The Will Of God 06 – The nature of God’s will Part 3

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“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2 NIV

The will of God is perfect. God’s plan, God’s desire, God’s agenda, cannot be anything but perfect. His will is entirely without flaws,  defects or shortcomings. In conception and
execution, His will is perfect.

Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from God (James 1:17). For it comes from a flawless realm and a faultless being,  and even our flawed world cannot make it defective. His plan to save man was flawless in conception, for the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), and was perfect in execution, for the Lamb died on the cross and rose after three days.

The will of God is perfect. It is complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement. No matter how hard man tries to improve on it,  he cannot. He will end up creating his own will. For it is whole in conception and should maintain that wholeness in execution.

God’s plan of making Abraham a great nation was to be executed through Isaac his son, but Abraham tried to improve or salvage the will of God when the promise of Isaac delayed by inventing Ishmael. But no matter how hard Abraham tried,  Ishmael remained Abraham’s will. For God’s will was perfect and whole in Isaac, needing no improvement.

The will of God is perfect. It exactly fits the need in every situation and in every purpose. God who in His sovereignty knows the needs, designs His plan to perfectly meet those needs. No need beats the imagination of God’s will; for His plan precedes the needs, and comes in just in time to meet the needs.

When Moses was reiterating the law to the Israelites in Deuteronomy thirty two verse four, he exclaimed concerning God’s will, “… His work is perfect,  all His ways are judgment… ” David the psalsmist sang in second Samuel twenty two verse thirty one that “as for God,  His way is perfect,  the word of the Lord is tried… ”

Whenever the will of God is put to the test, it always passes, with a perfect score. It may appear flawed when beheld with the eyes of flesh and analysed by hearts of stone, but when those eyes are anointed with eye salve (Revelation 3:18), and those hearts of stone fall on Christ and are broken (Matthew 21:44), the exact nature of God’s will is discerned as perfect. For the word of God,  which is the will of God is perfect,  converting the soul (Psalsm 19:7).

gidmedico

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BIBLE ALIVE 25: The Wise Arabians

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Twelve wise men, Arabians from the east, arrived Jerusalem late in the evening, the sun already going down over the city. It was the 37th year of the rule of Herod the great, an Edomite, made king over Judea by Augustus and Antonius.

These wise men arrived Jerusalem famished and fagged out, their camels trudging through the city gate, bearing their weights, their backs cringing under it. They had seen a magnificent star in their country, unique from all the others they had seen before. This star reflected royalty; royalty like none they had seen before. So they decided to journey, following the direction of the star, which brought them to the very gate of Jerusalem and disappeared.

They alighted from their camels and stood by the gate, asking passerbys whether they knew a king which was recently born. “Where is He that is born the king of the Jews?” They asked. But no one knew.

It was only less than two years ago that Jesus was born in the lonely horse pen in Bethlehem. The shepherds in the fields were the first to take note of His birth; for they saw and heard glorious things concerning him, and made them known abroad, to the amazement of all that heard them. Simeon and Ann thereafter spoke of Him by the Spirit to all those who were disposed to take heed to what was said. One would have thought that the inhabitants of Jerusalem would have embraced tightly the long awaited messiah, but they continued almost two years without taking note of Christ till these wise Arabians arrived.

Then a young man, dressed in a messenger’s attire, obviously one of king Herod’s messengers approached them, being sent by the king. For the news of who they sought was all over the city. “Sirs, please come with me.” The messenger said to them. “The king would want to make some enquiry concerning who you seek.” Then the wise men went with him.

Herod was pacing furiously in his courtroom. He was greatly troubled. I know the Old Testament prophesied about the messiah and His kingdom. But I was really hoping those prophesies will forever fail, Herod thought. I just hope they are not coming through. He immediately summoned all the chief priests and scribes to the courtroom and asked, “Where is the king of the Jews to be born according to the writings of the prophets?” And they all answered in unison, “Bethlehem! Bethlehem in Judea.”

Not too long after, the wise men were led into Herod’s courtroom. After the salutations and exchange of pleasantries, they asked the question they’ve been asking the whole day. “Where is He that is born the king of the Jews?” “Why do you make this enquiry?” asked Herod.  “It is because we have seen His star in the  east.” they replied. “What business have you with Him? What have the men of the east to do with the King of the Jews?” asked the king. “We have come to worship him.” they echoed. Then the king said to them deceitfully, “Go and search for Him, then bring me word when you find him, that I may go and worship Him.”  Then the messenger who brought them led them out Herod’s palace.

These Arabians walked the desert path leading to Bethlehem alone. What kind of people are these? They thought. Not one person from the court, church or city could accompany us. We came from a far country to pay their king homage and they aren’t even curious enough to find Him. How do we even locate Him in a city so large as Bethlehem?

As they pondered on these things, the star which they had seen in the east appeared right before them, its glow almost blinding their eyes. With exceeding joy that they could not contain, they leaped, screaming and hugging each other, rejoicing that they had at last found their lead for this great quest; that they had not embarked on this journey in vain. For the God who led Israel by a pillar of fire to the promised land was going to lead them by a star to the promised Seed, who Himself is the bright and morning Star.

Following the star’s lead, they arrived at a lonely hut with thatched roof, the star resting over the house. On entering in, they found Mary sitting on a wooden chair, carrying the babe Jesus. Joseph stood beside her; for it was he who had opened the door for them.

The twelve wise men stood in awe. Awe, because of the magnificience that exuded from the babe. For though His current residence and attendance did not reflect the glory and eminence of a natural king, they were wise enough to see through the veil into the glorious eminence that this king of the Jews and king of the world radiated.

They presented first themselves, and then their gifts. They presented themselves; for they fell down before Him and worshipped. For no mention was made of them giving Herod such an honour inspite of all the royal grandeur he put on. But they honoured and worshipped Christ, not just as king, but as God.

They presented their gifts; for they opened their boxes before the babe, from which they brought out Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh – which were money and money’s worth. For this was going to be a relief to Joseph and Mary who were in a poor condition.

And far beyond that, these Arabians, being wise by divine providence, displayed symbolism in the gifts they offered. They offered Gold, for they recognized Christ as king, paying tribute to Him. They gave Frankincense, for they acknowledged Christ as God, honouring Him with the smoke of incense. And they added Myrrh, because they saw Christ as a Man that should die, and whose body would need embalming.

Food For Thought: (1)Many times those who are nearest to the means, are furthest from the end; for a prophet is not without honour, save in His own country. (2) Those who truly desire to know Christ, and find him, will not regard pains or perils in seeking after him. (3) The King of kings should be offered the gift of our lives first, and then the gift of our substance.

Scriptural references: Matthew 2:1-12; Micah 5:2; Revelation 22:16;

gidmedico.

The Will Of God 05 – The nature of God’s will Part 2

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The will of God is good,  acceptable and perfect. It is not good at one point and acceptable at another time,  and then perfect at a later time. It always contains these three attributes. I treated God’s will as good in the last study. I would like to dwell on God’s will as acceptable.

Romans twelve two wants us to renew our minds so that we can discern God’s will as acceptable. God’s will is acceptable and pleasing. Acceptable to who? Acceptable to God. He prescribes it,  so it has to be acceptable to Him. Nothing else pleases Him except His will.

“This is my beloved Son in whom I’m well pleased” said God the Father about Jesus the Son at His baptism. Jesus is God’s will personified,  and God was pleased with Him. Jesus did the will of His father,  which was acceptable and well pleasing to God.

Any remedial way or measure we take,  short of God’s will,  cannot be pleasing to Him,  no matter how we fine-tune it. Only the will of God and a life that does His will is accepted by Him. For He created all things; for His pleasure they are and were created (Revelation 4:11).

Some well meaning christians and bible scholars have interpreted this acceptable will to mean the permissive will of God. I have also been a victim of this interpretation in the past. But with careful and holistic study over the years,  and gleaning from other believers,  I discovered that there is no such qualifier of God’s will as permissive. I found out that many believers have used the permissive will of God as a perfect coverup to indulge their own will.

One common example in the bible that these well-meaning believers use to justify their ‘permissive will’ theory,  is that about the leadership of Israel that I cited in the last study. They usually render it thus. “God’s perfect will for Israel’s leadership was that He ruled them directly through judges,  but they didn’t want it. So they pleaded with God that they needed a king like the other nations,  and he obliged them. This is His permissive will.”

I would say,  they didn’t read first Samuel eight well,  because if they did,  they would have found out that after the elders of Israel told Samuel that they wanted a King instead of judges,  Samuel was displeased,  and God too. And God told Samuel in verse nine,  “hearken unto their voice,  howbeit yet,  protest solemnly unto them and show them the manner of the king…” That doesn’t look like the permissive will of God to me,  but what is clear was God allowing them to do their will, not His.

Another commonly referenced example is that of Hezekiah,  the king of Judah. The Lord sent the prophet Isaiah to him in Second Kings twenty,  asking him to put his house in order because it was time for him to die. But Hezekiah prayed begging God,  and God obliged him and added fifteen more years to him. Many call this God’s permissive will. But I don’t see how Hezekiah living more fifteen years was God’s will at all,  because from the above Scripture,  God made His will known to Hezekiah,  he wanted him to die at that time. God obliging Hezekiah was He granting Hezekiah his own will,  which we would later find was not good,  neither was it pleasing.

In the fifteen more years that Hezekiah lived,  his life didn’t exactly please God. For when the king of Babylon sent ambassadors to him,  in a prideful gesture,  he displayed all the treasures of God’s house to them,  from which the prophesy of Judah’s exile to Babylon stemmed. It was also within this fifteen years that his son Manasseh was born,  who went on to be one of the most wicked kings in Judah,  making his sons to pass through the fire.

I could mention more and more of such misinterpreted examples from scriptures. What I consistently find is this. Once God makes His will about a matter known,  He is only pleased when it is done. The famous teacher of God’s word,  Kenneth E. Hagin described the concept of the ‘permissive will’ of God as washing your feet with your socks on. It doesn’t work,  because such concept really doesn’t exist.

Jesus is our perfect example. For when he was faced at Gathsemane with His will and that of His Father,  He did not beg to have His own will by refusing to go to the cross,  but He chose the will of God which was acceptable and pleasing to God.

The will of God is only that that satisfies Him. And for Him to be well pleased with you,  you have to accept and do His acceptable will.

gidmedico.

The Will Of God 04 – The nature of God’s will Part 1

The Will Of God 04 – The nature of God’s will Part 1

The best way to fully understand anything is by characterising it. Or put differently, if one can properly describe the components of anything, then that person has a complete grasp of it. The same applies to God’s will. The intriguing features of the nature of God’s will are littered across scriptures. I’d love to pull some together.

Among other scriptures, Romans twelve two is one portion of scriptures that compresses three superb qualities of the will of God.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, acceptable and perfect will.” 

The apostle Paul in this portion of scripture was trying to admonish the believers in Rome on how to live a victorious christian life. They were not to assume the mold of the system of this world, nor were they expected to be well adjusted to the world’s traditions. But they are to renew their minds with God’s word that they may be able to discern the will of God. Then he goes further to mention these superb qualities of God’s will which is good, acceptable and perfect.

The will of God is good. The word “good” is one word that is difficult to describe. Dictionary.com in an attempt to define the word “good” uses about fifty different descriptions for it – as an adjective, noun, interjection, adverb – all in a bid to properly capture the meaning of the word. Wow! So many definitions just for one word, I wondered. Then I found out why.

The best description of good is God. If one takes out the letters “G”, “o”, “d” from the word “good”, one is left with the letter “o”, which I believe is a good symbol of emptiness. Whatever doesn’t have God cannot be good. No matter how innocent, useful, or appealing it may appear, once it is void of God, it cannot be good.

“No one is good, except God alone…” This Jesus said, in response to the rich young ruler in Mark ten eighteen. For he had called him “good master”, without necessarily acknowledging His deity. So, Jesus had to remind him that if God was taken out of anything or any person, that thing or person could not be regarded as good. “You are good, and you do good…” proclaims the Psalmist boldly about God in Psalms 119 verse 68.

Also, James one seventeen tells us that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. So, whatever is good is of God. And whatever God does, and whatever he gives, proscribes and plans is good.

The will of God is good. It is suitable for you. You do not know what you need, nor what best suits you. But you can be rest assured that God’s specific will for you is suitable for you, and has your best interest at heart.

“It is not good for the man to be alone,” God said to Adam in the beginning. “I will make a helper suitable for him.” And God brought Eve to Adam, and indeed she was well suited for him. Still speaking about marriage, Proverbs eighteen twenty-two says that the man who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord. Chapter nineteen verse fourteen of the same Proverbs reiterates that a prudent wife is from the Lord. So, that which God gives is always good.

Are you at the junction of making any decision? Of where to live? What course to study? What job to do? Which business to delve into? Which person to marry? What school to enrol your kids in? One thing is certain, if you seek God’s specific will at this junction, what He gives you will be well suited for you. Even if it is not what you had envisaged, and even if it is not your preference, if it is God’s will, you can trust that it is well customised for you. And in the long run, you will enjoy it, every bit. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

His plans for a people or nation is always good. God’s plan for Israel as a nation, as regards how they were to be led as a people, was good. He wanted to rule them through His elect – judges, handpicked by Him. But they wanted to be ruled by a monarch – a king, like the other nations, which was not good. God even told Samuel to solemnly protest to them about their choice, by making them know what terrible things they would suffer at the hand of their king. But they would not bulge. They thought God’s judges were not suitable for them. How myopic! So, He allowed them to have their will. And they ended up suffering the consequences (1 Samuel 8).

The will of God is always good – satisfactory in quality, quantity and degree, and well suited for us, because it emanates from God.

Hopefully if Jesus tarries, I’d elucidate the next quality of God’s will as acceptable in the next study.

gidmedico.

The Will Of God 03 – The different wills that exist

The Will Of God 03 – The different wills that exist

The ideal picture is that there be only one will prevailing – the will of God. But sadly, that is not the case. 

Everything originated from God (Genesis 1:1; John 1:3). Before everything was God, and after everything passes away, God will remain. In the beginning, there existed only one will, the will of God. And that remained so, until two events occurred, the rebellions. The rebellion of the Devil, and the rebellion of man.

The rebellion of Lucifer was first. God created the angels and other heavenly beings to have a freewill, and they all submitted this to the sovereign will of God. But a time came when Lucifer, the angel that covers, decided to carry out his own will contrary to that of God. We find Isaiah report that Lucifer had said in his heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit also upon the mount. . . I will be like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-14)

Here we see Lucifer’s will different from God’s. His plans were contrary to what God wanted. And when he tried to outsted God, he was cast down with the angels that rebelled. And thereafter, we had the will of Satan.

And the Bible summarises his will in John ten ten. He has come to steal, kill and destroy. First Peter five eight reminds us that he moves about as a roaring lion seeking whom to devour.

Way after the rebellion of Lucifer, came the rebellion of man. God also created man a freewill being and placed him over every other thing that he created (Genesis 1:27-28). God’s desire was that man will submit his will to God’s perfect will, and obey Him to the later. He was not going to coerce man, but desired willful submission. And so he laid out the Genesis two test, by commanding them to choose between the tree of life, and that of the knowledge of good and evil, instructing that they chose the former. Their failure of this test in chapter three of Genesis, led to their rebellion.

The rebellion of man led to the introduction of another will contrary to the will of God – the will of man. After the fall of man, the natural man began to live for himself. He served his flesh, the worldly system and the devil’s will. So, we find in existence, the will of God, the will of the Devil and the will of man.

God’s desire is that His will prevails in the affairs of men. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The Lord Jesus taught us to pray in His model prayer (Matthew 6:10). And that just as there was only one will in the beginning – the will of God, that there will be only one will in the end – the will of God.

If God wills, we will consider the nature of God’s will in the next exposition.

gidmedico.

WORD CLINIC 28: Don’t worry

WORD CLINIC 28: Don’t worry

“Doctor, I want to thank you for the surgery you did on me to remove my right scrotal swelling. And my groin swelling too. I’m immensely grateful. I was really scared then, especially when the scrotal swelling persisted after the surgery. But you kept saying, ‘Don’t worry. Don’t worry. It would subside.’ That really helped to calm me. And indeed, it went.”

And just like that patient of mine, I’ve made it a culture to always tell my patients, and those around me, not to worry. No matter how bad the prognosis is, I always end my consulting sessions by asking them not to worry. I state the facts about their health condition and about what solutions medicine has to offer, then end with the reassuring note that they should not worry. Because worry helps no one. It rather makes things worse.

And that was exactly what Jesus was saying in Matthew six twenty-five downwards. He asked us not to worry about our life – what we would eat, drink, or wear. He made us understand that life is more than food and clothings. “Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” asked Jesus rhetorically. He summed His admonition by asking us not to worry about the mundane things of this world but to place premium on things of eternal value, then other things would be sorted out.

I’ve found out that worry does more damage in our society than many of us realise. Many people suffer from mental health issues because they have allowed the enomousity of their problems to weigh them down. Depression is on the rise. Its prevalence is so high now that we read in the news almost everyday about someone who committed suicide. Chronic diseases like hypertension are on the rise too, worrying being a major factor. Some people struggle with sleepless nights, swallowing pills after pills in order to get some sleep. But after my long consultation with them, I find out that the problem most times is psychological. Worry.

Our work place has not been left unaffected by this menace called worry. Worry has reduced the productivity of many. It has led to some traders giving out the wrong change; to some factory workers letting their hand slide under the machine, chopping off a finger; to some health workers administering the wrong medication to their patients; to some teachers and lecturers assigning the wrong score while marking scripts. The extent of worry’s damage is endless.

Many relationships have been made sour due to worry. When worry sets in, joy disappears. You become disinterested in the activities you do with your love ones and friends. The passion dissipates, and everyone around you is saddled with the responsibility of making you happy. You cast that depressed mood on others around you, making the time spent with them unfruitful, and straining the relationship in the long run.

The apostle Peter in First Peter five verse seven admonished us to cast our cares upon the Lord for He cares for us. And indeed, that’s the solution. Problems exist, no one is denying that. And they always would. But are you to go about your day carrying the heavy load of your problem on your head? The answer is “No”. The Bible has asked you to lay that burden of your problems on the Lord, because He is concerned about you; your life – what you would eat, drink, put on; the man or woman you want to marry, the car you want to drive, the phone you want to buy, the children’s school fees you’re to pay, the bills you’re to settle, and every other mundane things. He is more concerned about them even more than you are. So please put them on Him. Because He is able to carry them and solve them.

There’s this song I love about burdens and problems that I grew up to hear Christians of my father’s age sing. (Those of you born recently, and those who didn’t mix up with Christians of the 19th Century may not know it.) I’d just share the lyrics with you.

“Leave it there. Leave it there. Take your problems to the Lord and leave it there. He will surely deliver you, as you put your trust in Him. Take your problems to the Lord and leave it there.”

Many a times, folks would go to the altar and cry out to the Lord singing the above song, pouring their hearts to Him and casting their burdens on Him. The truth is that many do cast their burdens on the Lord in the place of prayers, but very few leave it there. For many, no sooner did they pray, asking the Lord to take over their problem, did they start worrying about that same problem. If you have laid your problems on the Lord, leave Him to carry it. Don’t bear those burdens again through worry.

And the last time I checked, worry is not a fruit of the spirit. Joy is. So don’t let the devil box you up. Don’t worry, but rather, rejoice evermore.

gidmedico.

The Will Of God 02 – What is God’s will?

The Will Of God 02 – What is God’s will?

I began a teaching series on this crucial subject of God’s will and how central it is to the Christian faith. I pointed out that almost the entire pages of Scriptures are lined with this subject, such that one could submit that to be oblivious of God’s will is akin to not being a Christian. It is also worthy of note that the apostle Paul laboured in the place of prayer that the church be filled with the knowledge of God’s will (Colossians 1:9). Because of these, I would love to attempt an explicit explanation of what God’s will is.

The will of God refers to His desire, counsel, plan and programme. It is what He wants to exist in all facets of existence, and what He wants done by all His creations, to the minutest detail.

God’s will is not just a passive broad blueprint for all of creation but an active plan of what He wants to do, has done, and is doing.

In the Old Testament, we saw God creating everything (Genesis 1), with the singular intent that they bring Him pleasure (Revelation 4;11). After the fall of man, He began His plan for mankind’s salvation which He instituted before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). He chose Abraham, and the race of Israel to establish His covenant. We saw His specific plan for Israel actualised which culminated in Christ. 

In the New Testament, we see Christ fulfilling God’s will in His life and ministry, and fulfilling His will in going to the cross. We also see that He has an overall plan for the church and specific plans for the believer.

Many people, believers inclusive, live their lives completely oblivious of God. Some who are God conscious see God as a tool. They believe He created them, and left them to decide what they want to do with their lives. They also see Him as all-powerful, and believe He would be very instrumental to them achieving their life-goals. So, they design their well thought-out plans and employ the all-powerful God to help them execute it. They achieve some success, and are elated and grateful to God. Only if they knew they have it all turned upside down.

God is creator and initiator. He has a plan which He began running even before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), and has created us to be a part of that plan. He wants to use us in the execution of that programme, and not we using Him. So, His plan is both broad and specific. Broad, encompassing all of creation, and yet beyond creation. Specific, containing fine details as regards you His creation, and the role you have in His overall plan.

I’d love to use the analogy of a car manufacturer to explain this. The ultimate plan is to make a car. He has smaller specific plans to manufacture the parts, like the engine, body, tires, internal fittings such as chairs, steering wheel, and so on. The completion of his specific plan of manufacturing each part will result in the completion of his overall goal of manufacturing the car. The parts are not the final goal, the car is.

Knowing this about God’s will helps the believer to respond in reverential awe to seek to know and do God’s will for his or her life that he or she may remain relevant to God’s overall programme.

If God permits, I will mention the different wills that exist and how they came about in the next study.

gidmedico