We don’t have all the time in the world, only God does. He does because He created time, and He also exists outside time [Genesis 1:1-5, Psalm 74:16]. We exist within time, and our time on this earth is finite. Therefore, what we achieve, and what we make of our lives is dependent on what we do with the time we’re given. Furthermore, God created us for His glory [Isaiah 43:7]. This is our ultimate purpose. He calls each of us to express that purpose in unique ways. But, to do so, we need to understand His will for us individually because we cannot glorify God outside His will. As such, God wants us to be filled with the knowledge of His will and to operate in His wisdom and understanding. This is how we please Him [Colossians 1:9-10]
If you believe you can successfully do life outside God’s will for you, then no need to read any further. But if like me, you’ve realised that God’s will is the best possible outcome for your life, then surely, nothing could be more important than finding out God’s will for your life, right? Many people would agree with me, but very few of us are willing to do what it takes to discern God’s will. Many of us are unwilling to make the sacrifices required to develop an intimate relationship with God. Paul once compared the Christian life to an athlete training for a competition [1 Corinthians 9:24-27]. Think of the sacrifices made by Olympic athletes. They train daily for years just for the chance to win a perishable medal. Are you as devoted to your Christian walk as an Olympian is committed to his craft?
Paul’s comparison is apt because even if you aren’t an athlete, you know about setting yourself personal development goals. We set ourselves weight loss goals, fitness goals, etc. A cursory observation will reveal that a majority of those who set themselves goals, where an external agency isn’t compelling them to achieve those goals, fail to achieve their goals. One of the main reasons for this is the price we must pay to achieve our goals. Unlike an Olympian, many of us are unwilling to make the sacrifices our goals require. The diligence to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve our goals is what distinguishes those who talk the talk, from those who walk the walk.
God designed this world to operate on principles. One of those principles is that you reap what you sow. This means that your sacrifice has value, it determines your harvest. It’s false theology to wait on God to do everything for us because there are things, He has empowered us to do for ourselves. God has done His part. He has given us the seeds and the instructions to secure a bountiful harvest [2 Peter 1:3]. Like Jesus, we must focus on the prize set before us and courageously endure the cross [Hebrews 12:2]. Although Jesus gave us an example, He’ll never compel us to follow it. Nevertheless, there are consequences to the choices we make.
The psalmist tells us that those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. Many of us tend to envy those who are reaping. we call them lucky, and so on, without knowing the sacrifices they made. This is unfortunate because it often gives us an excuse for the situations we find ourselves in. Because if it’s luck that determines the outcome of anything; be it the quality of your relationship with God, your spouse, parents, children, siblings or friends, or your finances, academic or career success, etc., then those who are unlucky, could do nothing about their plight. Quite the opposite, God is no respecter of persons [Acts 10:34], His word is settled and He isn’t going to amend His principles for anyone [Psalm 119:89]. So, as far as sowing and reaping are concerned in any area of life, we are the product of our choices, i.e., what we sowed [Galatians 6:7]. If you sow sparingly, you reap sparingly. If you sow bountifully, you reap bountifully, your choice [2 Corinthians 9:6].
The key to a bountiful life is to live out God’s will for you. Yet, to know God’s will for you, you must get to know God first. However, it takes time to know God. While choosing to follow God is a momentary decision, discerning His will for you comes after you’ve made a sacrifice holy and acceptable to Him, as well as a conscious effort to allow your mind to be transformed by His word [Romans 12:1-2]. How long that takes is up to each of us. In essence, we’re the rate-limiting step in the process. Let’s imagine two friends, one wakes up early in the morning to spend time with God, praying and studying His word, while the other sleeps in and maybe mumbles a few words of prayer as he rushes out of the house. If they both maintain this routine for several years, would you expect them to have the same relationship with God or the same knowledge of His will?
It took a while for me to understand the solution to many of my troubles wasn’t just praying. Prayer is important, but when it comes to attaining results in life, it’s often down to the principles you apply. God’s principles will always produce the results He promised, but unsurprisingly, it takes time to learn and apply those principles with wisdom. Here again, we’re the rate-limiting step, because we ultimately decide how long it will take us to learn and apply God’s principles, if we learn them at all.
So, irrespective of where you find yourself today, make a decision not to limit what God desires to accomplish in your life. Resolve to make the sacrifices required to become all that God intends you to be for His glory.