Charles Stanley - The Will of God in Your Life
Where does the will of God fit in your life? That is, do you ask for His direction, His guidance, His provision? Or you just wake up in the morning and decide how you're going to live for the day? Or you don't give it a lot of thought. You're just sort of one of those persons who sort of walks through the same tracks every day. And as long as you have what you want, what you think you need, you don't really give God a whole lot of thought. When I think about that and I think about how people operate without God in their life.
I'm brought back to when I first came to First Baptist, I came as an Associate Pastor. And there were 60 deacons and there were seven men who ran everything. And so since I had no authority, I was of, no a danger to anybody. And they would let me sit in on their meetings. And so I was sitting in on this meeting, I'll never forget. And they got in a little bit of an argument and discussion. They couldn't make up their mind, they couldn't make a decision about something. And this just went on probably for forty-five minutes or longer and I thought, "We're not getting anywhere".
And so when I said, "Why don't we ask what's the will of God about this"? I'll never forget the reaction. The man who sat to my right was an attorney and he spoke up and he said, "Leave God out of this. This is business". Well, when he said that and my response was, "How can you leave God out of God's business"? Because it's the will of God that we live a certain way. It's the will of God that affects every single thing that we do and say. The will of God is our guide. The will of God is the principle by which all of us should live every single day.
Doesn't make any difference who you are. But if you never ask God for direction in your life, what you are saying by your conduct, your attitude is, "I can do without Him. I don't need His direction. I don't need His help. I can make it without it". When you live day after day without consulting with God, asking, "Lord, what's Your will? What pleases You? What honors You"? If I live day after day without asking that, what I'm saying is I don't need Him. Oh, you say, "I wouldn't, I would never say I don't need God". Well, what about your conduct? What about your habits? Do you act like you don't need Him or do you act like you need Him?
If you believe that God has a sovereign will for your life, which He does, if you believe what the Bible says about God and our relationship to Him, then how do you go day after day without asking, "Lord, what would you have me to do about this? What would You have me do about this purchase? About this relationship. About my attitude, about my expense, about how I handle money, how I handle people"? In other words, if you go day after day and you don't ask for God's guidance and direction, what you're saying is, I can handle it. How foolish. How foolish to think that you can handle life without God in the society in which you live or any society.
And one of the interesting things I want to read in the Scripture. Here is Jesus on His way to the cross in the twenty-second chapter of Luke if you'd like to look if you'd like to turn there for a moment. His ministry is coming to a close, physically. And He knows the Father's will. He's been praying about that. He's been knowing it a long time. Thirty years as a carpenter or somewhere thereabouts. And now He's been an evangelist teaching the Word of God. And verse thirty-nine of the twenty-second chapter says, "And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him". That's where he used to go, that was his place of prayer.
Now, what is He doing? Because the cross is right next door. It's, it's coming the next day. "When He arrived at the place, He said to them, 'Pray that you may not enter into temptation.' And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray". Listen to what the Son of God is praying. "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me". That is, is there any other way for us to purchase redemption for all mankind and escape the cross? "Yet not My will, but Yours be done". Jesus, who is the Son of God, was asking the Father, "Is there any other way but the way of the cross"?
And of course, there was not. Now what do we mean by the will of God? If somebody said to you, "Are you living in the will of God"? How would you answer that? Well, you couldn't answer unless you know what it is. So, listen to this. The will of God is that which God approves and determines to bring about. It concerns God's choices of what to do and what not to do. Think about that. That which God approves of, determines to bring about. It concerns God's choices of what to do and what not to do.
When is the last time you said, "God, what do You want me to do about this? God, what about my relationship to her or to him? God what about my job? Lord, where do You want my kids to go to college? Lord, what about my relationship to this man or to this woman? Lord, what about where You want me to live? Lord, what about changing jobs"? When is the last time you opened yourself up to holy God who knows everything and has your best interest at heart? When is the last time you opened your heart to Him and said, "Lord, show me Your will? What would You have me to do"?
There are many people who don't think they need the will of God. They're living their lives according to the way they want to live it, but they're miserable. And many people are miserable and will not turn to God, because they think they're smart enough to figure it out. Why do we have so much alcoholism and so much dope, drugs, sex, and all the rest? People are looking for something to satisfy that inner feeling that they have. Looking for something that will make they happy. Looking for something or somebody who will bring them completeness when only God can do it.
God didn't make us, equip us to live happily and peacefully and eternally without Him. You're not made that way. We're made to depend upon Almighty God. And here's the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, "Is there any other way"? Acknowledging His dependence upon the Father? And in your own personal life, how often do you ask Him about decisions that you have to make? There are always going to be decisions. We either ask Him or we don't ask Him. Look in Second Peter 3 for just a moment. Second Peter chapter 3. This is a very interesting verse of Scripture. Second Peter 3:17. Listen to what he says, "You therefore, beloved, knowing this before hand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness".
That is, any of us can stumble and fall. God wants us looking to Him, depending upon Him, trusting Him so that every day when you and I wake up, we should be asking the Lord to give us direction for our life that day. You don't know who you're going to meet. You don't know whether you're going to get to your job or not. You don't know whether your husband or wife will be home when you get there or not. Or what kind of mess your kids are in college. In other words, are you living your life in relationship to God? Are you seeking His will, His purpose, His plan for your life? Are you just living it out?
And you call upon Him when you feel like you really need Him, when something has reached beyond your capacity to handle. God has the best will for every single one of us. He has the best plan for us. He doesn't keep it a secret. You don't have to do this, that in order to find out what God wants you to do. You need to ask Him and be willing to do what He says. And yet, most people never stop to consider, "Should I buy that? Should I marry him or her"? And make decisions on their own without God. When Jesus, the Son of God, in those critical moments in His life took a moment longer to say, "Want to be sure... is there any other way"? And of course, the Father said, "The way of the cross is it".
So, would you say you live by the will of God in your life? Or have you decided that you can handle it on your own? Now remember this. Because He's omniscient, God has a plan and a will for your life. He has the best plan and He has a will that fits you perfectly. Your talents, your abilities, your skills, everything about you fits what God wants to do in your life. You say, "Well, but I'm not as skilled as other people". Well, I understand that. For example, if somebody put me on their ball team, they'd probably lose. Or if I was in a mechanic shop, I probably wouldn't know what to do. There are a lot of things I'm not fit for. Lot of things I'm not equipped for. And, but you are equipped for something.
That is, God did not leave you out. You may feel like well sometimes, what does my life count? Your life counts. Because remember this. When Jesus died, He had you in mind. He had every single one of us in mind. Had the world in mine. You say, "Well that happened two thousand years ago. Well why does He say we're to pray to Him and talk to Him now"? Talk to Him daily, listen to Him, asking for guidance because God in heaven is listening. He wants to hear from us.
There's not a single aspect of your life which you should just erase from your relationship to God. We need Him about everything. You need Him in your marriage, with your children, with your job, with all that mechanical things that happen in your life. All of us need Him. And to go day after day and not read His Word, day after day and ask Him for direction and guidance in your life is to say, "I don't need Him". Oh yes, I need Him. Well when did you get on your knees and talk to Him? When did you plead for God to give you wisdom and direction? When did you have to make a big-time decision and you said, "Well Lord, I'm not going to make this decision until You show me what to do"? Or did you just go ahead and do it without Him? Holy God wants the best for you.
There's no where in the Scriptures that you can find that God doesn't want the best for you. But are you asking Him? Are you seeking His direction? That is, His will. Or, are you asking for something else? Now God doesn't judge us by comparing us to other people. He has a plan for your life. It's not the same plan as other people's lives. It's different. And you may say, "Well, if I had another chance, I would do thus and so". God doesn't make any mistakes. You won't be like someone else. You want to be like what God intended for you. Because the only real genuine peace and joy and satisfaction and a feeling of being a complete and satisfied is a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The will of God, that is, what does He want for you? What has He provided for you? He's provided the best for you. There are some of you who would say very early in life, some a little bit later. You say, "Well when does God's will begin"? It began in the beginning, and God doesn't plan the same for all of us. But whoever we are, wherever we are in life, seeking the will of God, the mind of God, the purpose of God, the plan of God, what does He want in the next step in your life? You have children, you have grandchildren. When's the last time you ever brought up the subject?
Listen to me carefully. Very early in that child's life, you should be introducing them to this truth, that God has a will and a plan for your life. And I can remember, soon as my two children were born, I'd get down the bed every night that I was home and I'd pray this prayer: show Andy, show Becky Your will for their life. And I'd say that to them over and over and over again. You ask God to show you His will for your life. Ask God to show you His will for your life. They grew up believing that.
And you just look what's happening in the colleges and look what's happening: all the drunkenness and sex and all the mess. You know what they're looking for? Looking for something to satisfy them. Gramps, grandmother, granddad, mom and dad, you have a responsibility to introduce your children to Jesus Christ. And not only that, you need to be a part of their life, interfering in their life, interjecting your opinion in their life, reminding them that they cannot be a success at what God's called them to do apart from Jesus Christ. They may make a lot of money. They may do a lot of things. The world may think they're absolutely fantastic. I think about all these people you can't even count their money, but they're unhappy.
Without God, you can't make enough money. Listen, when you're living in sin, you can't do anything until you deal with the sin problem. And this is why there's so much of all the other stuff that we're talking about. God loves you. He has a will and a plan for your life. You say, "Well, I'm 50 years old and I just got saved. What's God's will"? He takes you where you are and listen, He knows how to overcome your past. Erase all the mistakes? No, but what He'll do is enable you to overcome the mistakes, enable you to get a different view on life. To enable you to have a relationship with Jesus Christ that will amaze you.
Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody sins. Everybody has fallen their times about somethings. God wants the best for us through the last day of our life. Isn't it interesting what God has to do sometimes to get us to think? And to think wisely? And to think soberly. And to ask the right questions: God, what's Your will for my life? How often do you pray for your children and grandchildren and pray, "God, show him your will for his life. Show her Your will for their life. Don't let them marry the wrong person. God, help her to marry the right fellow". And sometime grandparents and parents need to get right in the middle of their life.
You say, "Well you know what? They'll old enough to make up their own mind". They may be old enough, but not mature enough. Listen, without God, you're not mature. I don't care how old you are. You're not mature enough to make wise decisions about marriage and money and sex and all the rest without God. Evident, look around you. Look what's happening. We have a society that's in chaos because we think we can do without God. And sometimes when you mention God, what happens? "Well don't give me that church stuff". I'm not giving you church stuff, I'm giving you the stuff about which you need to start thinking because you're going to meet Him one day.
And the Bible says, "It's appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment". Life is serious business. And God wants to be in the center of your life. He wants to be at the hub of your life. He's willing to give you guidance. He's willing to show you the truth. But you've got to surrender your life to Him. I'm just simply saying that life is serious. It's serious about your children, serious about your grandchildren, serious about their future, who they marry, how they live their lives. Life is serious business. And Jesus intends for you and I to live our lives in submission to His will because that's what's best.
Do you think that God would have a plan for your life that would just be horrible? No, He wouldn't. Does it mean your plan, His plan is always easy? No. There are many people who go through very difficult things in life. It doesn't mean that God doesn't care. It doesn't mean they're out of God's will. But it means that God has trusted them in a situation and a circumstance that they have to depend upon Him in ways that maybe some of us don't. And so, when I think about what's the will of God? That's the question every single one of us should ask.
So, let me ask you this question. When's the last time you said to Him, "Lord, what's Your will for my life at this point"? You say, "Well I've made mistakes so there's no hope for me". Yes, there's hope for you. It begins with confession, repentance and the surrender of your life to God. Listen to me carefully. If you're listening, say amen. You can't get in a mess God can't get you out of. It may be painful, but He'll get you through it. God loves you. He knows why we make mistakes.
And I'm saying to you, friend, you're going to make a mess of your life if you don't trust God to give you guidance and direction for your life. No one can guide you like God can. He knows everything about you. He knows the handicaps in your life. He knows the things that you've missed. He knows the desires of your heart. He knows that you don't have what some other people have. But He knows why He created you and He wants you to have a sense of fulfillment in life. He does not want you miserable. He wants you to have a sense of fulfillment in life. You reflect Him if you've trusted Him as your Savior.
God wants the best for you, and He's willing to make the best for you if you will surrender your life to Him, yield to Him and ask the question, "God, what would You have me to do in this situation"? He'll answer that question. God is not going to turn a deaf ear to you. It doesn't make any difference what you've done, where you've been, who you've done it with and the mess you made of it. Will He listen? If you'll cry out to Him, He will. But it begins with this whole issue of surrendering to the will of God.
Do you know why people don't surrender to the will of God? Because they don't believe God has a will for them, that's the reason. Why should God have a will? Look at all the billions of people: why should God have a will for my life? Because you're a person. He hasn't overlooked you. He loves you. Doesn't make any difference where you've been, what you've done, what's happened, the mess that you're in. He loves you just the same. Listen. You cannot alter the love of God for yourself. You may think you've drunk so much, been in so many situations and circumstances, that God won't forgive you. God will forgive you, period. It makes no difference what... He's willing to forgive you. He's willing to take the mess you've made and turn it into something awesome. If you're willing.
And sometimes you think, "Well, I don't deserve it". Who of us deserves anything? That's not the issue. The issue is this. If you wonder what He'll do for you first of all, look at the cross. That's how much He loves you. That's what He's done for you. First of all, He died in order that you may have life and have it more abundantly. He died in order to be able to forgive you for the messes you've made in your life. He died in order to make it possible to take you out of that, to give you a new beginning and a new hope.
I'll never forget a lady who sitting on the second row one Sunday. I put one of my photographs up on the screen. It was of a sail-ship. It had been wrecked. And so the guy was working on it, and I walked around it just along twice and I came back. I said, "I better photograph that", for some reason. Took a picture of it. Well, she was sitting on the second row. Two weeks later she said, "I want to tell you something". And I can hardly tell you this.
She said, "I'd made such a mess of my life, I was ready to give up. When you said about that boat, that old boat will sail again, God said to me, 'And you will too. You'll sail again too.'" And I can say to you this morning you've just heard the truth, that's all. It may have been comforting or very discomforting, but I plead with you in Jesus's name, do not ignore what you've heard because you have an opportunity for God to change your life starting today.
Tell you one more story. I purchased a car in another state and so they had to bring it to me. It's not because I couldn't have bought it here, just happened to see what I wanted there. And so, they brought it to me on this truck. And it was all covered up and this fellow uncovered it. And I can hardly tell you this.
When he got my car in the garage, he said, "Dr. Stanley, I want to tell you something. I was in prison. I'd really messed up my life. And we could listen to tapes and sometimes radio". He said, "The reason I'm so happy to bring you this car is I was listening and God changed my life. And I count it an honor just to bring you this car, to say 'Thank you' for preaching the truth that got to me and got me saved". And God will save you if you let Him. He'll change your life, if you'll let Him, and that's my prayer.
Father, we love You and praise You and thank You that Your goal is not to judge us but to love us. Forgive us for our sins, give us that awesome second chance. You didn't say we had to deserve it. You just said surrender. And I pray that every person who hears this message will not be able to escape, not be able to escape the truth, and be wise enough to surrender their life to You. I pray anyone seated here unsaved, would confess their sins to You, Lord, surrender their life. Give them a new beginning. And anyone watching or listening, wherever they are in the world, will realize that You are there too. You'll do for them what we said, no matter what, no matter where they've been, no matter the mess they've made of life, You're the God of a second, third, fourth, fifth, tenth, chance. I pray that You'll bless every person who turns to You, Lord. In Jesus's name, amen.