I was talking with a friend recently about the will of God.
It is a fascinating subject and there are varying opinions on what the will of God is.
And as we talked we both felt that many Christians have been given a confusing message on the will of God because of the infiltration of the prosperity Gospel into mainline Evangelical Christianity.
Proponents of the prosperity Gospel teach that God's will is that believers are healthy, happy, and financially prosperous. These things are sought with great intensity by some who believe that these are the marks of God's true blessing in one's life.
Is this the will of God?
If proponents of this teaching could identify where this is indicated in Scripture I would be all ears. But the reality is, it is not found in the pages of Scriptures.
In fact, in many cases it is the opposite. I look at the life of the Apostle Paul. His life was not marked by complete health (he had a thorn that would not leave him), financial prosperity (he knew what it meant to be in want), nor was every aspect of his life filled with happiness (I'm sure he was not happy when shipwrecked - although joyful in all circumstances - yes!).
Did Paul simply miss out on what God's will for his life was because health, wealth, and complete happiness were illusive for him? Absolutely not!
Those who claim that these are God's will for the life of a believer mislead and create disillusion in the minds of people.
The good news is that Scripture is very clear on what God's will is. In fact, Jesus clearly explained what God's will is to the crowd of people who had experienced the feeding of the 5,000. In John 6:40, Jesus is speaking to the crowd and he says, "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
What did Jesus say God's will is? That everyone who looks to Jesus would believe in Him and receive eternal life.
It is simple and yet it is profound.
You see, God is far more concerned with the eternal state of a person's life than He is with temporary pleasures in this one. The Apostle Peter emphasizes this when he writes in 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
Repentance and salvation are the will of God.
Does this mean that the blessings of health, financial prosperity, and happiness are opposite of the Christian life? Certainly not. But these are not the marks of the Christian life, nor are these God's will.
What is the mark of the Christian life? Jesus gives a startling answer in Luke 9:23, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
Unlike the false prosperity teaching, the Christian life is often marked by sacrifice and the forsaking of worldly pleasures for the greater value of Christ. If health, wealth, or happiness equate in any way to Christ they become idols that must be removed and torn down.
Praise God that His will for you is not the temporary pleasures in this life. Praise God that His will for you is a far greater treasure that is not temporary and lasts forever!