE WAY. Any doing or obedience will follow.
No matter how much I might think I am out of Godís way at some point of my life, I can be assured that if I am in Christ I am in THE WAY Ė for HE is THE Way. By abiding in Him by faith FIRST everything else will come.
And what does it mean to abide in Christ by faith? It means to believe that you are IN HIM, and He is IN YOU Ė because of what HE has done. Not because of anything you must do. This is the foundation of grace, is it not? You wonít get far until to start with the right foundation.
We can turn to God in a moment. And if we do, we are IN THE WAY. We cannot know the Truth until we turn to THE TRUTH. We cannot be in the Way until we turn to THE WAY. A little child can do it. The problem is, we think it requires great brains.
As easy as it sounds to simply turn to God through Christ, this is often the most difficult thing for us to do. Why? Because we donít believe. We continue to think that we must come to God carrying some merit. If we donít think we need to come with works, then we think we need to come with faith Ė faith, to us, often meaning emotional assurance, rather than real faith. So we present this or that to God, and He doesnít respond. So we try harder. Lost on us is the fact that God is not waiting for us to present to Him better credentials. He is trying to get us to where we realize we have NO credentials, and simply come based on the Person of Jesus Christ.
Take note of your approach to God. Do you come to Him with a religious veneer? Do you find yourself praying what you think He wants to hear? Instead of being open, honest, and totally vulnerable, do you approach God being afraid of Him? Do you find yourself feeling as if you arenít reaching Him at all, and then getting angry, frustrated, or even coming to the point of despair? Do you think you are the first person to ever experience such things?
I will promise you something: If you have given your life to Christ, there is nothing that can separate you from God. Nothing except ONE thing: The lie that tells you that you are separated from God. In that case, you are really NOT separated from Him, but if you believe you are, you might as well be, at least from your end of things. You will act like you are, feel like you are, and even begin to live like you are. You may even blame God for forsaking you Ė when, in fact, the problem is with YOU. You are believing a lie.
We are here talking about the very foundation of the Redemption Ė about the very Truth of the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Until THIS is settled, everything else is going to be disrupted. You know that is true. The moment you believe God has forsaken you, everything crumbles. But if you have assurance that He is with you, there is a wholeness. It may not solve specifics, but the foundation is there. And that is vital. The good news is that Godís faithfulness to you never was dependent upon you. It was always dependent upon Him. And He is always faithful.
Then why does it often feel Ė at certain seasons of life Ė that God is not with us? That when we pray, it simply bounces off the ceiling back to us? It feels that way Ė and FEELS is the right word Ė because we are looking at the OUR reactions in OUR flesh and using those reactions and feelings to determine whether God is there, or how God feels. But in truth, when you talk to God and feel a certain way Ė that is YOU. It is not GOD.
This works in human relationships the same way. We think we correctly perceive how someone feels about us Ė and what we use to determine that is OUR feelings towards them. How many times must we be wrong about this before we learn? It is ever more so about God. Do you and I actually believe that how we feel when we pray to God is how God feels towards us? I mean GOOD or BAD? Canít we see that this is US creating God in our own image Ė out of the image of our own feelings?
So much of how we react to God, and what we believe about Him, is nothing more than our own character and flesh life creating a picture of God. We do this without even knowing it. We get afraid of God and so we think God is one who incites fear. We want our own way with God, and so we think God is against us. On and on it goes. At some point, the Holy Spirit must convince us that there is no Truth in us, and that we cannot call Truth from out of our emotions, flesh, or soul life. Truth must be revealed to us from the outside in. Not many Christians even believe that anymore. But it is basic to Christianity.
So how does God solve this dilemma? Well, often He must reduce us to where we are finally convinced that none of this religious, soulish stuff, works. He has to bring us to the end of ourselves. Of course, this is so EASY to say, and to memorize as a doctrine, isnít it Ė it is so easy to go around preaching, "God wants to bring us to the end of ourselves." But the question is whether He HAS. And whether we are letting HIM. This brings us back to unconditional surrender. Ask God to bring you to the end of yourself, no matter what it takes. He will. It will take some time. But He will do it.
Everyone knows that, "without faith it is impossible to please God." And we know that we must have faith if we want God to answer our prayers. But have you ever noticed, given these facts, what we often end up doing? Well, we TRY TO HAVE FAITH. Yep. We TRY to have faith. Once you know you are supposed to believe, well, then you will TRY to believe. But if you havenít figured it out yet, you cannot TRY to have faith. Why? Because, by definition, faith isnít something you can TRY. You either have it or you donít.
Earlier, I stated that God has a will, and that He wants to bring His will to pass, first IN US, and then THROUGH US. I mentioned that we cannot pray IN THE NAME OF JESUS for anything except what Jesus would pray for Ė and that Jesus prays only for the WILL OF GOD. Not we can more clearly bring in the issue of FAITH. Have we realized that THE FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST can be ONLY for the will of God?
This is an absolute certainty. I cannot have the faith of Jesus Christ for anything except for that which Jesus has faith for. Another way of saying the same thing is that the Holy Spirit is in NOTHING except the will of God, and so you cannot have faith for anything except the will of God. To do so would mean you are OUT of sync with the Holy Spirit.
So what we are seeing is that THE WILL OF GOD, the FAITH OF JESUS, and the work God wants to do in us to MAKE US His will Ė these all agree. They are all the SAME purpose of God being worked out. God is working out HIS WILL. These are the aspects.
If God wants to MAKE ME into an expression of His will, then it follows that God is going to make me into an expression of the FAITH OF JESUS Ė which is always for the will of God. I will then be ASKING for God to do HIS WILL Ė because my life will already be an expression of His will; I shall have surrendered to Him for His will. MY will is going to be swallowed up by the will of God.
Now take note of something here. When we surrender our will to God, and ask Him to make us His will, we are not going to spend the rest of our lives continually striving with God over this. No. If my surrender is real, then slowly but surely Godís will is going to become MINE Ė even if I donít know the specifics of His will as it pertains to me. I am going to truly desire Godís will Ė to the complete disregard of anything I might want. I will do this voluntarily, and joyfully, without any grudge, or without any second-guessing of God.
All of this is, of course, faith. I believe. But I want to get back to the question at hand: How do we come to the place where the faith of Jesus is actually operating in us? How do we get to the point where, instead of TRYING TO BELIEVE, we actually believe?
Well, think about it. Why do you believe anything? You believe based on what has been revealed to you, and upon what you conclude is true. Even in the physical world this is a fact. You believe because you have observed, learned, and concluded that something is the truth. Now, you can be deceived or wrong. But if you have concluded something is a fact, you do BELIEVE IT.
What this means is that before you can believe a fact, that fact must be presented to you. You cannot believe a fact that is unrevealed to you Ė that is, you cannot believe anything that is OUTSIDE of your knowledge. I cannot believe until I KNOW to believe, and I cannot believe unless there is something there TO believe. Thus, in a very real sense, faith in anything requires the revelation of that same thing.
If I asked you, "Do you believe in quasa-moristic zithum?," how would you answer? Well, I hope you would be lost, because I just made up that term. There is no such thing. But if I asked the same question about something real, and you never heard of it, you would still be lost. You cannot believe if you have no frame of reference. You cannot believe when you donít know to believe. Belief Ė or, if you will, response of any kind Ė requires revelation.
Now, Iíve said all of this to get to a point with regards to God. And that point is this: You cannot believe anything about God, or believe the Truth, unless it is first revealed to you. You cannot.
This is totally in line with what the Bible says. Paul writes, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God." (Rom. 10:17) Turn that around for clarity. It says, "The Word of God is necessary for hearing, and hearing is necessary for faith." Can we see from this that the end product of FAITH requires the initiative of God to speak His Word to us? That faith requires revelation? Sure. Now, revelation doesnít guarantee faith. It makes it possible, IF we hear. But you cannot TRY TO HAVE FAITH if there is no Word of God given to you that you might believe.
There are other places in scripture that tell us how this works. But all of them go back to what we have already seen about the will of God. God has a will. And He wants to bring His will to pass IN US, and THROUGH us. So He begins by speaking it to us Ė by revealing to us His will. Of course, God is actually revealing to us HIMSELF. But often it is a Word or revelation in our hearts. It is often a point of moral accountability. It is at that point that we now have what we need to believe. God has initiated contact. How will we respond?
The Bible says that we will either HEAR Ė which means to open ourselves to God Ė or we will harden our hearts. If we hear, faith will emerge.
The allegory of a SEED is inescapable here, and really, Jesus used SEEDS to illustrate faith so often in His parabolic teaching. God plants a seed Ė HIS WILL and HIS WORD Ė into our hearts. If we hear His word, then it is as if the soil of our hearts embraces His word. It takes root, and eventually bears fruit.
Look at what this means: It means that from start to finish, this is ALL about the will of God. God speaks His will and His purpose. It is His Word, if we are open and HEAR, that takes root. It is His Word that results in faith Ė which is another way of saying that that we are to BECOME His will. Godís will Ė indeed, Godís LIFE that is in that seed Ė is that from which everything else springs Ė including everything that we become. Indeed, OUR FAITH is born out of the word God has planted in us.
Now, if you really look at what is happening here, it ought to completely revolutionize your walk with Christ. Can we see that FAITH Ė if it is real Ė does not originate from us as the source? Sure, we must hear; we must align our wills with Godís will and word. We DO have a part, because the soil is our heart. But this is not us creating faith. No. Rather, wrapped up in the seed, or WILL OF GOD Ė is the very faith that is necessary FOR the will of God. In other words, the only reason you CAN believe the Word of God, and believe for the WILL of God, is because that SAME Word of God carried all the potential FOR faith the moment God spoke it. This is exactly why you cannot have faith for anything except for the will of God. It is the will of God that works faith INTO YOU!
God wants to birth faith in us! But faith cannot be birthed in us unless His will is being birthed in us. The faith of Jesus Christ is only for the will of God, and if we are in the will of God, the faith of Jesus Christ is going to be there every time. But if we are not in the will of God, the faith of Jesus Christ will NEVER be there. This is an absolute spiritual principle.
There is no thought in the Bible anywhere that you are I are expected to figure out the will of God and then somehow generate the faith from ourselves necessary to bring it to pass. There is no concept that faith is a FORCE, or that we are expected to generate this force and make things happen. No. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God, which means surrender to Him, and the entire possibility of hearing to begin with is dependent upon God speaking His will to us. If God doesnít move to reveal His will or speak His Word Ė if God doesnít take the initiative, then we donít have anything TO believe, and we might as well, as I illustrated earlier, invent our own truths, and terms, and then try to believe them.
Now, what we are able to see in all of this is again that God has a will and that God wants to bring His will to pass IN US and THROUGH US. Anything we want, or that we think, isnít even in the picture. No. This is about GODíS WILL, not ours. God is not confused or making this up as He goes along. GOD HAS A WILL. And God will initiate to bring His will to pass by first planting it as a seed in our hearts. The Holy Spirit will then bring us to the place where we must choose to surrender to God Ė to HEAR HIM Ė or refuse to hear Him. At this point, I donít think it is usually much more than simply turning to God. Of course, this doesnít happen in a vacuum Ė it is usually worked out along some practical line in our every day living. As we turn to God, and seek His will, we BECOME His will Ė that is, the faith for the will of God comes to birth in us, and we grow into a greater revelation of God Himself, and of His will in specific matters.
But can we see that all of this came from the SAME SEED Ė that wrapped up in the Word of God that He planted in us was the faith necessary? You cannot separate FAITH from the will of God. Again Ė you cannot have the faith of Jesus for anything except for that which Jesus has faith for, and Jesus has faith for ONLY the will of God!
This ought to be good news. For what it means is that instead of trying to figure out Godís will, we need only surrender to God Himself. Instead of trying to guess, and then instead of, "trying to have faith," we need only surrender to God Himself for His will, and the faith will be there. Indeed, that is the only place where any real faith lives Ė within the will of God.
Now, of course, someone might ask, "Well, it almost sounds as if you have to have faith in order to have faith. You said we must hear the Word of God for faith to be born. So how do you hear unless you already have faith? Which comes first faith, or hearing?"
Good question. Easy answer. "To each man is given a measure of faith." If you know enough to turn to God, you have some faith. And that is enough to turn to God when you begin to know to turn to Him in a specific matter. This is especially true if you are a Christian. If you have Christ in you, you have the Holy Spirit in you, and if God plants the seed of His will in you, you are capable of hearing and turning. You do have at least that much faith through the new birth. And if you do hear and turn you BECOME THE WILL OF GOD Ė and the faith necessary for the will of God will be there in you.
How different is the Truth of God from some of the stuff taught today? A great need today is that Christians seek the will of God Ė instead of being taught that God will make His will ours, if we pray hard enough! No. God has a will. We must BECOME His will. We need to be adjusted to HIM.
Spiritual warfare is always about the will of God. That is why most teaching in the Bible about it makes the battle of spiritual warfare the battle of FAITH. Faith is always about standing in, and refusing to move from, the will of God.
Here we begin to see why VICTORY in spiritual warfare is certain IF we stand in the will of God. If I realize that God has a will, and that He intends to have it, first IN ME, and then THROUGH me, I can stand by faith because I will realize that the victory doesnít depend upon ME. It depends upon God. My part is to stand by faith. How can I lose?
In Christ, God has ALREADY WON. Get that. This is a finished victory, now being worked out in the hearts and lives of Godís people. The victory isnít in question Ė whether we believe is in question. Thus, if we believe, and stand, His victory will be realized for us.
The Word of God cannot fail. The will of God cannot fail. Thus, if I am becoming His will through the seed of His Word in me, His will cannot fail to come to pass in me. Greater is HE that is in me Ė Jesus Christ Ė than he that is in the world. You cannot lose.
So what is the problem? The number one problem with Christian people, as it pertains to spiritual warfare is, yes, we donít believe the victory is finished. But really, the bigger problem is that we donít personally surrender to God. Rather, we hold things like His finished victory, and the need to surrender, as theological teachings.
The only way you will ever enter into the victory of Jesus Christ by actual experience is by surrendering personally to Jesus Christ and letting Him have full victory over YOU. You are wasting your time otherwise. You can pray, cry, praise Him, jump up and down, memorize all the passages about victory, and do a thousand good works, but in the end, you must personally surrender to God and personally COME UNDER His will, if there is to be any real victory in your life, let alone any real faith to stand in His victory.
Remember what we saw about the seed God plants. It wants to invade all of you. It is the source of faith and victory in YOU. But you must HEAR it Ė that is, come under it. In short, you must come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If you donít come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ then how can you reign and rule with Him IN His Lordship over the enemy? It is a fact that spiritual warfare stands or falls on this one point Ė is Jesus YOUR personal Lord?
To the extent that I am surrendered to God and dependent upon Him I will be strong in His victory. I cannot have faith or live in victory if He does not have victory over me. I must HEAR the Word of God if there is to come of that seed God plants any harvest.
If you see the Truth in all of this, you see that the way we resist the Devil is primarily by submitting to God. Now, of course, we all start out saying we want to submit. But the warfare arises when we are tested. Thus, we must continually stand and believe.
The question is therefore, WHAT are we to stand FOR? Well, for Godís will, which is always victory. We are to stand in the assurance that God has a will, and that He wants to bring it to pass in us and through us, and that there is nothing that can prevent this from happening Ė once I am committed for nothing less. If you unconditionally commit yourself to BECOME Godís will, and to DO Godís will, and for Him to do HIS WILL in your life, whatever it takes Ė and if you ASK Him for that, and stand in that, and believe for that Ė and then continue to stand against all opposition Ė then Godís will is going to happen. It is certain.
God can do anything He wants anytime He wants. But He wants to do His will in and through us. He wants US to be an expression of His will. So God will begin by planting the seed of His will in us. Then we must HEAR and submit step by step. In time the faith will be there to BECOME Godís will. And then to DO and EXPRESS Godís will. This is all a process that Satan will oppose. Most often, he will suggest that God doesnít care enough to have a will for you. Or he will point to the fact that God hasnít done anything to try to prove to you that you are wasting your time. But no. God has a will Ė if there is one thing that is for sure, it is that. Thus, you cannot lose if you settle for nothing less against all opposition. It will happen Ė in you and through you.
To ASK God to do His will implies surrender to God Himself. You many not know what Godís will IS, but you are surrendering to Him for WHATEVER it is, and for WHATEVER it takes to bring it to pass. You arenít asking otherwise.
This is why Jesus told us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, and Thy will be done." We are asking God to tear down our kingdoms and our will, and everyone elseís, and to bring His will to pass. The first place God will begin is in our hearts.
God already knows what He wants to do in our lives Ė and I am not so much talking here about THINGS. Iím talking about what God wants to do as to RELATIONSHIP with His Son. God knows what He wants and how He wants to accomplish this. It all begins when God plants His seed in us Ė through the living Word. And then, as we hear, the faith will be there Ė but only for Godís will. And if we continue to stand and believe, we will become the will of God, and the will of God will come to pass through us. This all begins with GODíS WILL for HIS GLORY. Along the way, however, if our will was not quite His, our will becomes His -- this is also the outcome of ASKING for God's will. And because it does, God is able to give us all that we need because we are submitted to His will.
In the Christian walk, absolute victory is assured through the coming to pass of Godís will in Jesus Christ. What is required is that we ASK, SEEK, AND KNOCK Ė become those who truly desire that Godís will be done. And then believe and obey, refusing to settle for nothing less than Godís will and glory.
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