3. What Scriptural support is there for the idea that “His Will” is synonymous with what He desires from us and for us, and is not the same thing as His plans for us?
First of all, I do think that “His Will” also relates to His plans for us, in addition to what He desires from us and for us. But it does not refer to some pre-set, fixed plan that we have to find or one that will happen no matter what. “His Will” has more to do with the plans that He desires for us, plans that happen if we walk in obedience.
Now, when I look up verses that relate to us concerning God’s Will, I mostly see that His Will is a more like a verb, not a noun. The Bible talks about doing the things that God wills, things that He desires us to do. It does not as often talk about waiting for His Will or trying to find it as though it is a pre-set path or plan.
Matthew 7: 21: “‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. . . .’“
John 7:17: “If anyone chooses to do God’s will . . .”
Psalm 143:10: “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
Ephesians 5:17, 18: “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. . . . be filled with the Spirit.”
1 Thessalonians 4:3: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified . . .”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
And a line in the Lord’s Prayer says, “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) I used to read this as “May Your plans come to pass,” as though we had no real responsibility for that happening and that it would happen no matter what. We were simply acknowledging that we wanted His plans to happen. But I’m beginning to wonder if it really means, “May Your Will be obediently done by us on earth, as it is done up in Heaven by your angels. May we do what You want us to do, and may what You want to have happen, happen; by our obedience and prayer.”
It seems that, in general, His Will for us is how He desires us to live, in obedience to His Word. And doing this will lead us in the paths He wants us to take. Therefore, it’s up to us whether His Will gets done or not. He doesn’t force His Will or have some pre-made plan that we have to find. (Yes, He has a best plan for us, but we don’t have to follow Him in it, if we’d rather rebel.)
Posts in this "Understanding God's Will" series:
9c: Verses 9d: Idolatry 9e: Unanswered 9f: Not Listening 9g: More Verses 9h: Effective Prayer 9i: Still Waiting 10: Bad Things Happen 11a: Happens For A Reason? 11b: Marriage Trouble 11c: Deliberate Ignorance 11d: Bad Things Beyond Us 12: God Works Good 13: Limiting God? 14/15: God Forcing Things? 16: Change God's Mind? 17: But God Can't Change? 18: Our Responsibilities