How to Know the Will of God
1 Corinthians 7:19 Keeping God’s commands is what counts.
A few years ago, my family was contemplating a considerable geographic change. As I claimed to follow God, I asked his opinion on the matter. I desired the confidence of knowing that I was following God’s plan for my life. Never mind that I was living a secret life of addiction at the time, I wanted to know God’s will.
Though I wanted God’s opinion in what I considered to an important thing, I remained completely unwilling to follow his will in the day to day decisions. I thought I was being obedient by giving him the big choices, not realizing that my life was made of a thousand little choices. Who I was had little to do with my geographic location.
As it turned out, God was much more concerned with how I lived than where I lived. Paul said as much in today’s passage. Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called (v. 20). Paul said the superficial details are not the most important ones. Where I live or what I do for an occupation is not nearly as important as how I follow God. Keeping God’s commands is what counts (v. 19).
We often only pray for God’s guidance when we get to the big decisions in which we do not know what to do. Where should I go to college? What job should I take? We fool ourselves into thinking we are following God by giving him the decisions that really do not matter all that much. All the while, we do as we please in our day to day life. We pretend to follow God in the big picture, but the little day to day decisions betray that we still follow self. We are unwilling to consider that God wants us to abandon our pride, gluttony, greed, drugs, toys, pornography, or status.
In our pretend pursuit of God, we use knowledge of him and his will to hide the fact that we are not truly following him. Knowledge of God is a popular façade for actually knowing and following God. The more we appear to know, the less we actually have to do. Right knowledge is not the same as following God though. Knowledge is but a stepping stone to obedience.
I have used my knowledge of God and his will to hide the reality that I was not actually following God. I hoped my knowledge and pseudo-pursuit would eventually translate into actual obedience and right behavior, but I had it completely backwards. I do not come to follow God by knowing stuff about him. I come to know God by following him.
God’s will for me is no mystery. If I truly want to know God, here is what He says I must do: I must put my relationship with him above all, loving him with all my heart, soul and mind. I must abandon myself and love my neighbor. I need to tell others what He has done for me. This is not complicated and it is not secret. It is however, hard. Which is why I prefer to pretend to follow God.
If I truly want to know God though, I find him in my daily routine. Do I get up in the morning and seek him? Do I pray, read and meditate? Do I love my neighbor as myself? God is not nearly as concerned with my geographic location and knowledge as he is with whether or not I follow him.