In this message, Dr. Stanley conveys an essential challenge from Scripture—will we choose our way, or God’s? A closer look at the lives of Old and New Testament saints reveals the painful consequences of choosing less than His best. Disobedience carries a high price, but the blessings of obedience are without number. For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to

Dr. Charles Stanley: God has
made it very clear in His Word

that He has a purpose and a plan
and a will for our life.

Have you ever thought about that
in your life?

Think about this, He not only
has a plan and a purpose and

will for our life, but He sent
the Holy Spirit to live within

us in order to make that plan
crystal clear.

Not only to make the plan clear,
but also to enable us, whatever

we face in life, to live out
that plan.

You and I cannot look at someone
else and say, “This is God’s

plan for your life.”

God makes His plan known to us

Sometimes it’s clearer than at
other times.

And because He’s made a will and
a purpose and a plan for our

life, He has chosen the best for
your life.

Whoever you are, wherever you
are, God’s choice is the best.

Now, whether you choose to
follow that best or not is

another question.

But when I think about the
Scriptures, I think about it in

this light: life at its best is
a life lived in the will of God.

That’s the best life.

It isn’t the same for everybody.

We don’t understand why some
people go through certain things

in life and some people
seemingly escape them.

But the will of God, the plan of
God is not the same.

We don’t know what God had in
mind with His plan in some

other people’s life.

And sometimes, a person starts
out their life, they have a very

difficult time, a tough time,
but they follow Him, and God

does the most amazing things in
their life.

You can’t look at somebody else
and say, “Well, here’s God’s

plan for your life.”

Because God in His Word will
make that plan very, very clear.

Now, you have a choice.

You don’t have to walk in His

He has a plan, a purpose, a

You don’t have to walk in it.

You can choose to do whatever
you choose.

But I want to remind you of one
thing: when you choose to live

outside the will of God, you
choose to pay the price of

disobedience to God.

How foolish, when the all loving
God has chosen the best for you

and you choose what is not the
best, but what you think is the

best, that will bring you the
most enjoyment or the most


So, when I think about all that,
I think about oftentimes the

painful consequences that people
go through when they’re choices

they make, and then they wonder
why, “Why does God bless so and

so this way, and why does he
allow this to happen to my


Well, we can’t always explain

But one thing is for certain, if
you know that you’re living in

the will of God, He’s going to
turn it for your good.

When you know that you’re living
outside the will of God, you’re

going to suffer the

And I think about the title of
this message, and I had to think

about it a long time.

The title is this, “Before You
Step Out of the Will of God.”

That’s the title.

Before you step out of the will
of God, what?

The best consequences are having
it His way.

The worst consequences, having
it your way.

But most people won’t discover
that and understand that until

it’s rather late in their life.

So we’ve been talking about the
will of God, the purpose of God,

the plan of God for your life,
where you have been, where you

are, where you intend to be, and
if you intend to make whatever

changes are necessary in order
that God may have His perfect

will in your life from this
point on.

Does He forgive us for the past?


Is He willing to pick us up
where we are and lead us to

where He wants us to be?

Yes, He is.

So, we can’t change the past,
but we can change the direction

that we’re living in today and
the way we’re thinking, what our

habits are, where are we intend
to be in the future.

We can change that, because we
have the Person of the Holy

Spirit living within us to
enable us to make any change

that is absolutely necessary.

So, I want you to consider the
inescapable consequences of

living outside the will of God.

Now, you say, “Well, that’s sort
of what you think.”

No, no, no.

These are not my opinions.

We’re talking about the
inescapable, inescapable

consequences that happened in a
person’s life, different people,

different consequences, as a
result of living outside the

will of God.

As a result of saying, “You know

I want to live my life my way.

I know what I think I want in
life and I’m willing to go get


I’m willing to have it at
whatever price it is, but I want

to live it my way.”

Well, you can have it your way
if you choose.

But I want you to turn to the
book of Colossians.

Colossians is one of the most
beautiful epistles, informative

epistles, in the New Testament.

And the Apostle Paul has been
talking about how to live out

the Christian life, and he comes
down to the eighteenth verse and

he starts talking about husbands
and wives, how they’re to treat

each other with their children
and so forth.

And then, I–he also talks about
the servants, how they should be


And then he says, listen to
this, beginning in verse

twenty-three of this third
chapter of Colossians, “Whatever

you do, do your work heartily.”

That is, put your whole heart to
it, “As for the Lord,” as if

you’re working for Him, “rather
than for men, knowing that from

the Lord you will receive the
reward of the inheritance.

It is the Lord Christ whom you

And sometimes we think, you
know, we’re just doing our own


No, the truth is once you’re
saved, you and I become servants

of the Lord Jesus Christ and we
must not forget that every day

we’re serving Him.

And if you don’t think about Him
and you don’t read the Word of

God and you don’t pray in the
morning before you start your

day, it’s all about you and your
work and your friends.

But the Scripture says that we
are, listen, “Whatever you do,

do your work heartily, as for
the Lord rather than for men,

knowing that from the Lord you
will receive the reward of the


It is the Lord Christ whom you

Now, watch that.
Do you see that?

“It is the Lord Christ whom you

When you wake up tomorrow
morning, remember that.

Whatever you’re doing, wherever
you’re working, it’s Jesus whom

you are serving.

He’s the One you give an account

Now, watch this, “For he who
does wrong will receive the

consequences of the wrong which
he has done, and that without


Look at that verse, “For he who
does wrong will receive the

consequences of the wrong which
he has done, and that without


Now, we’ve been talking about
His will, His purpose, His plan,

and there’s a warning.

And the warning is simply this:
you cannot live outside the will

of God and be happy.

You may try.

And be successful.

You may be successful in some
areas, but not when it comes to


And so he says, notice, notice
how he says it.

He says it, “For he who does
wrong will receive the

consequences of the wrong which
he has done, and that,” what’s

that last phrase?

“Without partiality.”

That is, it doesn’t make any
difference what your occupation

is, God’s laws apply to every
single one of us the same way.

When I stand before Him, I give
an account for all my

opportunities, and with the way
I responded.

You stand before Him, you’ll
give an account to your

opportunities and the way you

Notice what he says, no

Think about that.

God is impartial.

No partiality.

That is, I’m not going to get by
with something that somebody

else wouldn’t, and neither are

We stand before a Holy God who’s
given us His purpose, His will,

His plan for our life, and we
will stand before Him and give

an account for it.

Which reminds me of this verse
in Galatians six seven,

“Whatever a man sows,” the
Scripture says, “that he will

also reap.”

In his family, among his
friends, coworkers, health,

faith, whatever it might be.

Whatever we sow, we’re going to

And then he says in Numbers,
chapter three, thirty-two,

twenty-three, “Be sure your sin
will find you out.”

That is, not some people, but
all of us.

So here are three statements: no
partiality, we reap what we sow,

and our sin will find us out.

So, we have a choice.

I can either follow the will of
God, which is the wisest thing I

can do, or I will choose to have
it my way.

And there is no partiality with

If I choose to have it my way, I
suffer the results.

You choose to have it your way,
you suffer the results.

There’s no exception.

Now, what I want to do is take
you through a short journey on

what it means when you step out
of the will of God.

Because what we’re talking
about, the phrase, the title is

“Before You Step Out of the Will
of God.”

And so, before you step out of
the will of God, let’s look at


Adam and Eve had it perfectly.

They could have been no
additions and no improvements in

the garden of Eden.

They chose by an act of their
will to disobey God, and to

listen to the wrong voice and to
step out of the perfect will of

God where there was no want, no
issues but to live in the

presence of Almighty God with
His perfect creation and enjoy

life and enjoy each other

But that’s what they did.

Then I want you to think about
the wickedness of Noah’s day.

Lot of things went on from Adam
and Eve till Noah’s day.

And men had totally resigned
themselves to live in the life

the way they wanted to live it.

It got so bad in the eyes of
God, He said, “I’m going to

destroy the whole thing.”

But God found somebody, Noah,
who decided to obey God.

And so, God said, “It’s gotten
so bad, I’m going to wipe out

everything on the face of this
earth and start all over again.”

You say, “Well, that doesn’t
sound very fair.”

Yes, it is.

Watch this, there’s no
partiality with God.

We reap what we sow, more than
we sow, later than we sow.

You can’t change that.

Adam and Eve had it perfectly,
they walked away.

Noah’s day, it got so bad, God
saved him out of a society that

was hard to describe.

Then of course, God chose a
nation, named them Israel, and

they served hundreds of years in
Egyptian bondage.

And God chose to save them out
of Egyptian bondage.

And then they walked through a
period of time when they

received the Ten Commandments
and God was teaching them how to

live and how to worship Him,
offering them the very, very


They disobeyed Him.

They obeyed Him.
They disobeyed Him.

But God had something in mind.

Because His purpose and plan and
will for their lives was to give

them a land in which they could
serve God freely.

God would be their God.

He would demonstrate His awesome
love for them because He chose


And so, they had the opportunity
of taking the land.

And so, when the time came, they
said, “Well, we don’t know about


There are giants in the land.”

And they began to take their
eyes off God and look at what

they heard about.

They heard about giants and they
heard about the land and they

heard about how fruitful it was,
but they also heard that there

would be dangers and some people
would lose their lives.

So, God had a purpose and a plan
and a will.

Now, remember this, whatever
purpose and plan and will God

has for your life, remember
this, you have the omnipotence,

omniscience, and omnipresence of
God with you through every

single stage of your life.

Did you hear that?

Well, some of you did.

So, remember, you have the
purpose, the plan, and the will

of God, His omnipotence,
omniscience, and omnipresence to

walk with you through anything
God has you to walk through.

But they decided maybe it won’t
be as beautiful as Joshua and

all these fellows tell it’s
going to be, and so we’re not

going to do it.

They spent the night weeping,
talking among themselves, I’m

sure, and doing what?

Rebelling against God because
they did not believe that God’s

purpose, God’s plan, and God’s
will was best.

They thought theirs was best.

You know what theirs was best

God said here’s the result.

Forty long years back in the
wilderness with all the

serpents, looking for something
to eat, all the enemies you’re

going to face.

And it cost them forty years, a
whole generation.

Now, think about that.

Before you step out of the will
of God, you mark this down,

there is a price to pay.

There is always a price to pay
when you step out of the will of


When God tells you to do
something and you don’t do it,

mark it down, there’s a price to

Canaan, with everything Almighty
God could create for them, He

created for them.

He would defeat their enemies.

And they chose out of fear and
doubt, listening to the wrong


They chose not to take His
purpose, not to follow His plan,

not to believe in His power to
do it.

Forty years, a whole generation
died in the wilderness because

they thought their plan was

Let me tell you something,
there’s a whole generation today

who have chosen to live in the
desert, chosen to live in the

spiritual desert, chosen to live
without God, chosen to live

apart from God; not God’s
purpose, not God’s plan, not

God’s will; their own plan,
their own will, and their own


You can’t improve on God.

He has a purpose, a plan, and a

This isn’t somebody else’s
purpose, plan, and will.

This is Holy God’s purpose,
plan, and will for our life: to

obey Him in the midst of a
generation of people who do not

want to obey Him, who want to
have it their way.

And you read the Scriptures,
when you want it your way and

you don’t want it God’s way, you
can have it your way.

His purpose, His plan, His will,
you throw aside.

You know, many people, some of
them you work with, some of them

maybe in your family, some of
them your friends, not God’s

purpose, not God’s plan, not
God’s will; their own.

There is a consequence.

There is a penalty.

There is always a price of
stepping out of the will of God

or ignoring the will of God.

And so, I said I’d take you on a
short journey to show you that

over and over and over again,
the same thing.

Now, let’s get onto somebody

Let’s say, for example, let’s
say, let’s take Samson.

God blessed Samson with awesome,
almost miraculous power.

He gave him a secret and He said
to him, “You must never cut your


The day you cut your hair,
you’ll lose your strength.”

And so, the early years of his
life, he defeated the wicked

over and over and over again.

And then he met Delilah.

And so, the enemy found Delilah
and offered her a big price if

she’d find his secret.

Over and over and over again,
she tempted him, and he turned

her down because God had a
purpose and a plan and a will

for his life: defeat the enemies
of God, to defeat the enemies of

God, and he had the power to
do it.

And you know the story.

And finally, in a moment of
weakness, he told her his

secret, his God-given secret,
cut his hair.

She cut his hair.

Where did he end up?

In prison.

The next think you know, he was

Next thing you know, he was
going round and round in a mill.

And then when they brought him
out to demonstrate his defeat,

God used him in his repentance
attitude toward God, and he

wrecked the whole coliseum,
bringing death to the enemy.

God’s purpose, God’s plan, and
God’s will for his life, he was

a symbol of strength and power
of God for godly people.

And for whatever she offered
him, it cost him everything.

God’s plan is perfect.

If I insist on having my will,
my purpose, and my plan, I can

have it, at a price.

Don’t forget this sermon.

There is a penalty that is
unavoidable for ignoring

Almighty God, no matter who you

There’s a penalty for ignoring
the will of God.

And then there’s David.

We know him as the shepherd boy
that killed Goliath.

And we know what a wonderful
young man he was.

And he was best friend of the
king’s son.

And we know so many good things
about David.

And how many parents name their
children after David?

And so, one day when he should
have been out with his soldiers

fighting the enemy, he decided
to stay at home.

And then Satan set him up.

Watch this carefully.

Satan will set you up with
whatever is necessary to bring

you down, if you’re not purposed
in your heart to live according

to the will and purpose and plan
of God.

So, my title, and what is it?

“Before You Step Out of the Will
of God,” think, pray, think,

think, think, pray, turn to God.

So, he was walking around in the
evening, happens to look over

the rail, and sees Bathsheba
down there taking a bath.

He saw enough of her that he
couldn’t get that out of his


So, what did he do?

He forgot about God.

He forgot about how blessed he

He was nothing but a shepherd

Now he was the king of all of
Israel, the power to rule the

whole nation of God.

And for one night, one look, one

call, one adulterous act, he

ruined his life.

There is a price to pay when we
ignore His purpose, His plan,

and His will for our life.

Then of course, Jonah decided
that he was not going to do the

will of God.

He was not going to preach to
people whom he hated, and so he

takes a boat ride.

You can’t escape God.

And we think about this story
and we laugh.

God had a purpose and a plan and
a will.

His purpose, plan, and will was,
“Jonah, I want you to go to

Nineveh and I want you to preach
the truth that they might be


He was so prejudiced against
Ninevites, that’s the last thing

he wanted to do, and he chose,
foolishly, just like people do,

I’m not going to do what God
said do and I’m just going to

take myself a vacation.

I’m heading out of here.

Many a men and women have chosen
to walk away from God to be

swallowed up in a lifestyle that
they hate and almost destroy

them, and oftentimes did and

And so what happened?

When God brought him to the
point of death, he escaped from

the whale and he couldn’t get to
Nineveh fast enough.

But here’s the thing about him
if you’ll watch.

He could never forget his ride
in the whale, but he forgot

God’s purpose and God’s plan and
God’s will for his life was to

speak the truth of Jehovah God
to the Ninevites they may be

saved, he did and they were and

He still was so prejudiced that
he’s complaining about God’s


And then of course, there’s

Peter was one of Jesus’s choice
disciples, strong, great


He’d seen miracle after miracle.

And the night Jesus was taken,
and here he was in the purpose

and plan and will of the Lord,
and some little girl looked at

him and said, “I think you’re
one of those, I think you’re

one of those followers of

And he said, “No, I’m not.

No, I’m not.”

And the Scripture says at this
particular moment, “And Jesus

walked by and turned and looked
upon Peter,” and I’ll never

forget this phrase in the Bible,
“and Peter remembered.”

What did he remember?

Three wonderful, awesome,
indescribable years of walking

with Jesus and seeing Him heal
and perform one miracle after

the other, walking on top of the
water he’d fished on all those


And he said it, “I don’t know

Before you willingly, knowingly
step out of the will of God,

you’d better think three times,
not once.

Can you say today, as best I
know my heart, I’m living in the

will of God?

As best I know my heart, I’m
surrendered to Him.

The best I know my heart, my
witness, my testimony before

others is good because I attempt
to live daily in His will and

way and purpose for my life.

A will, a purpose, a plan, He
loves you enough to have planned

the best.

And the reason I go through
these particular persons is

because I want you to see there
is a price.

There is always a price.

There is a cost of disobedience
to God.

And you don’t want to have to
pay that price.

He says, “If we confess our
sins, He’s faithful and just to

forgive us of our sins, and to
cleanse us from all


We’ve all had to claim that
verse, probably many times.

But have you ever claimed the
One that’s called you?

“Whosoever shall call upon the
name of the Lord shall be


Have you ever responded to that

Have you ever trusted Jesus
Christ as your personal Savior?

He doesn’t say you have to
recount all your sins.

You confess the fact that you
are a sinner, that you’ve

disobeyed God.

But you have the privilege by
the grace of God of confessing

that sin, asking Him to forgive
you, and then choosing to step

in the will of God.

Doesn’t mean you’ll live a
perfect life, but it means by

His grace and goodness and love
and mercy and help, you can live

a godly life because you have
the indwelling Holy Spirit there

to help you.

Father, we love you and praise
you, that you have given us your

precious Word as a warning, as
an encouragement, as a help, as

a source of strength, a source
of healing.

May the truth of your Word sink
deep into every heart that hears


May there be definite, definite,
clear, absolutely unquestionable

change in the attitude and in
the actions of every person who

hears this, who has never
trusted Christ as their Savior.

And of all us who have, would
look at our lives to see, are we

walking in the light of the
truth of Jesus Christ?

I pray so, dear God, in Jesus’s
name, amen.