Nights with Jon E

The Word For Today

Understanding God's will 2

'Teach me to do your will.' Psalm 143:10 NIV

As you look back on your life, the thing that will bring you the greatest joy is knowing you've done the will of God. But in order for that to happen, you must really want to do God's will. Jesus said, 'If anyone is willing to do his will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from myself' (John 7:17 NAS). Note the words 'willing to do his will.' More than completing your education, or getting married, or getting your house paid off, or anything else in life, you must want to do God's will.Chuck Swindoll writes: 'There have been times when I said I wanted to do his will but I really didn't. That's a tough thing to confess, but looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I realise that at times I resisted his will. And I've learned that serious consequences follow selfish resistance.' Paul writes: 'Doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does' (Ephesians 6:6-8 NIV). Note the phrase about 'doing the will of God from your heart.' That's about as deep as it gets.More than pleasing people, more than acquiring creature comforts and status, more than staying safe, your greatest desire should be to please God. The Psalmist prayed, 'I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart' (Psalm 40:8 NIV). Your prayer should be: 'In all I do this day, Lord, my desire is to please you and do your will.'

Soulfood: Jos 1:7-8, 2 Tim 3:14-17, Ps 119:1-16, Ps 119:1-16


Understanding God's will 1

'Understand what the Lord's will is.' Ephesians 5:17 NIV

When you know you're in the centre of God's will for your life, you have peace in spite of adverse circumstances. You have confidence to go to God at any time, knowing that he'll provide what you need.

You ask, 'But how can I tell if I'm in the will of God?' By knowing these two things, which are clearly laid out in the Bible: (1) You must be a Christian. Paul tells us, 'For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God' (Romans 8:14 NAS). Only as a believer do you have the Spirit's presence within you. And you must have this inside help if you're going to follow the will of God and enjoy the blessing it brings. (2) You must exercise wisdom. 'Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is' (Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV). The famous theologian and preacher Jonathan Edwards entered Yale University in 1716 at age 13, and at 17 he graduated at the head of his class. By age 20 he 'resolved never to lose one moment of time; but to improve it the most profitable way I can.' At 26 he pastored one of the largest Congregational churches in Massachusetts. And when God decided to visit New England in the 'Great Awakening,' he chose to use Jonathan Edwards because he was prepared and ready.

Doing the will of God calls for staying sensitive to the Holy Spirit and living in a state of perpetual readiness. So, how are you doing with that?

Soulfood: 2 Chr 32-34, Mark 8:1-13, Ps 119:161-168, Prov 22:17-19


Be wise and winsome

'He who wins souls is wise.' Proverbs 11:30 NIV

The Bible says, 'Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him' (1 John 2:15 NIV). But some of us act like loving the Lord more requires loving those around us less. We may feel awkward around them, or lose touch with them or not know how to communicate with them, or we give off signals that we are spiritually superior to them.

The Contemporary English Bible puts it this way: 'If you act wisely, others will follow' (Proverbs 11:30 CEV). You are called to bring joy to people, not judge them. God has already established a time and a place for judging, and you won't be on the throne when he does it! Jesus is called 'the Good Shepherd' (John 10:11), and the Greek word for good literally means 'engaging, attractive, fetching.' Christ was so magnetic that people were automatically drawn to him. Are they drawn to you? Jesus said we are called to be salt and light. Salt makes the taste of food more enjoyable, and light shed on their path shows people the right way to go. Because they were wise and winsome, the three Hebrew children changed the politics of Babylon, Isaiah the prophet spoke into the lives of kings, and Joseph the economist saved Egypt from famine.

Yes, Satan is at work taking Christ out of Christmas, prayer out of schools, and God out of government. But he won't win, and he knows it (see Revelation 12:12). His strategy, however, is to convince us that he can. So today endeavour to be wise and winsome so you can lead people to Christ.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 29-31, Mark 7:24-37, Ps 119:145-160, Prov 22:14-16

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