Study 6 LORD, WHAT WILT THOU HAVE ME TO DO?
GREAT QUESTIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
by Francis W. Dixon
(Scripture Reference: Acts 9:6 KJV)
One of the most amazing truths in the Bible is that God has a perfect plan for the life of all His children. An architect will prepare an accurate and detailed drawing for each new building that is to be erected under his instruction; and God, our gracious heavenly Father, has a perfect, accurate and detailed plan for each Christian. Nowhere in God’s Word is it more clearly brought before us than in the brief conversation which took place on the Damascus road when Jesus apprehended Saul of Tarsus. At that very moment of his meeting with Jesus, Saul asked, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Did his conversion happen by chance, or was there a divine plan and purpose? Acts 9:15 tells us for it all took place according to God’s plan. How may we know that plan?
1. God has a plan for the life of every one of His children.
How can this be true?
(1) It is reasonable to expect it. God is a God of order and of method. If we are building a house or making a garment we work according to a design. Is it unreasonable to think that God, our Father, our guide, our Lord, has a design for the pathway of those of us who are His children?
(2) It is according to experience. Read about Abraham (Hebrews 11:8-10); Moses (Hebrews 11:24-27); David (1 Chronicles 17:7); Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8); Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5-8); Paul (Acts 9:15). These are just a few examples.
(3) God’s Word teaches it. One of the most wonderful statements in the New Testament is found in Ephesians 2:10. After reading this verse look up Psalms 27:11; 37:23; 73:24; 143:8; and then compare Proverbs 3:6; 15:9; 16:3; Isaiah 30:21; James 1:5. Could there be any doubt that the Lord has a plan and a purpose for the life of each of His children?
2. God’s plan has three very important characteristics.
(1) It is a personal plan. Notice the personal pronouns in Acts 9:4 and Acts 9:6. There is no-one else in the world like you – God’s plan for you is unique. He has a purpose to fulfil in and with your life that cannot be fulfilled in the life of any other person.
(2) It is a perfect plan. In Romans 12:2 (which should only be read in conjunction with Romans 12:1) we are told that the will of God, or God’s plan and purpose in the lives of His children, is good and acceptable and perfect. Think about these three words because they are full of significance.
(3) It is a practicable plan. In other words, it is workable and thoroughly related to everyday living and service. It is not a plan that only sounds good and acceptable and perfect theoretically; it proves to be so in actual, down-to-earth, day by day experience!
3. Our first concern should be to discover God’s plan for our life.
It is sadly true that some Christians fail to discover God’s plan and find their days, weeks, months and years are filled with disappointment, defeat, frustration and failure. How wonderful it is to feel that we are achieving something worthwhile, not for ourselves, but for and in accordance with the will of our heavenly Father! Every unbeliever is living a self-planned life, as Saul was until the time of his conversion (Acts 9:5); but it is also sadly true that many Christians plan their own lives. We make decisions and choices which afterwards prove to be wrong – compare John 21:3. There is nothing greater or more comforting than to know that we are in the centre of God’s will.
4. We enter God’s plan when we accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
Saul entered the plan of God when he said – Acts 9:6. The Lord revealed Himself to Saul in verse 5, “I am Jesus…”, i.e. Saviour. It does not mean He was not interested in Saul or not watching over him prior to his conversion, but He had an eternal purpose for him. Saul entered into God’s plan when he bowed at the feet of the Risen Lord, accepted Him as Saviour and acknowledged Him as Lord.
5. We continue in God’s plan by daily obedience to His revealed will.
God reveals His plan to us step by step (Psalm 37:23). The human condition that has to be met if we are to know His will increasingly is total submission and a strong desire to obey Him. This is indicated in Saul’s question (Acts 9:6), and this enquiry as to what God’s will is involves four things:-
(1) Communion with Him in prayer. A suitable prayer is recorded in Psalm 27:11. It is when we know what it is to go regularly into that place alone with the Lord that He graciously reveals His plan to us step by step.
(2) Studying and searching His Word. How wonderfully all God’s saints have been led as they have read and submitted their lives to the commands and guidance of the Word of God – look up Psalm 119:105.
(3) Prompt and unquestioning obedience. God reveals His will to us when we obey Him – look up 1 Samuel 15:22. A good key-verse to underline is John 2:5.
(4) Complete and implicit trust. Rarely can we trace God’s working in our lives because we are living by faith, not by sight. The Lord spoke of Saul as a “chosen instrument”, and Saul had to trust Him in all that He permitted in his life in the way of suffering, stoning, imprisonment etc. Look up 2 Corinthians 11:24-28, also 1 Peter 4:12-13 and 19.
6. God’s plan for our life is an eternal one.
All who belong to the Lord, of any age, have a glorious eternity before them, and God’s plan has an earthly part which is like the foundation of a building, and a heavenly part which can be likened to the structure of the building. We are apt to have a very limited conception of God’s plan. A Christian dies at the age of 30 or 40 and we say, ‘What a tragedy!” – and so it is from earth’s limited viewpoint. But God’s loving plan for His children is eternal. As you conclude this study look up 1 John 2:17, and compare 2 Timothy 4:7-8.