Christ taught us that knowing God’s will and living in obedience to that will is the key to it all! God is the potter; we are the clay. God keeps us spinning on His potter’s wheel, shaping and reshaping us as He bathes our lives in tears to make us more Christ-like so He can use us for His will. Surrender daily. Keep your clay moist through daily prayer – prayer that’s in accordance to His will.
Our job, our purpose is to understand and live in God’s will and not be selective when times get tough.
1. Matthew 7:21
Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
2. Matthew 12:50
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother and sister and mother.
3. Romans 12:2
Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.
Our Father “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”He “is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish.”His commandment is “that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will.
“Although he was a Son, [Jesus] learned obedience through what he suffered.”How much more reason have we sinful creatures to learn obedience – we who in him have become children of adoption. We ask our Father to unite our will to his Son’s, in order to fulfill his will, his plan of salvation for the life of the world. We are radically incapable of this, but united with Jesus and with the power of his Holy Spirit, we can surrender our will to him and decide to choose what his Son has always chosen: to do what is pleasing to the Father.
In committing ourselves to [Christ], we can become one spirit with him, and thereby accomplish his will, in such wise that it will be perfect on earth as it is in heaven.
Consider how Jesus Christ] teaches us to be humble, by making us see that our virtue does not depend on our work alone but on grace from on high. He commands each of the faithful who prays to do so universally, for the whole world. For he did not say “thy will be done in me or in us,” but “on earth,” the whole earth, so that error may be banished from it, truth take root in it, all vice be destroyed on it, virtue flourish on it, and earth no longer differ from heaven.
By prayer we can discern “what is the will of God” and obtain the endurance to do it.Jesus teaches us that one enters the kingdom of heaven not by speaking words, but by doing “the will of my Father in heaven.”
“If anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.”Such is the power of the Church’s prayer in the name of her Lord, above all in the Eucharist. Her prayer is also a communion of intercession with the all-holy Mother of God and all the saints who have been pleasing to the Lord because they willed his will alone:
It would not be inconsistent with the truth to understand the words, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” to mean: “in the Church as in our Lord Jesus Christ himself”; or “in the Bride who has been betrothed, just as in the Bridegroom who has accomplished the will of the Father.”
Small Group Questions
- Think about a situation you have been in lately where you did not live God’s will. Discuss that situation and what caused you to make the choice you made.
- What action can you take the next time so the outcome is different?
- At this point in your life, what level of commitment do you have to living God’s will and not your will?
- The Integrated Catholic Life –
- Living Your Strengths: Discover Your God-Given Talents and Inspire Your Community (Catholic Edition) [Hardcover] by Albert L. Winseman
- Finding God’s Will for You [Paperback] by St. Francis de Sales (Author)
- This week would be a good time to start thinking of various ways we can let go of some of our selfish ways as we strive to live closer to God’s will for our life.
- Consider an action you will take this week to better understand God’s will and commit to it. Report to the small group your observations and progress during the next meeting.
Reid Rooney – Previous Author(s): Steve Green / Graham Galloway
1. From The Integrated Catholic Life – Five Essentials for Discovering and Living God’s Will
Let’s face it – not all of us have a prophet like Nathan living in our home and we are not likely to be visited by an Archangel. So how are we to discover God’s plan for us? I think too many of us look for a great sign and fail to hear the quiet voice of God when He speaks to us in our hearts and through others. So here are what I believe are five essentials for discovering and living God’s Will:
Live in Christ’s Friendship– We Catholics refer to this as being in a state of grace. That is, live the sacramental life and, particularly, seek forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation whenever you become aware of committing a grave sin. Mortal sin particularly deafens our spiritual hearing.
Practice Humility and Surrender to the Lord– We are all inclined to be prideful. If we think we already have all the answers, we won’t be open to new ones, so get into the habit of practicing humility daily. Humbly surrender your will to the Lord.
Pray Daily– Do we really love God above all else? Then we should be praying before and above all else. That’s what you do when you love someone; you spend time in their company. Prayer is spending time with God. In prayer, we must ask God to reveal His Will to us.
Be Aware and Listen– Do you normally limit your prayer to speaking to God? If so, you need to set aside time during and after your prayer to listen. Trust Jesus. He said, “Seek and you will find, ask and you will receive, knock and the door will be opened.” Have faith that God will answer and you will discover that answer – one way or the other.
Decide to Act – The desire to live God’s Will is not the same as the decision to live God’s Will. The former is a feeling; the latter is an act of human will. This is not always easy and it can sometimes be painful, but you can believe that God has only the good for you in His answer. We cannot always see very far down the road. We won’t always understand the specific purpose and end, beyond our own salvation, for our actions and decisions that God has in His Plan of Divine Providence for us. It is only ours to trust and act.
2. “The less self-willed we are, the easier it will be to us to follow God’s will.”
Letter by St. Francis de Sales
We must recollect that there is no vocation without its wearinesses, its bitternesses, and its trials; and moreover (except in the case of those who are wholly resigned to the will of God,) each one would willingly change his condition with that of others. Those who are Ministers, would fain be otherwise. They who are married, would they were not. They who are not, would they were. From whence proceeds this general discontentedness, if it be not a certain rebellion against constraint, and an evil spirit in us that makes each one think another’s condition better than his own?
But it is all one; and whosoever is not entirely resigned, but keeps on turning this way and that, never will find peace. When a person has a fever, he finds no place comfortable; he has not remained in one bed a quarter of an hour, before he wishes to be in another. It is not the bed which is in fault, but the fever, which torments him everywhere. And so a person who has not the fever of self-will, is contented everywhere and in all things, provided God be glorified. He cares not in what capacity God employs him, provided he can do therein His Divine will.
But this is not all. We must not only do the will of God, but to be really devout, we must do it cheerfully, nay, joyfully. If I were not a Bishop, perhaps, knowing what I now do, I might wish not to be one. But being one, not only am I obliged to do all that this difficult vocation requires, but I must do it joyfully, and make it agreeable to myself to do it. This is what St. Paul means when he says, “Let every man in the vocation in which he is called, therein abide with God.”1
We cannot bear the crosses of others, but each one must bear his own; and that we may each bear our own, our Lord would that each should renounce himself; that is to say, his own will. “I wish this or that” I should be better here or there.” These are temptations. Our Lord knows best what is best for each one of us; let us do what He wills, and remain where He has placed us.
But you have asked me to give you a few practical rules for your guidance. Besides all I have told you above, you should, First, meditate every day, either in the morning or before dinner or supper, and especially on the Life and Death of our Lord, and you can make use of any book that may assist you. Your meditation should never last above half-an-hour; at the end of each always add a consideration of the obedience which our Lord exercised towards God His Father: for you will see that all He did was done in obedience to the will of God; and considering this will rouse you more earnestly to strive to learn His will yourself. Secondly, before you do or prepare to do any of those duties of your calling which are apt to irritate you, think of the saints of old, who joyfully endured great and grievous things,—some suffering martyrdom, some dishonor in this world; some binding up ulcers and fearful sores; some banishing themselves into the desert; some working among slaves in the galleys: and each and all to do something pleasing in the sight of God. And what are we called upon to do, approaching to such trials as these?
Thirdly, Often think that the real value of whatever we do, is proportioned by the conformity with which we do it to the will of God. If in merely eating or drinking I do it becauseit is the will of God that I should, I am doing what is more agreeable to Him, than if I were to do what should even cost me my life, without any such Divine intention.
Fourthly, I would advise you often during the day, beseech God that He would inspire you with a real love of your vocation, and that you should say, like St. Paul, when he was converted, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?2Wouldest Thou that I should serve Thee in the lowest office in Thy house? I will reckon myself here, too blest. Provided that I serve Thee, I care not in what capacity.” And coming more particularly to what is vexing you, say, “Wouldest Thou that I should do such-and-such a thing? Alas! O Lord, though I am not worthy, willingly will I do it:” and by these means you may greatly humble yourself; and oh, what a treasure you will obtain! Far, far greater, doubtless, than you can ever estimate!
Fifthly, I would wish that you should consider how many saints have been in your position of life and vocation, and how they all accommodated themselves to it with great meekness and resignation; as many in the Old Testament as in the New,—Sara, and Rebecca, and Elizabeth, and the holy Anna, and St. Paul, and hundreds of others; and let their example encourage you. We must love what God loves; and if He loves our vocation, let us love it also; and let us not amuse ourselves, by placing ourselves in the position of others. Let us diligently do our business. For each his own cross is not too much. Gently mingle the office of Martha with that of Mary, diligently doing the duties of your calling, often recollecting yourself, and placing yourself in spirit at the foot of the Cross, and saying, “My Lord, whether I run, or whether I stand still, or whatever I do, I am Thine, and Thou art mine. Thou art my first Love, my Spouse, and all that I do, it is for Thee, whatsoever it be.”
Further, every evening examine yourself, and throughout the day constantly raise ejaculatory prayers to God. I recommend, for your reading, the “Spiritual Combat.” Communicate, if possible, every week, and regularly attend the services of the Church on Sundays and Festivals. Remember also what I have often told you,—be just to yourself in the devoted life you are leading; I mean, let others, and especially those of your own family, see its blessed effects in yourself, and be led to honor it accordingly. We must always be careful not to make our devotion annoying to others. What we cannot do without annoyance, especially to those placed over us, we should leave undone: and believe me this spiritual self-denial and privation, so far from being displeasing to God, will be accepted by Him as such, and turn to your own profit. Deny yourself willingly; and in proportion as you are hindered from doing the good you desire, strive so much the more zealously to do what you do not desire. Perhaps it is difficult for you to resign yourself patiently and gladly to these privations, but in doing so, you will gain for yourself real benefit. In all commit your cares and trials, and contradictions, and whatever befalls you to God, comforting yourself in the thought, that He blesses those who are holy, or those who are striving to become so. Keep your heart ready to bear every sort of cross and disappointment with resignation, for the sake of Him Who has borne so much for us: and may He fill thy heart and be thy guide through life!