It is more tragic when a person knows God's will but doesn't fulfill it than if they never knew His will to begin with (2 Pet. 2:21). I believe this happens more often than most people realize.
When we get to heaven and look back on our lives, I don't think many of us will say, "I trusted God too much." But many of us will say, "I played it too safe. I spent my time being occupied with too many things and not going for what God said."
So, I think how to fulfill God's will may be the most important part of this teaching, How to Find, Follow, and Fulfill God's Will. It is super important that you learn how to finish your race properly.
Let's turn over to Hebrews 12:1. It says,
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
It says you have to run with patience the race that is set before you, and the way you do that is by "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [your] faith"(Heb. 12:2a, brackets mine).
When I was a kid, I would mow our yard back and forth in long straight rows so you could see a pattern in the grass. I wanted it to look really sharp, and when I was finished, it was smooth and crisp. The way I did it was by picking an object in front of me and mowing straight for it. If I tried to do a straight row by looking down at the grass in front of the mower, it would be crooked every single time. This is the way you would run a race. You can't just look right in front of your feet, or you'll run all over the track. You'd wind up covering more distance than the other runners, and they would win because they ran straight. If you're going to win and fulfill God's will, you have to look unto Jesus and stay focused on Him.
It says in Hebrews 12:3 that you have to "consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." This is where the battle is: right between your ears! It's not what happens out there. Nothing external can defeat you. I know that's a statement many people wouldn't agree with. They think, You don't understand. I've got this financial problem. I've got this relational problem. I have to give up. I don't have any choice. But you always have a choice to believe God! Really, what defeats you is how you think about those things. You have to control your thinking! That's where it starts.
Everybody wants the testimony, but nobody wants the test! You can quit when things get hard and most people wouldn't disapprove. They'd only say something if you don't act that way. They'd get mad at you when you start saying you can overcome in every situation. They believe you should be preparing for the worst.
The reason you have to look unto Jesus is because it's in your mind that you faint. If you've started to follow God's will but now you've come up against something that looks impossible, it's all in the way you think that will determine whether you experience victory or whether you quit. Are you going to be overcome by these circumstances? Are you going to let them defeat and discourage you? None of these things can destroy you unless you get weary and faint in your mind.
If you're in a bad situation and it's beating you, make sure not to faint in your mind! It's the way you think that is causing you to be overcome by those situations. If you would think correctly, you would overcome!
You've got to get to where you look to Jesus and consider Him more than what you see in the mirror, what you feel in your body, more than what other people have to say to you - anything! You have to get to where God's Word impacts you more than anybody else's word!
Look at Joshua 1:8 -
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for thenâ€¦
Then when? When you have observed the Word of God, when you have kept it before your eyes, when you meditate in it day and nightâ€¦
â€¦then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Joshua 1:9 says,
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
You have to keep yourself encouraged because you will not fulfill God's will with a defeated attitude. You're going to have to resist discouragement. You have to overcome obstacles that have been put in your path. I'm telling you, it takes effort.
â€¦endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:3
If you're going to endure over the long haul, you're going to have to toughen up. Good soldiers don't indulge their feelings; they just do what they need to do. You're going to have to get to where you don't let things bother you. I know this flies in the face of how society thinks today: Well, you just aren't in touch with your feelings. You're in denial. I don't deny that problems exist, but I do deny that any of these things can conquer me. I am absolutely in denial that I'm going to fail! God has called me to win! God has called me to be an overcomer! I can guarantee I will overcome anything that the devil forms against me (Is. 54:17). I am not in denial that sometimes things bother me, but I am not going to let them control me.
I tell you, if you are going to fulfill God's will, you're going to have to adopt these attitudes I'm talking about. You need to realize that "better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof" (Eccl. 7:8). It's wonderful to find God's will and move in that direction, but really, it's only after you finish your course with joy that you realize all the benefits. This is what I'm trying to do - to share with you how you can fulfill God's will for your life.