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A meditation on Ephesians 1:9


Are you one of the many Christians who suffer immeasurable anxiety trying to discover 'the will of God'?

The quest to 'find God's will for my life' has been laid heavily upon evangelical believers and is commonly viewed as an almost mandatory biblical quest. To find 'the will of God' becomes all absorbing, and the failure to find it or to actually miss out on this 'plan for my life' is perceived to be quite disastrous. Fear of missing out on 'God's best', and guilt either for inability to find or for misreading God's will are common companions of this search.

True believers, for whom Christ gained present peace and joy and every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer, live as though this complete blessedness could be snatched away from them if they make a decision 'out of the will of God'.

Yet in Ephesians 1:9 Paul teaches us that God has 'made known to us the mystery of his will.' God's will is not something we have to find; it is not something personal and particular. It is immense. It is eternal. And it is all about Jesus Christ – that through him I, the believer, whether I am a Jew or a Gentile, am incorporated into the grand and glorious purpose of God to create from all the diverse peoples of the universe one new people of God. Paul explains this at length in Ephesians 2:11- 3:21.

This mysterious will of God, which had been hidden in prophetic and symbolic form for centuries, is a mystery no more [Colossians 1:24-2:3; 2:16-17]. The secret is out. The mystery unveiled [1 Corinthians 2:6-16]. The impossible is now possible. The unthought of now a matter of fact. God has placarded his eternal purpose before us in human space and human time in the person of Jesus Christ.

Let us not stress ourselves trying to personalize and particularize the will of God, but rather listen to what the scripture says about it: that it has already been made known in the gospel of Jesus Christ [above references], that it concerns our salvation [2 Peter 3:9], and that it concerns our living out our new identity as the holy people of God [1 Thessalonians 4:3; Romans 12:1-2]. It is not about our time/space non-moral decisions but about God's eternal decision.

Our supremely gracious God, who in Christ has revealed and implemented his eternal will and purpose to make us his beloved and blessed people, is not so miserly and ungracious as to rip it all away from us merely because we fail to discover something that he has never told us to look for.

Let us make our non-moral decisions with joy and peace within the boundaries of his revealed moral laws, knowing that in Christ we have been incorporated forever into the eternal will of God, and trusting him, our loving Father, to work each day in our lives as he wills.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2010.