You will not be surprised to learn that everyone asks the same question when I share that God has four wills.
“What are these four wills?”
Believe in Jesus Christ (John 6:40)
Abstain from Sexual Sin (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
Give Thanks in Everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Submit in Doing Right (1 Peter 2:13–15)
Each of these is declared to be the will of God.
In John 6:40 Jesus said, “This is the will of My Father.”
In 1 Thessalonians 4:3 Paul states, “For this is the will of God.”
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 the apostle pens, “this is God’s will for you.”
In 1 Peter 2:15 Peter writes, “For such is the will of God.”
These four stand out from all other Bible verses because each distinctly identifies God’s will.
Though there is more to God’s will than these four, if we ignore these four wills—unmistakably highlighted—it is questionable that we will follow the other commands of God.
For this reason, I urge every believer, young or old, to “Start Here!”
I do. Again and again.
I first learned of these four wills in my twenties. Pastor John MacArthur published a book on the will of God. He shared that he found these in a book called the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge. From there, I tracked down these same findings. Now, after decades of studying the Bible and counseling others, I can say firmly that these foundational commands of Christ and the apostles serve as a life compass.
As I look back over my life, decisions made at the major crossroads of my life were made in response to the principles of the four wills. Though I was not aware of what I refer to now as the B.A.G.S. acronym (Believe, Abstain, Give Thanks, Submit), in hindsight, I can see that these four commands served as pivotal markers. When I carried this godly “baggage,” noteworthy events ensued! Following them led me forward through confusing, trying, and rewarding moments. Sometimes the four wills positioned me to experience God’s favor. At other times, they revealed shortcomings before I got derailed and lost communion with God. But, they always mattered. Like the four points on a compass, they helped me chart my life course. As a checklist, they served me well in doing and determining God’s will.
Actually, there are two profound ways these four wills have served as a map. The subtitle to this book is “The Way God Directs Our Steps and Frees Us to Direct Our Own.” This book is about the two wonderful experiences that can result when each of us follow these four wills.
God uniquely leads us when we follow these four wills. He directs our individual steps. He guides us as we trust and obey Him. He opens doors that are distinct to us. There is a triggering effect. As I say, “Follow His four universal wills and experience His unique will for your life.”
When we follow these four wills, yet God does not seem to uniquely direct our steps, we are free to direct our own steps. We can decide for ourselves. We can do what we wish based on what seems good and best. We are permitted to do this because in following the four wills, we are near the center of God’s will, and these serve as guardrails against sinful choices.
Eggerichs, Emerson. 2018. The 4 Wills of God: The Way He Directs Our Steps and Frees Us to Direct Our Own. Nashville, TN: B&H Books.