“When you were born, you were crying, and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you will be smiling, and everyone around you will be crying.” Anonymous
So how do we stay in the middle of God’s will? The world, our own flesh, and the devil are huge distractions to derail us from staying on track with God’s will for our lives. The Psalmist offers three effective and proven ways to remain in the will of God despite all that Satan may throw at us.
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this.” (Psalm 37:3-5).
If we break down this passage and dig deep, we’re going to find three principles for staying in God’s will. The first one is really an issue of trust: “Trust in the Lord and do good…” If we trust God, we’ll want to obey Him rather than follow our own desires. If we don’t trust Him, we’ll want to go our own way. We have to learn to trust Him enough to say, “I don’t know what to do here, but I want what You want more than anything else. I want Your will. Keep me from making a mistake.” When we get to this place, God directs our paths and aligns us with His purpose for our lives.
Another principle from Psalm 37 for staying in God’s will is to delight. The Psalmist says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (verse 4) This word “delight” in Hebrew means “to enjoy.” When you delight in someone, you enjoy their company, and you want to spend time with them. We all want to receive the fulfillment of our heart’s desires, and this scripture makes it clear that this is possible. But there’s a condition – it’s a promise with a premise. We must delight ourselves in the Lord more than we long for our heart’s desires. This is where many people seem to lose sight of what God’s will is all about. We think He should let us do as we please. But God longs for us to delight in Him more than we delight in our own freedom. In fact, when we delight in Him, our heart’s desires often change. They align with His desires. We no longer want our own way; we want His way.
Finally, if we’re going to remain in the center of God’s will, we must commit. “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this.” (verse 5) We have to come to the place where we commit to following God’s will. Often we say, “God, show me Your will, and I’ll consider it as an option in this decision I’m making.” God says, “No, you have to commit to following My will, and then I’ll show you what it is.”
Our destiny is determined by the decisions we make in the defining moments of our lives. We say we want to be close to our loved ones, but this can only be accomplished through frequent quality time, honest conversations, and shared sorrows and celebrations. We say we want to make a difference in this world, to leave it a better place than we found it. But we must take action, directed by our Father, to reach out to others by loving them, mentoring them, serving them.
If we truly want to ensure that we’ve fulfilled our purpose when it’s our time to go, we must stay squarely in God’s will. Trust, delight, and commit to His path. The call of Christ to His disciples is the same to us today, “Follow Me…”. We are not called to follow a plan – but to follow Him! As we follow Him day by day, the plan unfolds and we look behind us and see a path that we traveled together. That’s what makes the journey such an adventure! We leave a trail that others will follow.
- What’s the greatest barrier to trusting God in your life right now? What past experiences have left you doubtful, angry, hurt, or disappointed? Spend some time in prayer, either writing or talking to God about these experiences. It can be difficult to build trust with Him if you’re not communicating.
- Write down the desires of your heart. Be as honest with yourself as possible. Spend some time reflecting on each desire and why you long for it. Commit your list to God, asking for His perspective regarding each item.