The biggest question we Christians ask ourselves is “What is God’s will?” We treat it as if it’s this mysterious, magical thing. But God didn’t tell us to obey him without first telling us what he wants (2 Tim 3:16-17).
WHAT IS GOD’S GOAL?
God created us to be in his family where he loves us, and we love him. (1 John 3:1,). That’s it. That’s Gods goal. That’s God’s will.
And if we love God, then as a consequence, we love what he loves. And since he loves us, we should love each other (1 John 4:11). That’s why to Love God automatically means to love others (1 John 3-4).
Christ said it himself, “Matt 22:37-40 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 22:36-40).
SO THEN WHAT IS GOD’S WILL FOR YOU?
Love God, Love Others, That’s It.
Love God or Love Others is the goal of every command in Scripture. It’s like how the goal of every play in football is to win the game.
Look at the ten commandments. The first four have the goal of loving God, and the next six have the goal of loving others.
All the commands about repentance, denying yourself, worship, all have the goal of loving God. All the commands about family, parenting, feeding the poor, loving your enemies, all have the goal of loving others.
There are no commands outside the goal of Loving God and Loving Others because their goals wouldn’t be about loving God and, therefore, would be idolatry. And if you try to love others without loving God, then others become your idol (1 John 2:15-17).
‘LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS, THAT’S IT’ EXPLAINED
Now Love God and Love Others are very broad commands so let’s define them to be more practical for everyday living.
We Love God through 1) praise, 2) thanks and 3) obedience (Ps 100, John 14:15, 1 John 5:3).
We can Love God more the more we know him, and we can only know him through his Word. This means we must devote ourselves to the study of God through Scripture.
- The more you know about his attributes, the more you can praise him.
- The more you know about what he’s done, the more you can thank him.
- The more you know his commands, the more you can obey him.
We Love Others through serving others’ 1) spiritual needs and 2) physical needs. (Gal 6:2, James 5:13-15, Rom 12:13, 1 Tim 5:8, 1 John 3:17, Gal 6:10, ).
We Love Others with this priority in mind: our family, then believers, then others. (1 Tim 5:8, Gal 6:10).
Serving others’ spiritual needs is really just getting them to Love God in some way. Helping them understand God’s love, sovereignty, grace, forgiveness, etc., in the midst of ordinary life and during suffering.
This includes things like raising your kids to love God, ministering to your spouse after a long day at work, ministering to those in emotional need, and praying and meeting with the sick.
Serving others’ physical needs is making sure they have food, shelter, clothing, and helping them take care of their health. This means having a job to pay for all this, controlling your expenses, making sure your kids and spouse are healthy and helping the needy, sick and elderly.
HOW DO YOU KNOW HOW TO DO ALL THIS?
You must act in TRUE FAITH:
1. KNOWING GOD’S WORD tells us that the goal of our actions in some way is connected to Love God and Love Others
2. You have to have the right motive, the HEART OF CHRIST (Gal 5:22-23) by having the fruit of the Sprit while obeying
3. And you have to OBEY IN WISDOM (James 1:5, Proverbs)
For example: To truly Love God you have to Love Others by serving their physical needs such as feeding your family. However, you might not know HOW to best feed your family because you are not an expert in nutrition. The Bible isn’t a nutrition textbook, but it does tell you to seek wisdom and instruction (Prov 1:1-7) which helps you figure out HOW to obey the command of Love God and Others.
SO COULD YOU GIVE ME A REAL LIFE EXAMPLE?
Example: “Sally”, married, working mother of two.
Recap: Love God: praise, thanks, obedience; Love Others: serve others’ spiritual and physical needs
She gets up and does personal devotions to learn more about God which increases her ability to praise, thank and obey God (Love God). She also reads verses that help her relationships with others (Love Others).
She then prays. In her prayer are praise and thanks to God (Love God) as well as praying for her own heart (Love God), and wisdom to help meet the spiritual and physical needs of her family and others (Love Others).
She then makes sure someone made breakfast and lunches (Love Others: physical needs).
She goes to work so help support her family (Love Others: physical needs).
While at work she looks for opportunities to minister to coworkers (Love Others: spiritual needs).
Everyone gets home and talks about their day including their struggles at school and work (Love Others: spiritual needs). The parents know and teach their kids God’s purpose of suffering (Love God, Love Others: spiritual needs).
She organizes the nursery ministry at the church so parents can attend the service (Love Others: spiritual and physical needs).
She and her husband go for a run so they can take care of their bodies so they have the physical ability to take care of their family (Love Others: physical needs).
While on the run her phone breaks and she complains. She catches her sin, prays for forgiveness, and takes note that she needs to grow in thankfulness (Love God).
After the run, her shins hurt so she goes online to seek wisdom and instruction from running experts to prevent injury so she has the physical ability to take care of her family (Love Others: physical needs).
Her kid complains of an earache so she calls the doctor to seek wisdom and instruction from an expert (Love Others: physical needs).
She and her husband look up wisdom and instruction for a healthy dinner (Love Others: physical needs).
She and her husband find wisdom and instruction on eliminating their debt, cutting expenses and budgeting so they can provide for their family better and contribute to the needy. (Love Others: physical needs).
She is feeling overwhelmed because her mom is ill. She finds Scripture, wisdom and instruction to deal with her sin by doing research online, talking to her pastor, and finding books about suffering. (Love God).
They sit down and watch an hour of TV as a family to spend time with one another (spiritual needs) and to rest from the day (physical needs).
She and her husband analyze themselves and the kids and determine what sins and struggles they faced and how they can spiritually grow. (Love God, Love Others).
They pray as a family (spiritual needs) and get plenty of sleep (physical needs).
BUT WAIT, THIS IS JUST NORMAL STUFF I DO ALREADY?
Remember, it’s not just about what you do, it’s also about why you do it – your HEART (see: True Faith). If any of this is not done with primarily Loving God as the goal, then it is idolatry, it is sin (Rom 14:23). Analyze how much of this is done out of routine versus out of love for God.
BUT THAT’S IT? THAT’S DOESN’T SEEM LIKE I’M DOING MUCH
There are widely varying degrees of Loving God and Others, meaning when we’re not doing that; there’s a lot of sin that we need to reduce. Growth (sanctification) is the key. That’s the difference between a weak or strong spouse, parent, and minister. Do you have a plan for spiritual growth for you and your family?
Growth is intentional. It involves growing all three parts of TRUE FAITH:
1. Growing your KNOWLEDGE OF GOD’S WORD
2. Growing the HEART OF CHRIST by growing in the fruit of the Spirit and humility
3. Growing in OBEYING IN WISDOM so you know how to apply God’s Word in all situations
When we grow true faith we will be able to better carry out God’s will which is simply to:
Love God. Love Others. That’s it.