In my recent article on healing I made the following statement: “When a person does not get healed we often assume that it must not have been God’s will to heal them. However, God’s will does not happen automatically on earth.” Many believers assume that since God is sovereign and all-powerful, His will automatically happens all the time. We often assume that whatever happens in our lives must be His will. But is this really what the Bible teaches?
When God created the earth, He gave authority over it to mankind (see Genesis 1:26-28). God has chosen to work on the earth through people, which creates the scenario for things to happen on the earth that are not His will. This does not negate the fact that God is sovereign or all-powerful; it is simply the way that He designed things to be.
Let’s look at two short Scriptures to illustrate this:
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you” (1 Corinthians 5:1).
It is absolutely clear that the will of God for Christians is to abstain from any type of sexual immorality, and yet the believers in Corinth had this type of sin among them. The same is true today; even though it is God’s will for us to live holy lives, many have fallen into sexual sin. So, the fact that it is God’s will for us to be sexually pure does not automatically mean that we will be sexually pure. In a broader sense, the fact that something is God’s will does not automatically mean that it will happen!
There are several other examples that I could use to illustrate this point, but I want to focus on one more. Jesus taught us to pray this way: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). If God’s will always happens on earth automatically, why would Jesus teach us to pray for His will to be done on earth? This is an important question, because too many Christians take a passive stand on things, thinking “if God wants it to happen it will.” This type of thinking removes our responsibility from the equation.
I am not advocating the other extreme, a man-centered mentality that “everything is up to us,” but instead a partnership between man and God. In this partnership, we take responsibility to establish God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven” while remaining completely dependant on Him. Think of it this way: We can’t do it without God, but God won’t do it without us! That is the way He created it to be.
I hope this article will cause you to rethink some common notions about the will of God. Let us submit to God’s sovereignty and take up our responsibility at the same time!