Philippians on Friday: If the Lord Wills…

Thanks for joining me for our Friday devotion!  Today we’re looking again at Philippians 2:19:

“But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you…”

The New Living Translations reads:

“ If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you….”

philippiansIt sure seems like a good idea. It makes total sense to send Timothy to the Philippians, doesn’t it? Timothy is my son in the faith. I trust Timothy. He is one of the few men in my life who is like-minded.  It seems logical for me to send Timothy as a messenger to Philippi.

But Paul prefaced his statement about sending Timothy to the Philippians with the words,

“If it’s the Lord’s will…”

Paul had lived for God long enough to know that just because something seems like the right thing to do, doesn’t necessarily mean it is the will of God.

Paul had come to learn that every decision should be made after seeking God’s guidance and direction. He had learned the wisdom in always asking, “Lord, is this Your will?” I’m certain Paul was well acquainted with Isaiah’s words:

Isaiah 55:9 – For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts.

Paul was wiser at this point of his ministry. When he was younger he assumed it a good thing to go preach in Asia and Bithynia, but the Spirit forbade him!

Acts 16:6-7: Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

Why did the Spirit forbid them? It wasn’t the will of God. God knows. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We would do well to never assume to know the answer or the course of action but to always seek after God’s will.

“If the Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise…”

Obviously, Paul did preach in Asia at some point because the scriptures tell us that all of Asia heard the Word of God. But in Acts 16, it wasn’t the right time. Some things may ultimately be God’s will but perhaps not God’s will right now. God’s timing is perfect, just like His ways are perfect.

I’ve heard the old-timers use the disclaimer, “If the Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise…” Their wisdom comes from the scripture:

James 4:15 – For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. KJV

Too many people are haphazard with the will of God. I’m afraid some go weeks or months or years without seeking the will of God. They don’t pause long enough to ask the question, “Is this the Lord’s will?” They make decisions without giving thought to God’s plan and purpose.

When we say, “Lord willing,” we are acknowledging that God’s plan is important to philippiansus and we are seeking to know for sure if the decision we’re contemplating is His will. By saying, “Lord willing,” we are demonstrating that He is in control of our lives and His will always trumps our own.  When we say, “Lord willing,” we are confessing that only God knows what tomorrow holds.

I think we’ve all experienced the trouble that follows making decisions without seeking God’s will. We’ve learned that hard way that God’s way is best.  Don’t assume anything. Our plans should always come with the footnote, “If it’s the Lord’s will.” Before every decision, every move, every step, seek God. Ask Him to reveal His will.  He will not hide it from you. He delights in revealing His plan to those who ask.

~Matthew Ball

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