As Paul continued his work in the first century, it happened that he made a stop in Caesarea. While there, a man named Agabus came from Judaea with a sobering prophecy. It is recorded, “And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles” (Acts 21:11). Seeing as how Paul had become beloved by the brethren, there was an attempt to dissuade him from going to Jerusalem. “And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem” (Acts 21:12). No doubt, they thought that they were doing the right thing by encouraging Paul not to go, but Paul’s reaction demonstrated an amazing loyalty and bravery. “Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). That is commitment! Christians today should learn to be just as faithful (1 Cor. 11:1; Rev. 2:10). After hearing such, the others realized that arguing with Paul was fruitless. Their response is one that all should be willing to echo. “And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done” (Acts 21:14).
Each child of God should live his life in accordance to the will of God. In order to do such, he must diligently study the Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15; John 12:48). There is no other way for him to ascertain the will of God. When he finds his life out of step with the Lord, he should repent and correct whatever is keeping him from being in harmony with God. Sadly, too many people are unwilling to live their lives with such earnestness. Many put their wills before the will of the Lord. James explained such when he wrote, “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know no what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:13-17). It is not wrong to make adequate preparations, but one must not forget that the Lord’s will is superior to my will. Sometimes that will involve me being put into similar situations as Paul. While we might not currently have the threat of being bound and arrested, there is no doubt that there are enemies of the cross. Jesus taught, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matt. 5:10-12). Paul was willing to endure persecution, and even death, for the will of the Lord. Can we firmly say that we would do the same?
When writing to the church at Rome, Paul mentioned to them, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2). By turning our lives over to the Lord, we are able to “prove” the will of God. It is no longer “what I want” or “what I think”. Instead, it is a life of submission and service to our Lord. We must never forget what Isaiah wrote long ago. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9).
So, are you living your life in such a way that you can truly state, “The will of the Lord be done?” If not, then I encourage you to examine yourself, and then make the proper changes (2 Cor. 13:5). Hopefully we will mature spiritually to the point that we, like Jesus, can say “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).