One of the main questions students ask Afshin Ziafat, a Christian speaker known for his compelling personal testimony of faith, is "How can I know God's will?" Ziafat answered that question for Oklahoma Baptist University students during a worship service Friday, Aug. 28, in OBU's Raley Chapel.
Referring to the elementary school game of "MASH" - which children use to determine whether they will live in a mansion, apartment, shack or house - Ziafat said people are consumed with knowing the plan for their lives. He noted the absurdity of relying on a piece of paper to determine who a person will marry, how many children they will have and what kind of car they will drive.
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The "MASH" game, Ziafat pointed out, is well-known among most students across generations because it represents "The American Dream," the life goals pushed on people by society. He said most young people, including Christians, are consumed with such pursuits.
"If you're a Christian, you should now spend the rest of your days not for human passion - which is what (this game represents) - but for the will of God," Ziafat said. "If you're following Christ, here's the goal of life for you: Becoming like Christ. That's the finish line.
"What you're going to find out is that God's will has so much more to do with who you're becoming; it has far less to do with who you marry, what your job is, where you live, (those things) we spend so much of our time being consumed with."
Ziafat encouraged the students to put their unforeseen futures into God's hands, giving Him control over the earthly concerns, and focus instead on doing God's will. He indicated the Bible clearly reveals God's will. First, based on 2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:3-4, he said God's will is that people would know God intimately.
"God's heartbeat for you is that you would desire to know him more and more and more and more deeply every day," he said. "Over and beyond everything else, that's what you were created for."
Based on Ephesians 5:17-18, Ziafat said it is God's will that people live their lives in communion with the Holy Spirit. He said the Scripture explains that the way to overcome sin in life is not only by abstaining from what tempts a person, but to fill that space with God's Spirit. He also said God desires for people to be pure, based on 1 Thessalonians 3-5 which calls for sexual purity.
"God's will for you: before you worry about who your wife is going to be, you should be more consumed with what kind of husband you're becoming," Ziafat said. "The way you defeat sin is not just by not doing it, but by knowing God and walking in (God's) light in authentic fellowship."
Reiterating that God's will is about who a person is becoming, Ziafat said God's will is also that a person be willing to suffer, based on 1 Peter 4:19.
"When suffering comes into your life, you keep doing good as if to say, 'God, I trust that You are faithful that You are even going to use this suffering to do something good in my life,'" Ziafat said. "I am the man I am today because my father disowned me. The Bible says it's a gift of God that we go through suffering."
Referencing the MASH game, Ziafat said, "If the goal of your life is this stuff, there is no gift in suffering. But if the goal of your life is who you're becoming, then there is a gift of suffering because Scripture says in James 1 ... your trials are shaping you to become the person you're going to become one day."
Raised in a Muslim family, Ziafat accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior as a senior in high school. His father, a doctor, disowned him. Ziafat shared his personal story during Saturday in the Park, a back-to-school celebration sponsored by OBU Campus Ministries, on Saturday, Aug. 29, in Shawnee's Woodland Park. He also spoke Friday night, Aug. 28, during the OBU University Concert Series' coffee shop in the Geiger Center.