God’s Will for Me
Last year was an emotionally bumpy ride for me. On my recently updated rollercoaster of life (now 50 percent faster with higher hills and loopier loops!), I found myself in several situations that have made me confront my understanding of living by faith. I thought I knew what it was, but like many concepts in life, you really don’t understand something until you’ve experienced it.
This may not come as a surprise to you, but it is one thing to read about God’s will and another thing to actually live according to His will. It’s an all too common struggle: I can read about God’s amazing power and love and say that I believe in Him, but do my actions reflect my speech? I can study His counsel for my life, but when it comes to actually applying them, do I really trust Him?
This is where living by faith comes in. There’s no question that faith is important. Hebrews 11:6 reminds us: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” That’s pretty blunt. I can do many wonderful things but if I do not have faith I am not pleasing God. An earlier passage in Hebrews actually takes this idea up a notch. “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back,” (Hebrews 10:38). God’s people will not only believe—not only have faith—they will live by this faith (see also Habakkuk 2:4).
Faith, at its core, is dependency. This is what living by faith looked like in Paul’s life: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” (Galatians 2:20). Living by faith was giving up control of his life; Jesus was making the decisions instead. In order to live by faith, he had to become completely dependent on Jesus. It’s not just about being familiar with His will but being obedient to His will.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that “we walk by faith, not by sight.” Walking by faith requires obedience to God’s will, even when you cannot see. We can trust Him and obey because we know that although we cannot see, God can. So, when God says start walking, we start walking. When God says stop, we stop. When God wants us to follow where He’s leading, we don’t question His wisdom; we obey. It does not guarantee us an easy life, it only guarantees that in the end we will be where God wants us to be. This is where the struggle is the strongest: following God’s will is giving up the final say in our life; it is changing our dependence from us to God.
I have learned that this is what it is to live by faith: holding on to Jesus and letting Him do the walking. So, I no longer want to live life trusting in my understanding and choices, but fully trusting in Jesus’ leading. I must become fully dependent on Jesus—depending on Him for correction and for direction. I’m not suggesting this is an easy thing to do. Giving up my will for God’s will is against my nature, but I’m finding that when I trust God in the little things, it is easier to trust Him with the bigger things.
By Bill Kasper, Ministerial Director