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The Unreasonable Will of God

Dr. Charles Stanley

 

Unreasonable will of God

 

The Lord’s guidance doesn’t always make sense from a human point of view. He required Gideon to fight the Mideanites with only 300 men. David was anointed as the future leader of Israel, but refused to lay a hand on King Saul who tried many times to kill him. Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross instead of pursuing political or military leadership.

People in the world—and even other believers—won’t always understand the choices God leads you to make. In fact, it may feel as if you’re making a foolish decision. But God does not require us to understand His will, just obey it, even if it seems unreasonable (Life Principle #5). And although we may never fully realize His purposes, we will enjoy the peace and assurance found only in complete obedience.

Ananias’s Submission to the Father’s Will

Before the apostle Paul became a believer in Jesus, he was known as “Saul.” As a Pharisee, part of the leading sect of Judaism, he began “ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in jail” (Acts 8:3).

Read the story of Saul’s conversion in Acts 9:1-22.

  • Why was he traveling to Damascus (vv.1-2)?
  • What did he experience on the road (v.17)?
  • Why is this significant (1 Cor. 9:1)?

In Acts 9:5, Saul asks “Who are you, Lord?” He doesn’t yet realize he is addressing God, but uses “Lord” as a title of honor, similar to our use of “sir.”

  • Why did Jesus rebuke Saul (vv. 4-5)?
  • What does verse 5 reveal about how Jesus feels when we are mistreated?
  • What happens to Saul as a result of his encounter with the Son of God (v. 8-9)?
  • What did the Lord tell Ananias to do (v. 10-12)?

Saul had been given authority from the chief priests to persecute the church (“Your saints” v.13) and imprison them. So it’s no surprise that Ananias had some concerns about visiting him (v. 13-14).

  • Describe the calling on Saul’s life (v. 15-16).
  • As a consequence of following God’s will, we often expect to prosper spiritually and in practical and material ways as well. Why is this expectation not necessarily biblical (v. 16)?
  • What happened when Ananias laid hands on Saul (vv. 17-19)?
  • Describe the fruit of Ananias’s obedience (vv. 20, 22).

Application

This story is one of many in the Bible that demonstrates the importance of obeying God, even when his commands don’t seem logical. Ananias quickly learned why he had to visit Saul. Of course, we have no guarantee that we will fully understand the Father’s guidance. But our responsibility is to obey Him anyway.

Here are some examples of what the Lord may ask you to do:

  • Help a stranger
  • Share your faith with someone who seems resistant to the gospel
  • Speak up for the truth even when it may cost you
  • Take a leadership position although you feel unqualified
  • Quit a well-paying job to pursue God’s purpose for your life
  • Give up something “innocent” simply because He asks

Also, the will of God should never violate the clear teaching of Scripture. For instance, He will not lead you to:

  • Abuse yourself or someone else
  • Embezzle money from your employer
  • Misuse drugs or alcohol
  • Be sexually intimate with someone who is not your spouse
  • Engage in any other type of sinful behavior

Think of a time in your life when God lead you to do something that didn’t make a lot of sense at the time.

  • How does that experience encourage you to obey the Father even when His guidance seems foolish?
  • Did you eventually realize what His purpose was? Explain.

Saul’s companions were right beside him and yet didn’t hear the specific words of Christ (Acts 22:9). You are responsible for what you receive from God—other people won’t necessarily affirm what you hear. Sometimes even devout Christians will wrongly discourage you from obeying the Lord.

  • What steps could you take to guard against being disheartened by well-meaning but ungodly advice?
  • The Lord didn’t rebuke Ananias for second-guessing His command. Instead, He explained His purpose for Saul (vv. 13-16).
  • What does this reveal about the Father’s perspective on our questions and misgivings?
  • Is the Lord asking you to do something that doesn’t make sense to the world? If so, what is it?

Ask God to remove anything in your life that hinders you from obeying Him completely.

Conclusion: Nothing can compare to discovering and following the Father’s plan for your life. Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him—even when His plans seem a little foolish in human terms.

Prayer: In your time of prayer, spend a few minutes waiting on God. Ask Him if there is anything He wants you to do that you have not yet obeyed. Even if His command is unusual, pray for the grace to fulfill it. No matter what happens, you will have peace and assurance in knowing you followed God’s will.

Taken from InTouch.org