Being Willing to Follow God’s Will

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One of the most difficult things required of the Christian is to surrender one’s own will and commit to following God’s will. Here are some guidelines to understanding God’s will for you and using your free will.

Using your free will to love God

God gave all human beings free will. We are not robots and are able to make our own choices. God desires to be loved out of our autonomous free will not because he is forcing us to or programmed us to as an instinct.

Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was.

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

–Matthew 22:36-40

While we are commanded to love God, we aren’t forced to. We retain our free will. However, when we do truly love God with all our heart, we establish communion with God and the Trinity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

To “Love the Lord God with all your heart…Soul and…Your mind” means putting God first. It means having a loving heart that is in accord with God’s law. It means reflecting the love of God in all we do. 

How do you follow the will of God?

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

–Romans 12:2 

When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, he instructed:

“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, *your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.'”

–Matthew 6:9-10 (*bold emphasis added)

Following God’s will means doing things and living in a certain way not because we have to, but because we love God. We keep God’s commandments because we love God.

Following God’s will means putting all our trust in God.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

– Proverbs 3:5-6

Some people do things, not because they want to, but due to obligation or because it’s their job. Two people can be doing the same task with one grumbling the entire time, and the other whistling and enjoying themselves. Clearly, the second person loves what they are doing. It’s not a task or job – it’s a joy. That’s the attitude we need to have with God. We take pleasure in doing His will for us because we love Him.

Not everything God intends for us is pleasurable. However, some of the most profound “learning experiences” of our lives come through difficult times.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

We need to be grateful to God for both our struggles and triumphs. 

We love God and follow His will because we know we can trust God. The Bible tells us:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

– Jeremiah 29:11