How are you to know if you are living according to the will of God? He who lives according to God's will has no cares. The soul given over to the will of God fears nothing.
Saint Silouan the Athonite.
How do you know if you are living in God's will? 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 thing 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 is 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. The best thing of all is to surrender to God's will and bear affliction having confidence in God.
The Lord, seeing our affliction, will never give us too much to bear. If we seem to ourselves to be greatly afflicted, it means that we have not surrendered to the will of God.
The soul that is in all things devoted to the will of God rests quiet in Him, for she knows of experience and from the Holy Scriptures that the Lord loves us much and watches over our souls, quickening all things by His grace in peace and love. Nothing troubles the man who is given over to the will of God, be it illness, poverty or persecution. He knows that the Lord in His mercy is solicitous for us. The Holy Spirit, whom the soul knows, is witness therefore. But the proud and the self-willed do not want to surrender to God's will because they like their own way, and that is harmful for the soul. Abba Pimen said: 'Our own will is like a wall of brass between us and God, preventing us from coming near to Him or contemplating His mercy.'
Nothing troubles the man who is given over to the will of God.
We must always pray the Lord for peace of soul that we may the more easily fulfil the Lord's commandments; for the Lord loves those who strive to do His will, and thus they attain profound peace in God. He who does the Lord's will is content with all things, though he be poor or sick and suffering, because the grace of God gladdens his heart. But the man who is discontent with his lot and murmurs against his fate, or against those who cause him offence, should realize that his spirit is in a state of pride, which has taken from him his sense of gratitude towards God.
He who does the Lord's will is content with all things, though he be poor or sick and suffering, because the grace of God gladdens his heart.
But if it be so with you, do not lose heart but try to trust firmly in the Lord and ask Him for a humble spirit; and, when the lowly spirit of God comes to you, you will then love Him and be at rest in spite of all tribulations. The soul that has acquired humility is always mindful of God, and thinks to herself: 'God has created me. He suffered for me. He forgives me my sins and comforts me. He feeds me and cares for me. Why then should I take thought for myself, and what is there to fear, even if death threaten me?'
The Lord enlightens every soul that has surrendered to the will of God, for He said:
Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
A soul that is troubled about anything should inquire of the Lord and the Lord will give understanding, but this primarily in times of calamity and bewilderment. As a general rule we should be advised by our spiritual father, for this is a humbler way.
+ Glory to God for All Things +
Saint Silouan the Athonite, was born in 1866, of devout parents who came from the village of Sovsk in the Tambov region. At the age of twenty-seven he received the prayers of St. John of Kronstadt and went to Mt. Athos where he became a monk at the Russian monastery St. Panteleimon. He received from the Holy Theotokos the gift of unceasing prayer, and was given the vision our Lord Jesus Christ in glory, in the church of the holy Prophet Elijah adjoining the mill of the monastery. After the withdrawal of that first grace, he was oppressed by profound grief and great temptations for fifteen years, after which he received from Christ the teaching, "Keep they mind in hell, and despair not." He reposed on September 24, 1938.