Staying in the perfect will of God

Therefore, worship is not confined to Sundays or a musical performance with a great sound system. Rather, it must become a lifestyle. Knowing the entire Bible and being well-versed in theology means nothing if your life is not surrendered to Jesus. Salvation begins with confessing that Jesus is Lord.

April 3, 2023

Romans 12:1 It says, “I beseech you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer yourselves as living sacrifices. This is your spiritual act of worship.”

Therefore, worship is not confined to Sundays or a musical performance with a great sound system. Rather, it must become a lifestyle. Knowing the entire Bible and being well-versed in theology means nothing if your life is not surrendered to Jesus. Salvation begins with confessing that Jesus is Lord.

Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that he was raised from the dead, then you are saved.”

Salvation is not solely about confessing that Jesus is your savior, that He came and died for you, and saved you. It’s about confessing that Jesus is the Lord of your life. In the past, those who have tried to lord over us have been terrible examples, abusing their power and committing atrocities. We don’t like that kind of authority. However, Jesus is a Lord who does not force himself on us or demand submission. If we allow Him to be the Lord of our lives, there’s nothing better that can happen. It’s not just about partial ownership, where we only ask God to take care of our spiritual aspect or areas where we’re struggling. It’s about giving Him complete ownership of our lives. I consider it a privilege because He can do a much better job of leading our lives than we can do ourselves.

Salvation is not just about confessing Jesus as your savior, but also as the Lord of your life.

Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

God’s ways are higher and greater than ours, just as heaven is far above the earth. God thinks about you and has dreams for you that are superior to your own. His plans for your life are much better than yours. Let us remember that God’s thoughts are higher and greater than our own.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God begins by saying, “For I know the plans I have for you”. Why would anybody begin a statement like that? He could have just said, I have plans for you. God has big dreams for you and plans to benefit you. His plans are of peace and will give you a hopeful future. Remember that God knows the plans He has for you and they are greater than you could ever imagine.

Sometimes, our own plans and desires can interfere with God’s plans and dreams for our lives. We might think we know what we want, but in reality, our plans can be a hindrance to what God has in store for us. For example, we may have a specific idea of the kind of person we want to marry, but God may have someone different in mind.

It’s important to remember that we can trust in the Holy Spirit to write the story of our lives, which will likely result in a better outcome than if we were to solely rely on our own understanding. As Christians and children of God, we have the privilege of allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us and write our stories.

This does not mean that we should not have any desires or plans for our lives. However, we should not become so preoccupied with our desires that there is no room for God to work in our lives. It’s crucial to stay connected to our faith and trust in the plans that God has for us, even if they don’t align with our own timeline or expectations. Ultimately, we must remember to put our faith in God and trust that His plans for us are always in our best interest.

It’s important to recognize that our own desires and plans may conflict with what God has in store for us. We may try to twist God’s will to fit our own version of what is good, but it’s important to remember that God’s ways are greater than our own. In Romans, Paul emphasizes that God’s will is good, acceptable, and perfect, and we should test and confirm it.

God’s will has different levels, beginning with what is good. As we allow Him to work more in our lives, we can move into His acceptable will, which is pleasing to our soul. Ultimately, we can strive for the perfect will of God.

In 1 John chapter 5, it says that if we ask anything according to God’s will, we can have confidence that our prayers will be answered. When we live within the framework of God’s will, everything we do can be successful. Joseph was sold as a slave and served in Potiphar’s house, but the Lord was with him and eventually made him the leader of the servants. Even when he was in prison, the Lord prospered because His presence was with him.

It is not just the presence of God that brings prosperity, but the presence of the Lord is our prosperity.

If you are praying for an increase in your salary in the corporate world, starting with a monthly salary of 20,000 and asking God to bless you with increments up to 40,000, 80,000, 1.5 lakhs, or even 3 lakhs, God can continue to bless you. However, the highest level of blessing you can attain is when God becomes your source of income. In Genesis chapter 12, God called Abraham out and blessed him continuously, but at one point, God realized that there was no more earthly blessing he could give him. Therefore, God became Abraham’s inheritance.
If you prioritize God as your desire, He can become everything you need and even surpass your desires. As the Psalmist wrote, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” However, it’s often our own desires that hinder us from fulfilling God’s purposes for our lives. This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care about our personal desires, whether it’s owning a car or anything else. But when those desires become our sole focus and obsession, they can prevent us from fully experiencing God’s plan for our lives.

Eve’s temptation

Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

This shows the power of desire and how Eve was tempted. When she saw that the tree was good for food, she saw something that she was not supposed to see. It’s not just about looking, but the second look that’s the problem. She saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes. She did not just glance at it, she stayed there looking at it till it became a delight to her eyes. She desired it to make one wise, and her logical, rational thinking made her justify what she was beholding as a good thing. Isn’t that what we do when we hold on to our desires? We justify what we want and keep looking at it, just like that boy we want or the material possessions we crave.

Our desires can often blind us to the better plans and dreams that God has for us. He wants us to trust Him and follow His ways, which are often beyond our understanding. If we align our hearts with Him and partner with Him, He can lead us to green pastures and still waters. But often we are too stubborn and want to stay where we think is best, not realizing that what we perceive as green may actually be yellow. It’s important to surrender our desires to God and trust in His perfect will for our lives.

God desires to guide you to greener pastures if you allow Him, because He is gentle and leads you to flourishing places. How did Eve fall into temptation? She first saw the tree, and then she delighted in it. She continued to gaze upon it until it became pleasurable to her eyes. At this point, she desired the fruit so much that her whole being craved it, because her rational mind had agreed to it. Christians should be aware that there is a thin line between what you hear from God and what your desires are. Thus, you should exercise caution.

There is a thin line between what you hear from God and what your desires are.

That’s why it’s essential to be a part of a fellowship and have a covering over your life. This can help you discern between the voice of God and personal desires. Sometimes, people can misinterpret God’s voice and use them to suit their own agendas, resulting in a wasted life and time.

Sinful Desires

James 1:14-15 says, But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

God never tempts us; rather, we are tempted by our own desires. Every sin committed has come from an unfulfilled desire that does not align with God’s will.

Desire brings forth sin, which eventually leads to death. Imagine yourself sitting in a car of sin, driven towards death by desire. The process of desire begins with beholding, which leads to delight, and ultimately desire. However, you can reverse this process. By delighting in God and beholding His beauty, you can desire Him so much that your entire being craves Him.

Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire[a] in his temple.”

David’s incredible faithfulness was due to his primary desire for God. Despite his missteps, he continually beheld God until his whole being longed to be with Him. In his presence, one day is better than a thousand elsewhere (Psalm 84:10).
It all starts with what you focus on. What you focus on becomes what you delight in, and what you delight in becomes what you desire. If you choose to focus on God and delight in Him, that desire will lead you to a fulfilling life. The choice between God’s will and your own desires is a matter of life and death. So, what are you focusing on? Are you focusing on your own desires? Don’t get me wrong; desires are important. They give us purpose and drive. But have your desires ever taken the place of God? Have they become the focus of your life, to the point where not fulfilling them leaves you frustrated and angry? Let’s not mistake that for faith. Our faith should be in seeing God’s will established in our lives. His will is good, pleasing, and perfect, far better than anything we could imagine. As Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

The choice between God’s will and your own desires is a matter of life and death.

To fully grasp the meaning of this verse, it’s essential to understand the context in which it was spoken. God addressed this verse to the children of Israel, his people, during a time when they were experiencing difficult circumstances. It wasn’t a time of abundance or prosperity. Often, people find it easy to be joyful when things are going their way, and they have all they need. However, this verse reminds us that true joy can be found in the midst of adversity and challenges. It’s a joy that is not based on external circumstances but on our trust in God’s plan for our lives.

But our joy is often put to the test during times of trial and suffering, which reveals the depth of our faith and maturity. It’s easy to have joy when everything is going our way, but when unexpected challenges arise, such as the COVID pandemic and prolonged lockdowns, it can be difficult to maintain a joyful attitude. This is why God’s message to the children of Israel in Jeremiah 29:11 is particularly significant. At that time, the Israelites were in exile, having lost their homes, businesses, and community due to the Babylonian conquest. Despite their difficult circumstances, God assured them that He had plans for their future. This message of hope and promise was a source of encouragement and strength for the Israelites, reminding them that God was with them even in their darkest moments.

The story of the Babylonian invasion and occupation of Israel is a well-known one. However, what many people do not realize is that the Israelites were actually warned about the impending attack. The prophet Jeremiah warned people urging them to repent and turn back to God. This was because the Israelite leadership at that time was corrupt and cruel, abusing their power and misusing their positions. God warned Jeremiah that He would not be able to protect them if they did not stay in His will. He promised, however, that as long as they remained faithful to Him, He would stand before them and protect them from any harm. Despite these warnings, the Israelites failed to heed them, and as a result, they suffered greatly under the Babylonian occupation.

False hope: hope in your circumstances without God’s Word

However, the leadership of Israel at that time was so corrupt and cruel that they justified their actions. They even brought in false prophets who gave false hope to the people, saying that the Babylonians would only be there for two years and that everything would soon be fixed. But Jeremiah warned them that if they didn’t repent, they would lose everything and the Babylonians would plunder their homes. False hope is dangerous because it puts our trust in circumstances to change without relying on the word of God. Our hope should be firmly rooted in God’s word, not in the changing circumstances of life.

These leaders were so corrupt that they even brought in false prophets to contradict what Jeremiah was preaching. With their voices overpowering Jeremiah’s, the people did not listen and refused to repent. As a result, Babylon invaded, plundered, and destroyed everything. But despite all of this, God spoke to Jeremiah and revealed His plans for the people. It reminds me of a verse from Proverbs that says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” It’s important to examine our own lives and ask ourselves if what we are doing is truly right, even if it seems so at the moment.

The leadership of Israel thought they were acting in the right way, despite God’s repeated warnings to stay true to His will. He reminded them that His will for them was good, acceptable, and perfect, and urged them not to stray from His love or abuse His people. However, they ignored His advice, and eventually, the Babylonians invaded, resulting in their exile. Overnight, they lost their homes and businesses. Despite this, God encouraged them to see His grace in the midst of calamity. Jeremiah 29:5 says that God commanded His people to build houses and live in them. This was in response to the false prophets who had given them false hope, claiming that the Babylonians would only be there for two years and then be defeated by God. However, Jeremiah warned them that the Babylonians would be there for at least 70 years. God’s message was clear: build houses and live in them.

Fighting Disappointment

Have you ever experienced a sudden shift in your life, where you find yourself struggling to adjust and wanting to hit the reset button? But God reminds us that He is in control, and sometimes this new path is exactly where He wants us to be. He encourages us to settle down, to build houses and make homes, to plant gardens and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Even if things don’t look the way they used to, we can trust that God can make it better. We may not have a king of Israel, but we have the King of Kings and He is always in charge. Our circumstances don’t define our prosperity; it is God and His word that bring us success. So, as God tells His people in Jeremiah 29:6, “Take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there and do not decrease.” Even in difficult times, God is calling us to thrive and grow, to trust in Him and His promises.

God has great plans for us, even if they are not what we had envisioned for ourselves. He tells us to stay where we are, to multiply and not decrease. But He also instructs us to seek the welfare of the city where He has sent us into exile, and to pray for it. He reminds us that in its welfare, we will find our own welfare. Even if we don’t like the city we live in, the office we work in, or the title we hold, we should consider that perhaps God has placed us there for a reason. Maybe our purpose is to contribute to the betterment of our surroundings, and in doing so, we can also improve our own lives.

It’s easy to get caught up in waiting for the next big thing, the greener pasture that we hope will make us happier. But sometimes, we need to consider if God has called us to where we are right now. It’s possible that ministry isn’t our calling, and that we’ve been using it as an escape route. Alternatively, maybe we’ve been hoping to escape from where we are now, without considering if this is where God wants us to be. We should take a cue from how Jesus taught His disciples to pray: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s will isn’t being done on earth because too many of His people aren’t saying “yes” to His will. It’s important to take time to reflect on where we are and whether we are aligned with God’s will. Only then can we truly live fulfilling lives that honor Him.

Have you ever thought about how good heaven must be? The truth is, your life can become like heaven if you say yes to God’s will for your life, rather than putting all your energy into building up your own desires. Don’t get me wrong, having five and ten-year plans can be great, but if they don’t align with God’s will, you could be setting yourself up for disaster. How has your five-year plan been working out? Ask yourself that question. But every time you choose to say yes to God’s will and pray, “Lord, not my will, but your will be done,” you’re moving from death to life.

Stay on Promises

2 Peter 1:4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

This corruption is not just limited to financial or material corruption but extends to the decay and death that we see in the world, which is a result of the corruption caused by sinful desires. In other words, the sinfulness of human desires has corrupted not only our physical world but also our bodies, minds, and souls, leading to death and decay.

The good news is that you have been given great and precious promises from God, and by aligning your desires with them, you can become a partaker of God’s divine nature and escape the corruption caused by sinful desires. So, if you focus on God’s promises and align your desires with them, you can move from death to life, from sinful desires to God’s will, and from sin to righteousness. Remember, you are an heir to God’s promises, and by claiming them, you can become a partaker of God’s divine nature and escape the corruption of the world.

Colossians 1:9 Paul says,” that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

God’s will cannot be comprehended by the natural mind alone; it requires a spiritual mind. And in order to have a spiritual mind, we must focus on the promises of God. What are those promises? God has made so many promises over your life. And I want to emphasize that these promises are far better than anything you could desire for yourself. Let God be the author of your story. Don’t cling too tightly to your own desires. It’s good to have aspirations like wanting to visit Singapore or Dubai, but don’t let them consume you.

Stay anchored in the promises of God and allow His desires to shape your own desires. Open up to Him and share your desires, even if you feel they are not significant. Remember that God’s thoughts are far deeper and greater than our own. For instance, when God called Abraham and promised him a child, Abraham might have been hoping for a child to make him happy and complete his life. But God saw much more than that. He saw salvation and redemption, even generations later. While we may be focused on our own plans for the next few decades, God has a much broader perspective, looking ahead to generations to come. So let us trust in His wisdom and surrender our own desires to His greater plan.

Can you imagine the vastness of God’s plans? They are so deep, so wide, so multidimensional that even if God were to reveal them to you, you wouldn’t be able to fully grasp them. That’s why it’s important to surrender your life to him and let him become the Lord of your life. Don’t choose to sit in the seat of the throne and do whatever you want. Instead, imagine your mind as a vessel designed to be plugged into a source of power, so that you can flow and be a blessing to others. This source is the wisdom and will of God. Don’t keep your mind plugged into your own desires and plans, but instead, stay connected to God’s desires, plans, and promises for your life. Even if you have your own desires and plans, don’t let them suffocate you. Surrender them to God and let him shape them in alignment with his will.

The message is simple, my friends: make Jesus the Lord of your life and ask Him to lead you, because He is gentle and will never force His will upon you. When you allow Him to lead you, you will be pleasantly surprised by what He has in store for you. However, I have learned that in the immediate moment, you may not understand why God is leading you in a certain direction. For instance, when I first realized that God had called me to preach, I was eager to get started. But instead of opening a pulpit for me, He presented me with an opportunity to teach Sunday school children, ages 12 and 13. I taught them for a year, but when I thought I was ready for something bigger, God opened another door for me: to teach five and six-year-olds. This is how my ministry began, and at the time, it didn’t make sense to me. I thought, “God, I am capable of teaching adults and delving into deep theological topics, so why am I teaching young children?” But God’s ways are higher than ours, and His plans for us are always for our good. So trust in Him and let Him lead you, even if it doesn’t make sense at first.

Trusting God’s plan and letting Him lead your life may not make sense in the immediate, but in the long run, it will lead you to a place of fulfillment and gratitude. Looking back at your journey, you will see how God’s hand was guiding you all along. So don’t let your own plans and desires become a stumbling block to God’s plans for your life. Surrender to Him and let Him take the lead.

And it’s a beautiful thing. Everything connects together. Nothing is a coincidence, every business opportunity, every person you meet – it’s all part of God’s plan when you’re in his perfect will. He orchestrates everything. I came to Chatterpool a few years ago, and at the time, I wondered why God brought me here. But now, staying here and being in God’s will, I realize that even though it may seem like small steps, they’re important because it takes time to hear and respond to God’s voice. Even though it may seem like everyone else is far ahead, 10 years down the line, you’ll see that those small steps were enough. You didn’t have to strive or be part of the rat race in the corporate world. When Jesus steps into the boat, it reaches the shore immediately.

I want to assure you, as someone who has made mistakes and has also seen the goodness of staying in God’s will, that even if it doesn’t seem logical or make sense in the moment, if you trust Him, He knows what your future holds. When you look back and see how God has elevated you, you’ll wonder why you ever worried or doubted. His plans are far better than your own plans. Trust Him, my friends.

When you make Jesus the Lord of your life, it’s the best decision you could ever make. You may still be waiting for that job opportunity or a promise that God has made to you, but let me tell you this: trust in Him and His timing.

You know Jesus. Do you realize how many people have not heard the gospel, the good news that God loves them and cares for them, and that His plans are for them? The value of what you know, the experience you have had with Jesus, is far greater than anything you have not experienced yet. Are your unfulfilled desires greater than what you have experienced in Jesus? Yes, others may have gone further ahead in their careers or personal lives, but they don’t know Jesus. They don’t understand the struggles, insecurities, and oppression that you have been delivered from. Encountering Jesus does not nullify the promises God has for you, nor does it nullify the desires you have in your heart. This is a moment for us to realign our priorities with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

About the author

Samuel Thomas

Samuel is a second-generation pastor with a rich heritage in the Holy Spirit. He has been the pastor of Lighthouse Church since 2017 with a two-word mission statement: transforming lives. Samuel's priority in life has been to know Christ and to grow deeper in His love.

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