God’s will…A term we hear often, something we’re advised to seek, something made reference to throughout the Bible…But just what IS God’s will, anyway?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought of someone’s “will” in a somewhat negative light. The “will of Lyn”, for example, certainly stands in my way of Spiritual growth and happiness; for if it isn’t happening according to “Lyn’s will”, then I’m not overly happy about it!
I have to also admit that the term, “will of God,” holds somewhat of a negative connotation in my heart. Somehow, the term seems to conjure up images of God as a disciplinarian, someone who looks at global well-being above personal happiness. I mean, even though I know God’s will is best and I want it to happen, whenever it doesn’t line up with “Lyn’s will,” I generally sigh and resign myself to not getting my own way. Once in a while, I even fall into the trap of asking God why He can’t take ‘my’ desires into account once in a while…
But is this truly the way to look at God’s will?
Last Saturday, an article based on Rev. 4:11, NLT, was published in the Nugget: “Created for God’s Pleasure“: “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.”
This message had been a deep revelation to me, for I had never before fully understood until then how God takes so much pleasure in caring for us, giving us gifts, helping us through life, and especially in the few moments each day that we try to dedicate to Him. Imagine my surprise to receive a loving note from one of the Nugget’s astute readers informing me of the truth that the word “pleasure” in the NLT cannot be found in most English versions of the Bible. Rather, in most Bibles other than those related to the KJV, the original Greek is translated as “will”!
Now I don’t know about you, but the words “will” and “pleasure” are not synonyms in my personal lexicon…So which is it? Are we created for God’s will? Or for His pleasure?
A quick internet search revealed that “thelema” is taken from the Greek root “thelo”, meaning to desire or to wish. More properly translated, it is often referred to as God’s “preferred-will”, or stated differently, His “best-offer” to people. (Taken from Helps Word Studies, as referenced in Bible Hub ).
Wait a minute. Aren’t desires and wishes positive? Aren’t “best offers” set with the good of everyone in mind, including the recipient of the offer?
With this in mind, Rev. 4:11 could read like this: …and it is for God’s desire and wish that we exist and were created. It is because creating us was God’s “best-offer”…
It puts a different spin on things, doesn’t it? We are here for a reason, and that reason is to fulfill the desire and wish of God Himself! We are here, as it is translated in the KJV and the NLT, for His pleasure!
This made me think about the will of God in general. The word translated in so many of our English Bible versions as “will”, actually refers to “desire” or “wish”, or even “God’s ‘preferred-will'”. God’s will is His “Best-offer”, so to speak.
But wait. If this is what the term “will of God” refers to, what does this mean for all the other gazillion times we hear and use this term?
Take our prayers, for example. So often we pray, “Lord, may Your will be done”. What if we were to pray in this manner: Dear God, may Your “desire and wish” come to be! May we accept Your “best-offer”!
Taking prayer a bit farther, so often we pray, “Lord, if it is Your will, please heal ____ of their ___.” When we think of God’s Will as His desire and wish, however, we begin to realize that healing is always God’s desire and wish. Isn’t this, after all, what made up the major portion of Jesus’ ministry on Earth? Why would things change just because He returned to Heaven? How much more powerful our prayers for healing might be if we understood that “God’s will” is also His desire for our best good!
And let’s think about the whole “‘God’s’ will vs. ‘my’ will” conundrum. Thinking of God’s will as His absolute “best offer” suddenly puts it in a completely different light and my own “best offer” pales in comparison to the one offered by the all-wise, all-knowing God of the universe. Suddenly it doesn’t seem so much like He is disciplining me when things don’t go “my” way; but rather, that in His love, He is offering something better, and He is asking me to simply trust in what I cannot see!
Doesn’t this speak to His incomprehensible love for us? Thinking of His will as His desire or His wish can help us come to a better understanding of His infinite love; and I don’t know about you, but I am going to understand something far deeper the next time I come across “will of God!”“Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2b NLT)
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
P.S. May I add here that if there is ever a time when something published in the Nugget doesn’t seem to add up to what you understand from the Bible, pleaselet me know. The last thing I would ever want to do is to “scratch” your “itching ears” with what I want to believe the Bible says, if ever it were actually not true (See2 Tim. 4:3).