Teaching of Virtue
One who follows their own will independent of God’s will is guilty of the vice of pride. Instead of cherishing the will of God, they cherish the will of self. This must be steadfastly resisted.
Saint Thomas Aquinas said, “The one thing God wants of all intellectual beings is to sacrifice their will to God’s will.”
Saint Therese of Lisieux put it this way, “Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will.”
Even Jesus Himself said, “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38).
Should you choose to fulfill the calling of becoming the character God wills, you must first understand the characteristics God wills; and to understand the characteristics God wills, you must understand the characteristics of Christ. The Scriptures, saints, and ancient philosophers refer to these characteristics as virtues.
Between the wide extremes of vice (sinfulness) and the narrow ways of virtue (holiness), are all the degrees of character. But many people are so fixated on where they make the wrong turns, they never get on with making the right turns. Virtue gives you the tools to gain victory over your vices and rightfully align the character-qualities of your soul with the will of God.
Scroll down for the related scriptures, quotes, and lesson plan associated with this teaching.
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“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” — John 6:38 (NRSV)
“Then he said to them all, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’” — Luke 9:23 (NRSV)
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” — Matthew 6:10 (NRSV)
“If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.” — John 7:17 (ESV)
“And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.” — 1 John 2:17 (NRSV)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” — Matthew 7:21 (NRSV)
“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl." — Deuteronomy 28:1-5 (ESV)
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)
“For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” — Mark 3:35 (ESV)
“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” — Ephesians 5:17 (ESV)
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” — James 1:22 (ESV)
“The one thing God wants of all intellectual beings is to sacrifice their will to God’s will.” — St. Thomas Aquinas
“Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.” — St. Therese of Lisieux
“The safest place to be is in the center of God's will.” — Corrie ten Boom
“The whole duty of man is summed up in obedience to God's will.” — George Washington
“We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can — namely, surrender our will and fulfill God's will in us.” — St. Teresa of Avila
“If we are truly devoted to doing God's will, pain and pleasure won't make any difference to us.” — Brother Lawrence
“Much of God's will for your life is already found in the Bible.” — Adrian Rogers
“A soul who is really resigned to God's will does not become attached to any created thing because he sees clearly that all things are nothing except God.” — St. Henry Suso
“There are times when He Himself allows terrible sufferings, and then again there are times when He does not let me suffer and removes everything that might afflict my soul. These are His ways, unfathomable and incomprehensible to us. It is for us to submit ourselves completely to His holy will. These are mysteries that the human mind will never fathom here on earth; eternity will reveal them.” — St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
“To choose suffering makes no sense at all; to choose God's will in the midst of our suffering makes all the sense in the world.” — Oswald Chambers
“Holiness is doing God's will with a smile.” — St. Mother Teresa
“I just want to do God’s will.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
“God's plans for you are better than any plans you have for yourself. So don't be afraid of God's will, even if it's different from yours.” — Greg Laurie
“If, devout soul, it is your will to please God and live a life of serenity in this world, unite yourself always and in all things to the divine will. Reflect that all the sins of your past wicked life happened because you wandered from the path of God’s will.” — St. Alphonsus Liguori
“Do you know who the upright of heart are? They are those who wish what God wishes. Therefore, do not try to twist God's will to your own but correct your will to that of God. The will of God is a rule of conduct. By it you have the means of being converted and of correcting your evil ways.” — St. Augustine
“God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply.” — Hudson Taylor
For your family, small group, or personal reflection.
STEP 1: Introduction
Example: "I'm going to play a short video on the topic of following God’s will. After the video, I have some questions to gather your thoughts and get the discussion started. We’ll then wrap up with a closing prayer."
STEP 2: Watch Video (or listen)
Watch (or listen to) the video of the teaching (cast to your TV via YouTube). If time allows, also read the teaching, related Scriptures, and related quotes.
STEP 3: Discussion / Reflection
What does it mean to you to “sacrifice your will to God’s will”?
How does pursuing a virtuous life and strong character help us follow God’s will?
What areas of your life do you think you can do better to follow God’s will?
What is one small thing you can stop doing, or start doing, to better follow God’s will?
Did any of the related Scriptures or quotes stand out to you (please elaborate)?
Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
STEP 4: Wrap Up & Closing Prayer
Summarize and wrap up the discussion. Then, conclude with a sincere and humble prayer from the heart.