Paul’s Letter to the Romans
As Paul brings this letter to a close, he deals with details concerning his apostleship, leaves the Romans with numerous greetings and signs off with a doxology.
Born in 1834, Charles Spurgeon was one of the most popular preachers in London by the age of 21. His sermons were also published inwritten form. One, entitled God’s Will About the Future, was based on James 4:13-17, our text today. It was scheduled for distribution on Sunday, February 7, 1892. One week before that, on January 31, Charles Haddon Spurgeon died, 57 years of age. Considering the subject matter of the text, the timing of that event was perfect. Life is uncertain. Make the desire to please God your life’s principle driving force.
Finding God’s perfect will for our lives is not an exact science. Many people seem to constantly spin their wheels seeking “His Will”, all the while pursuing what amounts to a search for the Holy Grail or the Lost Ark of the Covenant. In the meantime they are accomplishing very little, as anyone observing them can often see much more clearly than they can. I know, because I’ve searched for this pot of gold myself, but never quite made it to the end of the rainbow.
The message the Lord has for Jeremiah seems instructive:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
– Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)
God had made His plans for Jeremiah well in advance. One day, however, He decided to reveal to him that special calling, that role this young priest was to play in the unfolding intentions of the Almighty. There is no indication that Jeremiah was really seeking this. In fact, He argues the point a little, implying that God’s ideas were all wrong.
Here’s where we find a great lesson – visible in Scripture and frequently reinforced by our own experience:
We don’t discover the “Will of God” by directly pursuing it.
He reveals it to us through daily submission to Him.
Some days that will seems pretty ordinary: You get up, get to work, and dutifully fulfill your duties. This is God’s will and you can rest in peaceful contentment with it. At other times it’s more dramatic: The whole course of your life can be altered through a career change, relocation, a death, a birth or a marriage. But each of those big things normally happen step-by-step, or through something you never, ever had the opportunity to control.
A balanced, daily combination of the Bible, prayer, examining your own desires or circumstances, and a bit of godly counsel will usually do the job. If your heart’s desire is truly to become and remain submitted to God’s desires, God’s will cannot remain elusive for very long.