Frequently I come across people wanting to know God’s specific will for their lives. They want to know what job or career they should pursue. They want to know what church to attend. They want to know who to marry. These are important aspects of God’s will for each of us. But, I find very few people asking about God’s general will for their lives, which is extremely important.
In Acts 21, Paul is on his way to Jerusalem. It was God’s specific will for his life to go to Jerusalem, be arrested, turned over to the Gentiles, and go to Rome. I doubt if any of us have been called to go to Jerusalem, get arrested, and sent to Rome. It was God’s specific will for Paul, and only applied to him. God’s general will applies to everyone, while His specific will applies to specific individuals or groups of individuals.
Following God’s will is one of the marks of a believer. In Mark 3:31-35, people told Jesus that His mother and brothers were looking for Him. He looked at those sitting around Him and replied, “Behold, My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Doing the will of God was proof of being a follower of Christ. God expects believers to live for the will of God. In 1 Peter 4, we are exhorted to arm ourselves with the same purpose as Christ, so as not to live for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. In 1 John 2:16-17, those who live for the lusts of the flesh are of the world, but those who do the will of God abide forever. God expects us to live for the will of God.
Where do we discover God’s general will for our lives? We find it in the Scriptures. Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 that we are not to be conformed to the world, but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind that we can prove the will of God, which is good, acceptable, and perfect. We must fill and renew our minds with God’s word, and then apply His word in our lives. When we do that, we will prove the will of God in our lives.