I sit here this morning thinking about what I said in my last post. I desperately want to know what God’s will is. I believe I need the details of my life and those I care about. I wouldn’t say I believe that. Unfortunately, that is how I act, so I guess I do believe that. It drives me crazy that I can’t see God’s plan in full. I guess I’m stuck having to believe…
In fact, Bruce Waltke says that trying to determine God’s will is akin to paganism… If you are stuck on trying to peek at God’s secret plan, read this book.
This is where true faith comes in. Our hope, which every believer has, is that everything (no, really, everything), in the end, will work out just as God has planned according to HIS will. So often I’m not really concerned with how things will turn out in the end, at an undetermined time. (Matthew 24:36) So then, how do we navigate through life without knowing God’s unflappable plan?
Well, in this case I have no expert incite. I simply have some sound advice, and a stern warning. I’ll start with the advice.
Because we are not given the exact details of God’s plan we must rely on other sources of direction. People tend to discount using these “other sources” because they are not as certain as receiving a message from on-high. Based on what I will talk about in the next section that message is not as certain as you might believe… Therefore, these other sources are the best we have.
The first resource we have is the Bible. Watch out how much you thumb your nose at the Bible. It is the embodiment of the True Word, Jesus Christ. The Word of God provides insight untold to the human mind, human condition, and living in a fallen world. Sure, it doesn’t tell us whether or not 4/4 time is good or evil, which English translation God loves the most, or whether or not we should play video games on our days off. Instead, it gives us principles that we can live by. The Bible should be the definitive source for our decisions. All the rest of these resources should never go against the Bible. If it goes against what God’s word says, don’t do it.
Secondly, we can ask for godly wisdom. James 1:5-8 encourages us to ask for godly wisdom if we lack it. Don’t be fooled though, godly wisdom is not a secret peek at God’s sovereign plan. Instead, it is a proper perspective at how to view the past from God’s point of view as well as how to face the future. James talks about it in terms of trouble. Only wise people are able to rejoice in suffering. Why are they able? Because they understand that their suffering will “perfect” them. For the wise, perfection is better than comfort… So, if you lack perspective on a past event or a future decision ask God for wisdom.
Third you can get godly counsel. Older people are great! They have seen many things in their life. Because “nothing is new under the sun” there is a good chance that they have been there, done that, and have an old worn-out t-shirt to prove it. I see parents go through this all the time. They feel like their kids are the first kids ever to mess up. Or, they feel like they have the WORST kids ever. Talk to an older person whose kids (as grown-ups) are productive members of society and see what trouble they got in to. It may surprise you. Go ahead, talk to older, godly, more experienced people and see what they say about your situation.
Fourth, you have personal choice to guide you. I have met very few youth pastors who say, “Well, I HATE teens, but I was called to be a youth pastor, so I’m stuck.” Instead God uses your natural likes and dislikes to guide your decision-making process. Trying to figure out what career field to choose? Determine what you like and what you don’t and go from there. Don’t be afraid to choose what you want to choose. But, I want to give two stern cautions with this advice. 1. Don’t rely solely on your desires. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that we are still evil at the core. If your heart wants to date a married person, then your heart is wrong… end of story. If your tendency is to lie, don’t give into that, tell the truth. This isn’t a license to sin. 2. Don’t pass off your desires as anything more than that. If you want to be an engineer, go to a certain college, date a person you like (not married, that is), that is fine. There is freedom in Christ. But don’t pass off your choices as God’s inspired plan or unflappable will. It is your choice, and don’t be ashamed to say it is your choice. Is God fine with it? Well, that depends on you, are able to seek first the kingdom and Christ’s righteousness and have your preference? If so, then yes, God is fine with your choice.
There you have it… 4 resources we have in making decisions.