His Will is Simple – Introduction
For people of faith there’s an age old question – What is the Will of God? Today, I’d like to talk a bit about God’s Will. And, by looking at just a few Scriptures, we’ll see that His Will is Simple!
Life today can be so much more complicated, more fast-paced, more…well…just more…than it was for people of ancient times. In our world today things seem to be spinning out of control. Crime is on the rise. The economy has tanked. Drug and alcohol abuse is rampant. Every day, more and more people are just one paycheck away from homelessness. And people keep finding newer and more heinous ways to control, manipulate, hurt, and kill others.
Through it all, we muddle through; asking the same question people have asked for thousands of years…What is God’s Will?
Sickness, war, hunger, poverty, corporate greed, natural disasters, crime, and violence are not God’s Will. Illnesses happen…it’s part of being human. War is born of human fears, a lust for power, and control. Poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, hunger, homelessness, etc. are the result of our own poor choices, or the choices made by others that directly impact our lives. Natural disasters are just that – a part of nature. God isn’t sitting around in heaven thinking, “I’m bored…I think I’ll flood the Mississippi River today.”
So, if these things aren’t God’s Will, what is? We tend to search and search and search for some hidden meaning to it all. We constantly ask ourselves, “Is this God’s Will?” We, for whatever reason, seem to make it all much more complicated that it really is. Scripture provides us with the answer. And guess what…His Will is Simple!
The first thing to remember is that Scripture is not a novel. One complete thought or concept may not be covered in one chapter or a few paragraphs. Like a progressive treasure hunt, sometimes we find separate pieces scattered throughout the various passages that, when pieced together, result in a grand prize.
So, I’d like to take you on a treasure hunt through Scripture to see if we can determine God’s Will.
Our search begins with Matthew 22:37: “Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”” Here, Jesus is telling us that the love of God must be so deep, so integral a part of us, that it becomes the very core of our being – all that we think, feel, and do – our heart, soul, and mind. With this Scripture we know that we are to put God first. But, what does it mean to “love the Lord (our) God?”
Our treasure hunt takes us next to the answer in 1 John 5:3 (a): “For this is the love of God, what we keep His commandments…” Here we learn that keeping our Lord’s commandments is the way we demonstrate our love of God. Cool, we’re off to a good start.
The next question, then, is, “What are we commanded to do?” Our journey takes us to John 15:12 for the answer: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Now, that sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Love one another…period. In fact, turning back to 1 John 5:3 (b) we read, “And His commandments are not burdensome.”
But, what does following Jesus’ commandments have to do with God’s Will?
Returning to our treasure hunt, our search reveals two Scriptures that we need to string together in order to gain a complete understanding. Colossians 2:9 tells us, “For in Him (Jesus) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” In other words, the fullness of God has been made manifest in bodily form in Jesus. In John 10:30, Jesus confirms this when He says, “I and the Father are one.”
Our search has now revealed that Jesus and God are one. This would mean that whatever we do for Jesus we do for God. And, when we follow Jesus’ commandments, we are following God’s commandments.
The next stop in our treasure hunt takes us to Matthew 25:35 & 36: “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”
Now, if we stopped here you might ask, “What does this have to do with loving one another and loving God? The next gem we find in our hunt ties it together for us. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus tells us, “…Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” When we feed those who are hungry, we are feeding Jesus and, through Him,, we’re feeding God. Giving drink to those who are thirsty is giving drink to Jesus and to God. When we clothe those in need, we’re clothing Jesus and God. Visiting the sick and those in prison is the same as visiting and ministering to Jesus and to God Himself.
So far, our treasure hunt through Scripture has revealed that His Will is Simple. We are to love God, and we love God by keeping Jesus commandment to love one another. We love one another and, by extension, Jesus and God, by our actions – clothing the needy, giving food to the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, and visiting the sick and those in prison. It all boils down to kindness and generosity. Yep – it’s pretty simple. But, is there a catch? yes…and here’s where it can get a little tricky. And, here’s where some of us are going to say, “Ah, man…really?”
Notice that Jesus tells us that whatever we do to others, even the “least of these,” we do to Him, and to God. Think about the full implications. It makes us feel good, and we know we’re doing good, when we help those in need…when we’re kind and generous. But, what about those times when we’re not so kind, and not so generous?
When we swear or curse at someone – who are we swearing at or cursing? Jesus, and God!
How about that driver that cut you off; you know, the one you made that obscene hand gesture to? Guess what – you just flipped off Jesus and God!
How about that guy you referred to as an “a-hole”? Yep, you guessed it – you just called Jesus and God an a-hole.
That doesn’t sound much like loving others, or loving God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, does it? And, I know we don’t always think much about swearing or using vulgar language, or flipping someone off. We know it’s not very nice; in fact, it’s pretty rude. But guess what…there’s one last little gem to be found on our treasure hunt. 1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us, “(love) does not behave rudely…(love) thinks no evil.”
We need to keep this in mind. Everything we do or say to others, good or bad, we do and say to Jesus and to God. The next time you’re tempted to call someone an unkind or vulgar name, or you want to flip someone off – stop and think…Do you want to call Jesus that name; do you want to flip off God?
If we want to follow the Will of God, we must remember our treasure hunt. If we want to change the world in which we live, we must begin by changing ourselves. If we want to drive out darkness, we must live in the light of Christ. If we want to do away with hate and evil, we must lives of love. And that love must permeate every single aspect of our lives – our hearts, our souls, and our minds.
We don’t need to make it more complicated than it is. Our treasure hunt through Scripture has revealed God’s Will is Simple! Love must be at the core of every thought, word, and deed. When it is, we will love others as Jesus’ loves us, and we will love God with all our hearts, our souls, and our minds.
I’d like to close with a short story. Different versions have been around for years, but the basics are the same in every version.
An old cobbler had a dream that the Lord would come to visit and be his guest. Rising with the morning sun, he began preparing for the Lord’s visit – decorating his shop, putting out flowers, setting the table with linens and candles, and laying out a feast of milk, honey, and bread. And he waited.
While he was waiting, a beggar came down the street. He was barefoot, walking through the pouring rain. The cobbler called the man in and gave him a pair of shoes.
A little later, an old woman came by, stooped over from the weight of a heavy burden. The cobbler took the load off her back and shared some food with her.
Just before the sun was about to set, a little child came into his shop, lost and crying. The cobbler gave her a glass of milk, comforted her, and then took her to find her mother.
Throughout the day, the cobbler waited for his Divine visitor…be He never came. He was, to say the least, very disappointed. Then, in the silence, the cobbler heard a small, still voice saying,
“Lift up your heart for I have kept my word.
Three times I came to your friendly door;
Three times my shadow was on your floor.
I was the beggar with the bruised feet;
I was the woman you gave food to eat;
I was the child on the homeless street.”
- Matthew 22:37
- 1 John 5:3 (a)
- John 15:12
- 1 John 5:3 (b)
- Colossians 2:9
- John 10:30
- Matthew 25:35 & 36
- Matthew 25:40
- 1 Corinthians 13:5
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