I have a quote that I want to share. Ponder this for a moment:
It is surrender to the known will of God that paves the way for the discovery of the unknown will of God.
I heard those words the other night in a video lesson by Andy Stanley in a series called "Discovering the Will of God" and I have found myself continuing to think about them ever since.
What would it look like to "surrender" to the known will of God? What do I already KNOW about the will of God? In answering these questions, I find myself always going back to Jesus' answer to the teacher of the law who wanted Jesus to name the greatest commandment. Three times in scripture we find that His answer to this query was "to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself." In 1 John 3 & 4, John tells us that we are liars if we say we love God, but don't love our brother...and not just love with words, but love "in action and in truth." In John's gospel, particularly in chapters 15 and 16, we learn that Jesus said we would show our love for Him and we would remain in Him if we obeyed His commands. He went on to say that His command to us was to "love one another." Jesus also talks a lot about how we treat the "least of these" in our midst (Matthew 25,) so I'm pretty sure that loving and caring for the poor is also part of the equation. In short, it seems fairly clear that one thing about which Jesus felt strongly was this issue of love...love in action, sacrificial love.
So, going back to my previous question, what would it look like to surrender to the known will of God? In all honesty, I find it much more interesting at times to wonder about the parts of God's will that are still unknown to me than to consider how obedient I am being to the parts of God's will about which I am already clear. Wondering about God's will for my life and lamenting the lack of clarity I am experiencing gives me permission to sit quietly in committee in the safety of my easy chair. "I just don't know what God wants me to do next" or "I'm still praying about that" delays my obligation to DO anything of any consequence.
Don't get me wrong, there are times in life when I need to wait upon the Lord or pray for clarity on a particular issue. However, the quote with which I began this post suggests to me a greater truth. I am going to have difficulty hearing God's voice and discerning His will on a particular issue if I am not actively pursuing those aspects of His plan for my life about which I am already perfectly clear. I KNOW already that God wants me to love Him, love my neighbor, love my family and love the poor with a sacrificial, all-encompassing, action-oriented love that is different than the way that the world teaches love. Even if I never understand another thing about His will for my life, then pursuing this one thing...understanding this one pursuit...growing in this one area could potentially define my life and keep me plenty busy until He calls me Home. Any other details that He might decide to let me in on would just be a bonus!
In Luke 6, Jesus asks the question "Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I say?" He goes on to say that it is only when we hear the Word AND do what it says that we build a foundation that will withstand any storm. I know what my life looks like when I am attempting to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength...I also know what it looks like when I am only giving that my half-hearted attention. For me, peace only comes when I am in surrender mode because that's how God wired me. I know I need that reminder every once in a while.