This is a blog post about my personal search for the will of God that brought me to a divine revelation about divine Church Unity and what one can do to contribute to it.
Finding God’s Will in Life
What is the will of God? I am guessing that this is by far, one of the most frequently asked questions in a believer’s life. Even I have found myself asking this very question when I’m searching for life’s purpose. I mean, “if I do not know what is the will of God, how do I know what I’d do in life to fulfill that will?”
“If I do not know what is the will of God, how do I know what I’d do in life to fulfill that will?”
I have spent some time pondering the definition of the will of God and my reflection brought me to the Lord’s prayer. There is this line where Jesus taught His disciples to pray for the Father’s kingdom to come, and the Father’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10). Just what is Jesus praying for, exactly? How can whatever that is in heaven be on earth?
Many commentaries of the Bible commented that this ‘will’ refers to the very will of God, some even said it to be ‘secret’ (Gill, n.d.). Many theologians assume this ‘will’ to be the Will of the Messiah and of God. Some also noted that this ‘will’ to be people’s obedience to the law (you may refer to this page for other commentaries). However, for my argument, I will focus the ‘will’ to be the ‘order’ that is found in heaven since heaven is a subject of comparison in verse 10.
What is God’s Will in Heaven like?
My reflection of the concept of heaven brought me to Revelations 21 – the very imagery of heaven that John portrayed in the book of Revelations. In it, the new heaven is the bride of Christ, also known as the New Jerusalem. It is a measurable physical place where people of all nations can walk within. In it, people from all nations ‘walk’ in the light of God, living lives of eternal worship to the Creator.
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
(Revelations 21:24, NIV)
Notice the following keywords: “nations”, “walk”, “by its light”, “kings of the earth”, “bring their splendor into it”.
This verse indicates that there will still be nations (or rather, people of different nationalities) within the new kingdom (or in heaven). “Walk” is another term for the pursuit of a course of action or a way of life (Walk, n.d.). “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (Genesis 5:24, NIV). This walk of Enoch refers to the way he conducted his life; living in accordance to the way of life defined by God. It is this manner that the nations will walk by the light of God in the new kingdom.
Okay, so there will be nations in heaven. We can also live on earth the way God wants us to live in heaven. So how does this tell us about our way of life on earth? There are still basic needs to be met on earth; needs like food and shelter is required for living. Hence, people will be required to work to make a living. Now, this is the part of my argument that I will bring together a few verses and concepts in an attempt to piece the pieces of the puzzle together.
Making Sense of a Mystery
I will list them down below: 1) we will need to work (Genesis 3:17-19), 2) but Christ told us not to worry about our needs (Matthew 6:31-32), 3) Christ want believers to be in unity (John 17:20-21), 4) meeting the needs of the needy (James 1:27), 5) and that we are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
To the natural person, this task may appear to be too great for them to be met. I mean, by the logic of deduction, if we need to work, how can we have the time to meet the needs of others? And if the labour of my work is barely sufficient to meet my personal needs, how then can I be giving to the needy? And if work is so important, then it may appear that whatever work is in line with the will of God’s kingdom, right? And if everyone is stuck in one’s workplace, people become impersonal. How then can we be in complete unity?
To make sense of this, I attempt to line up work and giving to the needy on the same plane. If I choose a work of charity, and through my work, meet the needs of the needy, then I would fulfill God’s requirement and meet my own personal needs. On the surface, I will also appear to seek God’s kingdom, right? But there won’t be personal growth and career progression in this option. With a low salary, how do we meet our own needs?
Struggles of the ‘Natural Person’
The struggles of the ‘natural person’ would see that this ‘will of God’ is in itself a mystery; a thing that can’t be met in one’s earthly life. And I find myself in this very category. I often struggle in my career choices and in my education choices. Do I pick a career with good progression, but focus on growth and neglect the needy? Or do I pick a career of charity and forsake attaining “financial freedom” all-together? Do I pick a subject that I like, or do I pick a subject that I know will benefit most people? How do I make the connection?
“Do I pick a career with good progression, but focus on growth and neglect the needy? Or do I pick a career of charity and forsake attaining “financial freedom” all-together?”
I found myself so helpless with no one to help me. I consulted pastors who directed me to career counselors. Career counselors directed me to take personality tests to find a suitable career path I’d embark on. I found myself in jobs that I hated so much because my personal abilities are undermined. I have had limited impacts on the community, earning salaries that barely meet my monthly needs. I was so discouraged.
Group Dynamics on a Macro Level – Church Unity
So, I devoted time to the study of God’s words and spoke to pastors of other churches for help. One topic that was raised recently during GoForth 2018 caught my attention, a topic that I thought I knew but never put much thought into – Church Unity. One of the topics mentioned is how rich churches in developed countries should rise up to meet the needs poor churches in developing countries. I meditated on this for a period of time and was drawn to the study of group dynamics based on the following thought process: If the church is Christ’s body, and Christ is the head, then the body should be interconnected, sharing burdens, interacting, and communicating. The Body then is a group that needs to be cultivated. Group dynamics on a macro-level can be used to improve cross-cultural, cross-denominational dynamics of the churches.
The Body of Christ is a group that needs to be cultivated. Hence, the study of group dynamics on a macro-level can be used to improve cross-cultural, cross-denominational dynamics of Christ’s Church.
There are things that can affect group dynamics. Groupthink, free-riding, evaluation apprehension, and blocking all can affect group dynamics that will result in disunity. However, techniques to improve group dynamics can be used to improve church unity. They are: 1) knowing each other, 2) tackle problems quickly, 3) define roles and responsibilities, 4) break down any possible barriers, 5) focus on communication, and 6) pay attention to signs of poor dynamics (Improving Group Dynamics, n.d.).
Knowing each other is important. Knowing the needs of others is important. Knowing who can provide assistance is equally important. With these identified, each role and responsibilities should be equally defined based on the ability of each and every one. Communication is of utmost importance because clear communication will improve group dynamics. Needs and ability to provide assistance will be properly communicated and problems can likewise be acted on quickly.
That was my big ah-hah moment. This in itself will solve the mystery of God for nations to walk by the light of God, in complete unity! When the developed help the developing, nations will walk together in a way that is pleasing to God! For that, ‘Thy Will’ will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
“When the developed help the developing, nations will walk together in a way that is pleasing to God.”
Fulfilling God’s Will on the Individual Level
For the individual likewise, ‘Thy Will’ can be manifested in our individual decisions when we choose to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). What are the needs of others? What needs to be done? Is there a clear communication channel for others to articulate their needs and for people to articulate their ability to provide the necessary assistance? Can we build a communication platform to enhance unity? Can we build factories in developing worlds to create jobs? Can we open clinics in impoverished nations to provide healthcare? Can we join politics to improve administrative procedures so that people can provide assistance with less hassle? Can we build roads, infrastructures, industries to provide for people in impoverished states?
“When we strive for unity, helping the needy and building communities, we are building people as well.”
If we can, what are some of the things we must do in order to get there? Do we have the necessary education? Do we have the necessary skills? If not, how can we get them?
God “will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalms 37:4) if our mind and our hearts are aligned with His kingdom and His righteousness. He will also meet all our daily needs when we have our hearts and minds focused on His kingdom. When we strive for unity, helping the needy and building communities, we are building people as well.
Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
(Matthew 6:24, NIV)
“When we base our choices on money and individual progression, we will lose God and all the blessing that He has intended for us. But when we choose God, know for certain that He will give us the right amount that we need.”
Hence, when we are making important decisions like choosing a career, or a university major, or a spouse, we should choose God. Rather, in other words, we should have our focus on God rather than personal attainment. We should not choose a job simply because it pays well or has promotional prospects. Rather, we should choose a path that will benefit the most people and meet the needs of those who truly needed it. This calls for wisdom to discern what are the needs of people in different parts of the world and providing that need with the skills we have acquired. When we base our choices on money and individual progression, we will lose God and all the blessing that He has intended for us. But when we choose God, know for certain that He will give us the right amount that we need.
Do we seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness? Do we know what is in the heart of God?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (or ‘will direct your paths’).”
(Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).
Praise God for His divine guidance.
I have also written a guide to finding one’s life’s purpose. You can read about it here: “Finding Our Purpose in Life – A Four-Step Process“.
Gill, J. (n.d.). Matthew 6:10. Retrieved from https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/matthew-6-10.html
Improving Group Dynamics. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/improving-group-dynamics.htm
Walk. (n.d.). Retrieved July 9, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/walk