God’s Will Over Our Will

This year in our Sunday School lessons we are going through the books of James and Proverbs to look at the Practical Living from God’s Word.  What is located below are the high level points we discussed this week.  Please use this tool to follow up with your teens and see how they plan to apply this to their life.

James 4:13-17

Too often in life we get so wrapped in our will and getting what we want.  We start to demand things from God and we do it all by trying to make God realize that it is His will for us to do what is really our will.  We lose focus on the fact that we are not God and so the battle to be a god begins in our selfish display of what we believe should be God’s Will in our life.

Let me illustrate a bit.  My wife and I were about to get married and we were hunting for apartments to move into.  I really wanted to live in my favorite fishing town. Twin Lakes, WI and my wife was partial to Chocolate City USA, Burlington, WI.  We went to look at an apartment in Twin Lakes and it was very nice (I mean across the street from a great fishing lake).  At the end of the tour I shook the man’s hand and said I am pretty sure we will end up here but let me pray about it for a bit.  We later went to Burlington and found nicer apartments but they were in the part of town that always smelled like dog food mixed with Nestles Chocolate.  The ones in Burlington were like $50 cheaper a month and the drive from work was the same.  I was determined not to live there so I went out with my mind made up.  My trusting wife said let’s lay out all the pros and cons and whichever one you decide on we will go with.  So I prayed for God’s will, I mean my will, but that God’s will would become my will.  Dear Lord, you have called me to be a fisher of men, I think this means I should be a good fisher of fish as well, so I know how to catch the men (I mean why use an analogy you don’t expect me to understand).  I believe that my yes should be yes and my no should be no.  So when I shook that man’s hand at the other apartment it must have meant that this was your will for me.

Or how about this, I saw a beautiful girl at church today and I think that must be the girl you intended to be my wife.  Can you just make it really obvious that she is my wife?  Let her see that she should marry me.  Let me have a sign that this is the right girl for me.  Oh she just looked on the same side of the room as me, IT MUST BE LOVE.  She smiled at me or maybe what her friend was saying but I saw her teeth is this the sign?

Ok so those are a bit silly of an illustration but we tend to try to get our will to become God’s will.

So what is the will of God?

Is there a difference between the individual will of God and the universal will of God?  What do you think those terms mean?


The will of God is a scary thought and we need to first address our fears concerning it.  Is God evil or is He good?  Does God care for you or is he out to destroy you?

The will of God can be incredibly scary to submit to if you do not believe that God is going to care for you.  You might be afraid to submit to the will of God because then he might send you to the scariest part of the world to be a missionary to the scariest people in the world.  Reality is that God is going to send you to the place where you will be the safest you can be because God loves you.

Psalm 33:11 (NASB95)

11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,

The plans of His heart from generation to generation.

This verse tells us that his plans and counsel come from His heart.  Remember this is the same heart that sent a perfect sacrifice to pay the price for your sin that you deserved to suffer for.  This same heart has loved you and known you since before the foundations of the earth.  This same heart watches over you and knows the number of hairs on your head.  This same heart knows when even a sparrow falls to the ground and is capable of caring for you even more than that silly little bird.

God is good.  God’s will is good but sometimes it is hard to accept that.  I love this song because I need it to remind me all the time of this truth.



Give me Faith

I need You to soften my heart,
To break me apart.
I need You to open my eyes,
To see that You’re shaping my life.

All I am,
I surrender.

Give me faith to trust what You say
That You’re good, and Your love is great.
I’m broken inside, I give You my life.

Verse 2:
I need You to soften my heart,
To break me apart.
I need You to pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me.


I may be weak, but
Your Spirit’s strong in me.
My flesh may fail, but
My God You never will. (repeat)


Let’s look at three different responses to the will of God.

I.         Ignore God’s Will (13-14, 16)

In these verses it seems as though James is writing to some wealthy people who are planning their future without ever even thinking about what God’s will may be in their lives.  James addresses the silliness of trying to plan your future on your own with 4 simple arguments.

A.        Life becomes complex (13)

Really all of life is extremely complex.  You do not know what today or tomorrow will hold.

We cannot forget that within our life so many things are dependent on the decisions of others.  How will they affect you?  This can be in the catastrophic or even in the good.  Life has so many working parts that must work out right for your plans to carry out.

Don’t make the mistake of forgetting that life can become extremely complex and plan to depend on God’s love through all of that.

B.        Life is Uncertain (14)

Life is so uncertain.  We do not have a guarantee of anything going a certain way.

Every spring the farmer plants his seeds in the ground.  He has no idea what will happen when in October he harvests those plants.  Maybe a drought will come, maybe flooding, or maybe it will be perfect.

The high school senior makes plans to go to college and get a degree in their chosen field and then settle into the perfect life with the perfect job and the perfect family, but what they do not know is what might happen in between senior year and the end of their college experience.

What are some potentially life altering things that could happen in your life that you might not even have on the radar right now?

The only thing we know as a constant is that God is good, and His love is great.  Why wouldn’t we go forward thinking about the ways that we need to be seeking His will?

C.         Life is Short (14b)

Your life is compared to a vapor.  That means it is here right now and then just like that it is gone.

Job 14:1–2 (NASB95)

Job Speaks of the Finality of Death

1 “Man, who is born of woman,

Is short-lived and full of turmoil.

2 “Like a flower he comes forth and withers.

He also flees like a shadow and does not remain.


Every year I get older and older.  Next January I will be 34 years old, but I still remember like yesterday when I was 8 years old and life was so good.  I mean it was about doing some of the simplest homework ever and then it was play football in the yard, jump my bike off of some epically high 4 inch ramps, or harassing the neighbor dogs on their leashes.  Now life is much more complex and it seems like I went on a bike ride and came back to a life with a family, house, and real job.

Guys when you make your plans consider the fact that your life is so fleeting.  Here today and gone tomorrow.

Ps. In light of the fact that our life is a vapor why would we live for the shortest part of our life?  We are guaranteed either eternal life or eternal death.  In other words while we spend so much time living for what is so important now like trying to figure out what does the fox say, we are pursuing the least significant portion of our existence.  Live in light of the eternal.

“Never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.” – Bob Jones

D.        Your bragging is unfounded (16)

How silly it is to brag about something that you are not even sure is going to happen.  I mean that would be as silly as me bragging about the Cub’s World Series win next year.

Proverbs 16:33 (NASB95)

33 The lot is cast into the lap,

But its every decision is from the Lord.

Every part of your life is overseen by God.  You do not have the ability to look ahead and know exactly how things will go.  You do not have the resources to be able to change what is going to happen.  So you really are bragging out of ignorance.

II.        Disobey God’s Will (17)

Okay so this section gets a little bit serious.  Here is the person who knows the will of God and chooses to ignore it.  This is the person who says I know God does not want me to do that but I am going to do that anyway.

I want to talk specifically about the reasons why anyone would do this.

2 Peter 2:21 (NASB95)

21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.

Let that verse sink it for a little while.

A.        Pride

We like to boast that we are in control of our life.  We try to lift our status up to the status of God.

Remember Adam and Eve were tempted by the thought of becoming like gods.  In our pride we can fall into that same temptation.

B.        The wrong belief that you can choose to accept or reject God’s will.

In reality, the will of God is not an option; it is an obligation. We cannot “take it or leave it.” Because He is the Creator and we are the creatures, we must obey Him. Because He is the Saviour and Lord, and we are His children and servants, we must obey Him. To treat the will of God lightly is to invite the chastening of God in our lives.[1]

C.         The wrong belief that following God’s will is to be miserable.

The opposite is actually true.  We are promised that the one who chooses to disobey God will have a hard life.

What happens to Christians who deliberately disobey the known will of God? They are chastened by their loving Father until they submit (Heb. 12:5–11).   Hebrews 12:5–11 (NASB95)

5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,

Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;

6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,

And He scourges every son whom He receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

If a professed believer is not chastened, it is evidence that he has never truly been born again but is a counterfeit. God’s chastening is an evidence of His love, not His hatred. Just as we earthly fathers spank our children to help them respect our will and obey, so our Heavenly Father chastens His own. Though chastening is hard to take, it has a comforting truth of sonship with it.[2]

III.      Obeying the will of God (15)

The idea of obeying the will of God is not a one time thing but rather it is a way of life.  We are determined to make every decision be about what God wants in our life.

So how do we make sure we are following the will of God?  Here are some basics.

We are to yield our lives to God.  2 Corinthians 8:5 (NASB95)

5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.

We are to avoid sexual immorality. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 (NASB95)

3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;

We are to pray, give thanks, and rejoice.  1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NASB95)

16 Rejoice always;

17 pray without ceasing;

18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

The principle is that we must follow God’s Word in order to be sure that we are walking in the will of God.

No two lives will be used the same way, but all lives should have the basics the same.



I hope that you will commit to following the will of God in your life.  I hope that you will be able to say you are seeking out what God’s will is in your life and that you are going to pursue His will with faith.

Give me faith to trust what You say
That You’re good, and Your love is great.
I’m broken inside, I give You my life.

[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), Jas 4:17.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), Jas 4:17.

Johnny Kjaer
Johnny is married to Tori. They have 4 children Leif, Tryggve, Kjirsti and Hroarr. He has been a part of the youth ministry at Faith since his internship began in 2010. He served as the Pastor of Student Ministries from 2013-2023 and now serves as the Pastor of Faith East Community Ministries. Johnny is an ACBC certified counselor. He also serves the church by directing the Lafayette Living Nativity.