What do you think about God’s will? This is something I’ve thought about quite a bit over the course of my life, and what I keep coming back to is that it’s not pre-defined path of binary right or wrong answers. For instance, back in college it was questions like “Where will I work” or more importantly back then, we were all worried about “Who should I marry”? I never really did believe God had THE wife in mind I should marry and be within His will, but He had A wife in mind for me. I believe there were multiple people I could have married, but I am very thankful that God lead me to the one I ended up marrying.
You see, I don’t believe God’s will for our lives is a single course of left or right turns, but His will is a single map that I’m looking at as I travel through this journey of life. I believe when we are saved God gives us a new map. It’s full of different options and roads we can take and lots of different places we can go and things to see. All of them can be within His will for our lives.
I believe God’s over arching will for our lives is that we continually draw closer to Him and continue to get better at being obedient when He does guide us in a certain direction within His map for our life. As long as I’m seeking Him in everything I do then I’ll be on the right page and the options available to me are potentially endless. There’s a lot of freedom in that, along with a lot of guidance as well.
My family and I are going through some uncertain times right now. We’re basically homeless, no full-time job for me and currently separated from each other. I’m in the process of living in Nashville, TN looking for full-time work while my wife and two kids are back in Indianapolis living with my parents until I can bring them to Nashville to join me. There were a number of people in our life that challenged us on whether or not we were in God’s will in doing what we were doing. We absolutely believe we are and I believe that’s confirmed by the fact that my wife and I are in complete harmony and agreement with this major decision in our life. We have never been closer to each other and on the same page as we are right now in our marriage. As I spoke with a friend about our current status, he just looked at me and said it must be God’s will because I just had a peace about me that was really unexplainable (you know that peace that passes understanding that we’ve sung about?) Any normal husband and father would probably be stressing out about where the roof over his family was going to come from or exactly what job was going to pay for that roof. I’m not worried about it, I know who’s in control.
I think many times as Christians, we can think if everything is going well in our lives then we must be in God’s will and if things aren’t going well, then we must not be. As Jarrid Wilson recently wrote, “It’s Ok To Be A Christian And Go Through Tough Times“. I heard recently too that when things are going well for Christians, many times we look at things we’re doing that we credit as the source of God’s blessings on our life. Think about this, when you’ve been coasting on those calm waters of life, have you ever thought to yourself, “Yeah, I’ve been reading my Bible daily, devotions have been strong, I haven’t missed praying once this week or I’ve been to church every Sunday this quarter!” You see the problem with that is that you’re giving credit for blessings to something you’ve done! Let me let you in on a little secret, you have blessings in your life because your Heavenly Father loves you and has showered you with blessing you could never earn for yourself. Your “works” haven’t protected you from the just actions you actually deserve, Jesus has taken what you deserved to bear on the cross for you.
Am I saying we shouldn’t do all those things? Absolutely not. But we should remind ourselves and instill the right motivation for doing them. I should do those things because they keep me in sync with God and keep me looking at the right map He’s given me for my life. I do those things because I love Him and I want to express to Him (all of these are better seen as acts of worship) how thankful I am that He’s loved me and blessed me and sacrificed everything for me.
So, stop fretting about that next right or left turn in your life. Draw close to Him. Make sure you’re on His page for your life and then make the decision your heart tells you to make. If you’re in sync with God, I’m pretty sure the desires of your heart won’t be in conflict with His desire for you. Enjoy the journey and thank Him for the blessing to explore His love in your life.
I like a lot of what you have written (because much accords with THE Truth). Biblically, you are helpful when you wrote (in different words, of course):
1. Primacy must be upon following God’s revealed will. God has told us what to do to please Him, draw near to Him, etc. Find all of the phrases this is “the will of God” or “God’s will” and one will have clear, explicit directions.
2. When one follows God’s revealed will, one is free to make decisions in God’s unrevealed will(e.g., whom should I marry).
3. If one does not follow God’s revealed will, one has not warrant to believe they have any idea of God’s unrevealed will (e.g., if one is engaging in pre-marital physical intimacy, one cannot say with any confidence that “It is God’s will that I marry this gal.”).
4. Comfort and ease do not equal obedience and more than suffering necessarily means sin. Jesus followed God perfectly and suffered unimaginably.
There where some rough spots as well (not to worry, even Calvin might have been wrong on a few things).
1. One must not live by feelings. “Feelings” of peace do not equate to obedience. It is possible to be self-deceived (indeed, the nature of deception is not know one is being deceived). Feelings are not sure guides.
2. Obedience is the path to peace. If one is obedient to the revealed will of God there should be peace (even in storms). You must please God…then do what you want…but you must please God first in objective truth before one can be confident that their subjective peace is in concert with God’s will.
10,000 Blessings in The Wonderful Counselor,
Jim, thanks for the feedback. As usual, your knowledge and insight of the scriptures and faith issues is always helpful and useful.