“What is God’s will for my life?” Have you ever uttered those words? I know I have many times. Unfortunately, we often turn discovering God’s will into some sort of mystical, spooky thing when actually His will for our life is right before us. The foundation and starting point for discovering God’s will for us is found unmistakably in the revealed will of God — the imperative sentences of the Bible, the commands and precepts of Scripture. In other words, if you want to know God’s will for your life, begin with “God says to do this and not that.” Therefore, we must understand that God’s will for us is first and foremost obedience to Him. Obedience is the action for which we’re to ready ourselves.
As we come to 1 Peter 1:13-2:1, we read:
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” And this is the word which was preached to you. Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
Here we see that God desires for us to be “obedient children” (1 Pet 1:14). God is our heavenly Father, and as His children, we are to do what He tells us to do. In fact, it was unto obedience that He chose us (1 Pet 1:1-2). Therefore, obedience is clearly God’s will for our life.
It’s for this reason that God commands us in 1 peter 1:14 to “not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance.” We are to be holy in everything we do. That’s a tall order, but praise God we have a Father who says, “Do as I say, which is what I do.” How many of us had a dad who said, “Do as I say but not as I do,”? It’s like the dad who tells his kid to never smoke as he himself lights up another Marlboro. Thankfully, God isn’t like that. He says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:16). The very definition of human holiness is obedience to God.
To set yourselves up for obedience, God tells you to “prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, and fix your hope completely on the grace to be revealed” when Jesus returns (1 Pet 1:13). In other words, when the time for obedience comes, we must be ready to be obedient. We must have the right mind, attitude and perspective. Then obedience can come to pass. You see, obedience is easy when life is easy but hard when life is hard. Therefore, we must be ready for those hard days of testing if we hope to be obedient.
Furthermore, we see that one motivation for our obedience is accountability to God. God will judge us. Therefore, we are told to“conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth” (1 Pet 1:17). Friend, the salvation that God has provided for you isn’t something flippant and invaluable. It required “precious blood, … the blood of Christ” (1 Pet 1:19), which is far more valuable than silver or gold. Jesus was sacrificed for our sake. Therefore, disobedience to God dishonors Jesus and His work. You will be accountable to God for your obedience, and that truth should be a great motivator toward obedience. Don’t you want to hear from God, “Well done, good and faithful child!”?
Finally, we see that obedience and love are inseparable. Loving others is obedience to God, but even more, obedience to God is how you love others. God tells us, “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments” (2 John 1:6), and “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10). In our passage, God commands us to “fervently love one another from the heart” (1 Pet 1:22). We do that by being obedient to God’s commandments. Obedience and love are inseparable.
May you find God’s will by getting into His Word and do God’s will by being obedient to whatever He’s commanded there!
-This article first appeared in the March 9 edition of the Baptist and Reflector, the official newspaper of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, as a commentary on the March 13, 2011 LifeWay Sunday School curriculum Bible Studies for Life, and can be accessed through the B&R website at http://www.tnbaptist.org/BRARticle.asp?ID=3737. The article has been slightly edited here for westmainbaptist.com.