“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother.”
This is one of those phrases that is so common we have the tendency to devalue it: “the will of God.” However, it was a cliche’ that Paul used often and for a good reason. The apostle made much of the simple, yet profound fact that his spiritual position and purpose was “by the will of God.”
What confidence it brings when we know that what we are doing, and the way we are doing it, can be attributed to God’s will. Many things are included in this idea of being in His will. Initially, and obviously, God has a will for each of our lives. We are not here to just wander aimlessly or hope that somehow by chance we find some worthwhile purpose in this adventure we call life. No, God has designed us for a specific purpose, and He has a plan for each of us. When we say that God has a will, innate in that reality is the assurance that God has a purpose or desire for each person. Sometimes we say that He has a “general will” which would mean that this is His will for all of us. This would include our spiritual growth and maturity, character development, faithfulness to His cause, holy living, etc. These things and many more are true for every child of God. God has given us a way that we might know His will in these things. His will is revealed in His Word, the Holy Scriptures.
God also has a more specific will for each of His children. This includes a place to be and a work to do. We are to seek for Him to lead us into that wonderful place He has specifically designed for us. For Paul, he knew that he was “an apostle” because it was God’s will for him. What does God want me to do with my life? We ought to pray for God to show us His will where we are uncertain. There is nothing like knowing that we are in the place God wants us to be, doing the very thing He would have us to do. We personally know people who have been serving in the same area of ministry for decades, because they know that they are in the place of service that God wants them to be.
Not only should we seek to know and do His will, we are to delight in His will. The psalmist said, “I delight to do thy will, O my God” (Psalm 40:8). We should be able to delight in the place God wants us to be. If it is God’s will, by faith, we can accept it and delight in it.