What Is the Will of God?

Some consider the will of God to be a mystery that no one can understand. Is this true? What does the Bible say about God’s will in our lives?

If God has a will, which He does, and wants you to do it, which He also does, would He deliberately hide it from you? 

Or would He make His will easy to find and absolutely unmistakable?

It turns out, God revealed His will in the most obvious place: the Bible. He also recorded it in plain language, not obscure metaphors. 

It’s time you knew what the will of God is from the pages of your Bible.

Does God have a will?

Listen to what the author of Hebrews says regarding the will of God and why Jesus suffered for us: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10, emphasis added throughout).

This verse provides a summary statement of the will of God. He wants glorified children. But what does that mean? 

If we read what the Scriptures say about Jesus Christ, we can know. He is the only Son to date who has ever been glorified, and His current, resurrected state reflects the will of God perfectly. 

The will of God drove Jesus throughout His time on earth, but it was especially present in His mind on the night before His crucifixion. Notice what He prayed to God: “I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself” (John 17:4-5). 

Jesus knew the time was near when He would shed His mortal, physical body and rejoin the Father in the spirit realm. This was the will of God—and Jesus fervently asked the Father to carry it out.

The will of God drove Jesus throughout His time on earth, but it was especially present in His mind on the night before His crucifixion.And God did. 

After Jesus’ body had lain in a tomb for three days, the Father restored His life and made Him immortal. God gave His Son a glorious spirit body, unfettered by the laws of the physical universe. Then God exalted Him to a supreme office in heaven, from where He now towers over “all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named” (Ephesians 1:21).

But how often do we hear it preached that Jesus Christ is the prototype of what God will do to many more people? The apostle Paul referred to Jesus as “the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). 

God the Father has planned for a far larger family than just two, Himself and Jesus. How many children does God want, and how many “brethren” will Jesus ultimately have? Paul gives an answer: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

“Men,” of course, does not refer strictly to males here. The word in Greek is anthropos, which refers to mankind—men and women. In other words, God wants as many children as the human race has produced to date and will continue to produce until the earth ceases to exist. 

For reference, some estimates put the grand total of the human population to date at more than 100 billion. 

God is creating a massive family.

To learn more about this truth, read “Children of God” and “Why Were You Born?” 

How do we do the will of God now?

The will of God is what God plans to do to man and for man, revealed through what He did first to Jesus Christ.

But since God is the One who does His will, should we sit on our hands and do nothing until it happens? Jesus says the individual who qualifies for this glorious opportunity is “he who does the will of My father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). 

He meant that if we want God to perform His will toward us, we have certain responsibilities to carry out. Because, while no opposition will prevent Almighty God from accomplishing His magnificent plan, God has allowed us the freedom of choice. 

Many will choose rightly, submit to the will of God and receive eternal life. Others, unfortunately, will simply reject the glory God wants to give and squander their opportunity at salvation.

Central to this discussion, however, is something many either miss or downright ignore: God has conditions on eternal life (Matthew 19:17-19).

The Bible lays out several requirements. They should be viewed as though God were giving us direct instruction. When we listen—which we prove by our actions—we do the will of God.

Christ proclaimed two requirements at the outset of His public ministry: “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

Peter, under the inspiration of God, also established the condition of baptism (Acts 2:38). God requires all sinners who come to Him to be baptized—immersed in water—to symbolize the total rejection of their former lifestyle. 

(For more information, see our blog post “Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?”)

The same apostle also wrote, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15). Good works are mandatory. Doing good aligns with Jesus’ teaching about being a light to the world (Matthew 5:14-16).

Paul supported the importance of righteous living when he wrote, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Sanctification means being consecrated or set aside for a special purpose. This occurs for us when we distinguish ourselves from the world around us by a life of obedience to God’s laws (Leviticus 20:7-8). 

A summary of what God wants each of us to do now is found in one verse: “For to this you were called . . . that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). “His steps,” of course, is a reference to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. 

Remember, He was the Pioneer of the will of God. He mapped out the path we should take in detail.

God wants us to follow His example.

(To learn more about Christ’s example, read our ongoing article series “Walk as He Walked.”)

How should we handle other life issues? 

What if someone is practicing all the biblical requirements, but an issue arises where there’s no direct answer from Scripture? What should someone seeking the will of God do when facing a crossroads in life? 

After all, the Bible says nothing specific about whom you should marry, where to move your family, your best career path and a host of other decisions we face in life. What is the will of God in these moments?

Is God indifferent to these choices?

Think of it like this: a loving human father cares enough about his children to be responsive when asked for input on a weighty decision. The father would want to help where he can, offer advice and provide general direction. 

God intends we navigate and manage our lives based on His principles; this is how we do the will of God in everything.Our Heavenly Father is the same way. 

The Bible may not directly answer some of life’s challenging issues, but it’s full of principles. God intends we navigate and manage our lives based on His principles; this is how we do the will of God in everything.

There are principles on:

Usually, the combination of biblical principles, personal experience and counsel from respected advisers will help us discern how to handle life’s challenges.

But what if we find ourselves in a situation where all of our options would fit with God’s principles? 

Cases like this may require us to lay our circumstances before God and ask Him to close doors. Most people want their decisions to be the most beneficial and have the greatest positive impact. 

Unfortunately, human vision is often narrow. This makes finding the best decision elusive. 

However, since God sees infinitely further than we do, we can rely on Him.

Our responsibility is to make sure no decision we make contradicts His overall will for our lives.When we pray for God to close doors, we are, in effect, asking Him to narrow our selection. If we exercise faith and patience, God can reveal insight through certain circumstances, inspiring us to be more confident about a particular choice. 

If we make a commitment, such as marriage or baptism, then God expects us to stick with that commitment. But for other choices (like where to live), we can change our mind. If somewhere down the road we realize we made a mistake, we can be flexible and go back to the drawing board.

It should also be mentioned that people mistakenly believe God has an ironclad say on every decision they make, no matter how minute. Is there a specific “will of God” for what color shirt you should wear tomorrow morning, or what flavor of ice cream you should get? We can make literally hundreds of decisions like this in a day. In many cases, God simply gives us the option to choose as we like. 

Our responsibility is to make sure no decision we make contradicts His overall will for our lives.

Are you doing the will of God?

God wants to add us into His eternal family, to rule alongside Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God. Concerning this awesome future, Jesus said we should regularly pray, “Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). Doing so keeps us mindful of God’s ultimate plan and our individual part in it.

One encouraging passage spells out how Jesus views those who diligently practice the will of God in their lives.

“While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, ‘Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.’

“But He answered and said to the one who told Him, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’

“And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother’” (Matthew 12:46-50).

It reminds us of a few things this blog post has covered: God has a will; we can know what it is; and if we do it, Christ considers us family.

Topics Covered: Christian Living, God’s Plan

About the Author

Kendrick Diaz

Kendrick Diaz

Kendrick Diaz is a full-time writer at the Life, Hope & Truth offices in McKinney, Texas. He spends his workdays writing blog posts and articles for Discern magazine and LifeHopeandTruth.com.

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