Is It Possible to Do God’s Will?
Many Christians are torn feeling a strong calling to fulfill a meaningful purpose in their life. ‘Doing God’s Will’ is often how it is described. Jesus said at the start of his Passion,”…not my will, but thine be done.” Yet how many can honestly say they are fulling this teaching in their own lives? And what is in the way?
We Want what We Want
There is intense difficulty that we all experience in wanting things to go our way. No question about it, people want things how and when we want them. When this doesn’t happen, all sorts of emotional and mental activity can be triggered, most of which leaves us feeling disappointed, irritated, anxious and unsettled.
I have made it a point to personally examine this very challenge and see what is revealed from within. I wanted to know what it looks and feels like to find and follow God’s Will.
I anticipated there would be times when my own desire would conflict with what I believed God’s Will was for me. How hard would that be? It would make sense that if God’s Will were perfectly aligned with the life I wanted, there would be no struggle.
In the scripture quoted above (Luke 22:42), we see that even Jesus found himself at odds with God’s Will. Perhaps the biggest difference was, despite expressing his own will, he was always clear that he would do what God wanted in the end.
It calls to question the popular spiritual claim that doing God’s Will is the Way, meaning the correct way to live . The premise of some religions is that ‘man is sinful’ and thus people must stop exercising their individual wills and seek to do God’s Will.
Even if this is true, the next question is… is this possible? I mean, I have heard many religious and spiritual teachers and leaders teach that doing God’s Will is the right path. They speak with tremendous conviction about the importance of such an approach. And those who sit listening to their sermons and talks feel a sense of inspiration. But who actually follows through? Do you know a single person whom you can say is doing God’s Will all the time?
Is Anyone Following God’s Will Consistently?
In my experience, I can say that very, very few do in fact follow through, at least to the extent that I would want to see. I personally rejected many aspects of religion for a long time because of a certain amount of hypocrisy that I sensed and experienced.
If a teacher told me to follow God’s Will, my first question was ‘Ok, let’s start with you. Are YOU following God’s Will all day everyday?’
I was angry and doubtful. I was angry because someone was instructing me to do something they weren’t doing and that might not have been possible. I was doubtful because I had no idea how to even know what God’s Will was.
In may ways, this is the first dilemma; how do you discover what God’s Will is for you personally? The traditional approach was to follow the Bible’s teachings to the letter and in so doing, you would be doing God’s Will. Many times I was told, ‘In Matthew such and such chapter, Jesus says, “We are to do this and that'”‘ Somehow the points people were trying to make often felt forced and unclear so I was more opt to ignore them.
When I found the mystical path, I was taught that everything was about experience. To believe in something was a decision I could make any time. What I believed could change any time as well.
In order to know something for sure, I had to experience it. If I believed, I might be inclined to do what was necessary to have an experience. It’s a huge difference to say I believe in God compared to I KNOW God.
It’s actually a big reason the religious leaders during Jesus’ time flew into a rage and had Him killed. He said that God and He were one. They yelled out ‘blasphemy!’ and had him executed. They hated the idea that someone might actually know something by their own experience.
Directly Experiencing God’s Will for You
Now 15 years later, I can speak about the direct experience of discovering what God’s Will is and if it is possible to follow it.
First off, I want to discuss how significant of an issue this is for our society. The will of each individual exerts a movement towards the things that person wants. Before any state of enlightenment is reached or an understanding of Self Realization is known, a person’s will must be engaged to do the necessary work. This is not a bad thing.
In fact, God who created us clearly gave us faculties to make decisions and gave us will power so that we might decide to think, speak and act in ways that we want.
What happens when we face obstacles to getting what we want. To be fair, everyone has their own way of coping with the difficulties they face trying to orchestrate the life they want. We all have to learn some coping tools because no one gets their way all the time.
And yet there is a strong desire within many people to try and figure out how they can get their way as much as possible. The most obvious is through amassing huge amounts of money. People with huge fortunes can structure their lives in ways most of us can’t. They can pay people to essentially do the things they want done without any pushback.
They can build the houses they want to their precise specifications and all but eliminate the headaches that the rest of us face in having to accept compromises.
Another way people try and eliminate obstacles is by making themselves highly desirable and famous since it seems that would allow them to have more of what they want when they want it. For those of us who know we will never be famous, or super rich or the most stunning person on the planet, we have to find more reasonable ways to get the things we want when facing obstacles. This is the big dilemma when it comes to the will of the individual.
The world is essentially obsessed with getting its way. You could say that the seed of all human conflict is the discrepancy between the wills of individuals. One wants this and the other wants something else.
A Battle of Wills on our Planet
Now look around at the world and see what thousands of years of human beings trying to get their way has resulted in. It has created a global culture of violent conflict, non-stop war, and slavery. Yes, slavery is alive and thriving on the planet when it comes to labor and the sex trade. It is a direct reflection of people wanting what they want, when they want it and without facing any resistance.
As well, there are many positive aspects to exerting one’s will such as improving your health through exercise, learning another language so you can communicate with other cultures, developing spiritual maturity so you can help others and on and on. This gives rise to an important question;
Is the exertion of an individual’s will an indication humans are inherently flawed?
Religious leaders and teachers would never allow for the possibility that God made a mistake on humans but an intelligent person truly wanting to resolve this issue of ‘my will or Thy Will’ has to stop and ask the question. Anyone really wanting to know for themselves has to sit down at some point and recognize the intense drive within themselves to want the things they want and to want them their way. It’s undeniable!
What I have come to realize is that the degree to which one is attached to their individual will represents a phase of spiritual maturity. The bulk of the people on the Earth are all but consumed in exerting their individual will. This ‘what-about-me’ mindset is promoted and makes perfect sense when one is immersed in this consciousness.
Despite the incredible pain and anguish it causes all of us when we exert our will relentlessly over others, and despite all the complications it yields in the form of frustrating situations, we persist. We can’t seem to accept that there is a different way to live but strive even harder to figure out how to get our way.
A Spiritual Awakening can Change your Relationship to Will
A spiritual awakening may occur within a soul when they realize that the cause of much of their unhappiness is them trying to get what they want, when they want it and how they want it. The soul finally goes, ‘This isn’t working.’ Such a revelation can be the beginning of real transformation.
Those who reach this point begin to open to the possibility of seeking out God’s Will with some degree of fervor. I say some degree because it is a monumental shift to be ‘willing’ to surrender one’s own will and seek the will of something that seems outside of ourselves. I can offer the insights discovered from my own personal experience of making this transition.
One thing for sure is that God’s Will for me or you or anyone is NOT coming from an outside source. It is not that we are to be dictated to from the Almighty Creator as to our lot in life.
Some may proclaim that this is the Way but I disagree. It’s easy to say such a thing but as I wrote earlier, I have never met anyone who is actually following through with this idea for the simple reason that I don’t believe it works. The solution is not to divorce myself entirely from my personal will and only follow God’s Will. The first challenge is being able to know God’s Will for you in each moment.
The idea that God has a preordained plan for each person’s life (AKA God’s Will) makes no sense as it creates a relationship where we have no say in our own lives. Ask yourself if you want to be in relationship with an authority figure that tells you what to do each day. The only time I feel people would genuinely say yes to this is on those days when everything is going terribly wrong. Kind of like, “I’m failing badly here. Just tell me what to do!”
The real experience of doing God’s Will is to be discovered through each person’s individual efforts. This begins with a sincere desire to see what this is really all about. One first must be able to relate to God in a personal way. The mystical path teaches that this happens by following the Gospels. Jesus directs us within to the Kingdom of Heaven which is where the presence of the God Self is found.
If you were to believe in this teaching, and find a community where they have processes in place to find the God Self within, and you were to find a Teacher who can guide your progress, you have a good chance of having a real relationship with Christ. And here the Christ refers to the Divine Presence that is within your soul, not Jesus himself.
Committing to the inner work necessary to have a palpable and consistent relationship with the God Self turns out to be quite difficult, especially given the focus on the outer world that we are consumed by. However if you choose to devote your life to this purpose, no doubt, just as Jesus promised, you will eventually come into a state known as Self Realization. This is when you realize the Presence of the God Self and it is real, not just something you believe in.
I don’t want to diminish the work and effort that it takes to reach Realization. It is a lot and it has to be a top priority. Those who undertake the task may be surprised at how it can dominate your consciousness. This only works if your soul is ready. Many approach the gate but to be honest, most turn back before getting very far since the need to lose the old life is too scary for them.
For those who persist, you will begin to discover that the Christ within does not impose a strict Will upon your soul. Rather there is a gradual building of the relationship with the understanding that souls do not like to blindly follow the direction of any authority, at least not until they have developed some trust with that authority.
Trust is the Foundation
The building of that trust can only be experienced by each individual since we all come to trust at different paces and in different ways. And when there is solid trust between your soul and the God Self (Christ) within you, then you can begin to seek out the Will of the God Self.
I am confident in sharing that even when the trust is built up, you are likely to find yourself resistant to acting upon the Will of the Self when it creates pressure or discomfort in your life by what It is recommending you do.
The reality of doing God’s Will is not an overnight process. It takes years of internal development to have a solid relationship with the Self (the Christ) and then there is a phase of maturing into a readiness to incorporate the Will of God as told to you from within yourself. In other words, even being able to know God’s Will is no guarantee you will DO it.
If and when you get to this point for yourself, you will see first hand how difficult it can be to have faith in this higher approach known as following God’s Will. You are likely to feel tremendous compassion and understanding for others who are nowhere near ready to begin this process. It’s a major undertaking and few take it on.
Maturing spiritually to a place where you can incorporate the Will of the God Self takes experience in spiritual matters before it even becomes possible.
I no longer question if humans were created with inherent defects because of our attachment to our own will. It’s a phase of life that everyone goes through. Spiritual maturity is not a guarantee. Each person will need to decide if they want to explore the path to God and reach a point where they can know God’s Will.
God’s Will is the Will of Love and Truth
If you love truth and want to know what love is, this journey will appeal to you. It will be very difficult and take longer than you hoped but it will yield. Let’s not get too religious though. God’s Will is simply what aligns with love and truth. Be humble in acknowledging you may not know what love and truth look like.
Is it Worth the Effort?
Why decide to pursue such a difficult journey? Because the expanded consciousness and the incorporation of the Divine Will actually does resolve the dilemma of not getting your own way. You will discover a new consciousness that is liberating. What that is like is something you will have to decide to pursue.
The whole premise for the Christian faith is forgiving others and learning how to relate to God so you can be taught personally how to function at the highest level possible. The Bible provides guidance on how to live in accord with God and this is helpful to get us in the right mindset. But we still have to do the personal work to find the Christ within and open to letting this part of ourselves influence our will.
Everything changes (albeit gradually) and the struggles and frustrations of not getting your way diminish. The Way of Christ shows us how to proceed and maintain an inner peace when faced with obstacles and disappointments. This is important to remember; that following Christ means our attitude about our lives change and thus we change. But the outer world still has quite a way to go.