Living According to the Will of God 


Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15) 


We are taught by our Lord Jesus to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. As Christ’s disciples, we are supposed to discern God’s will and do it. However, in life we daily must make countless choices in seemingly mundane matters in which “God’s will” might not be clear or even meaningful to us. We make countless choices and plans every day and as St James notes above we should always have the mindset that we will do these mundane and social activities admitting that we rely on God’s will to accomplish any of them, and trust that God will allow the activity if it is His gracious will. Archimandrite Sophrony comments on our doing God’s will: 

How are you to know if you are living according to the will of God? 


Here is a sign: if you are distressed over anything it means that you have not fully surrendered to God’s will, although it may seem to you that you live according to His will. 

He who lives according to God’s will has no cares. If he has need of something he offers himself and the things he wants to God, and if he does not receive it he remains as tranquil as if he had got what he wanted.  

The soul that is given over to the will of God fears nothing: neither thunder nor thieves nor any other thing. Whatever may come, “Such as God’s pleasure,’ she says. If she falls sick she thinks, ‘This means that I need sickness, or God would not have sent it.’ 

And in this wise is peace preserved in soul and body. 


The man who takes thought for his own welfare is unable to give himself up to God’s will, that his soul may have peace in God. But the humble soul is devoted to God’s will, and lives before him in awe and love: in awe, lest she grieve God in any way; in love, because the soul has come to know how the Lord loves us.  (WISDOM FROM MOUNT ATHOS, p 70) 

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