Grace for This Day

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“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”

– Charles H. Spurgeon –


During my research for the recent posts on God’s will, I asked many of my friends to submit questions. Some of these questions made it into the Q&A, while others seemed to go beyond simply knowing God’s will. One friend brought up this great question:

“I know I’m in God’s will in what I am doing now, but feel drawn/want to do something else. How do I find contentment?”

Ah, contentment. As humans, we all suffer from dissatisfaction at times. As young people, we are at the threshold of so much future stretching out before us. There’s just so much Out There. It’s hard to hold back the desires that want to leap out into the stars.

As a young lady, I know how deeply the struggle for contentment affects us girls. For the young and unmarried among us, we sometimes feel like our lives are frozen in place, just waiting for the right guy to come along for our lives to really start. While singleness is not the only area of discontent that touches us, it is one of the most prominent in our thoughts.

Why is this? Why are we constantly wishing for what isn’t?

More importantly, what is the cure?

Why, why, why?

The idea to take something for ourselves before the time is rather…old. Very, very old. It goes back to the first people ever, in fact, when a snake enthralled Eve with a forbidden bit of pleasure.

” Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. “(Genesis 3:1-6, NKJV)

One little nibble was all it took. The seed of discontent bore a fruit that tasted great…but how bitter it was in the end! That was true for the first people, and it is true for us still. Eve’s desires to satisfy her hunger,  her artistic sensibilities, and her intellect were not wrong desires. It was the way she tried to fill herself that was wrong.

When we deal with our hopes and dreams, they don’t have to be thrown away. They just have to be submitted to God. Eve’s weren’t. And, sorry to say, neither are mine a lot of the time.

I think I will always remember one night when I was sixteen. I sank beside my bed, struggling with the conviction that I had to offer up all my life to God, every aspect. I was afraid. Yes, I was afraid that if I said, “Yes, Lord,” that He would pack me off to be a missionary in South Asia or doom me to lifelong spinsterdom. Or probably both. (Don’t laugh. I was very serious. 🙂 ) With a multitude of tears and sniffles, I bowed my head and prayed that God would make me willing to surrender. If I wasn’t quite ready to fork over my “consent,” I was at least receptive to the idea. As one songwriter says, I was “willing to be willing.” And, in the quiet of the night,  His peace came.

I’ve had to go back to that place many times since then,  surrendering and re-surrendering. Marriage, health, opportunities–all these have come to the table to be sacrificed. I’ve found that the One who accepts my offerings is gracious. Sometimes the sacrifice can be a living one, subdued but released to caper around again like a spring lamb. Sometimes He hands back my dreams; sometimes He keeps them. But whatever He hands me next, I can accept it knowing that it is better than what I might have chosen. He is much wiser than I am, you know.

How can I find contentment here?

My friends, as much as we doubt it, joy is not a place. Joy is a choice. Joy is a gift.

A young woman, martyred for her faith, had this to say about her Savior’s faithfulness:

“And shall I fear that there is anything that men hold dear Thou wouldst deprive me of and nothing give in place? That is not so, for I can see Thy face. I hear Thee now. ‘My child, I died for thee. And if the gift of love and life you took from Me, shall I one gracious thing withhold to all eternity? One beautiful and bright, one pure and precious thing, withhold? It cannot be.'”

– Betty Scott Stam, “My Testimony” –

It cannot be, dear ones, that He will keep back anything good from us! The God who loves us for His own glory will not fail us.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32, NKJV)

Trust in the love of God is the root of contentment. If we hold to our God in trust, we can let Him take us anywhere. It is with Him that we will be happy–and nowhere else.

Pride, on the other hand, is the root of discontent. “I deserve this” is my unspoken theme song–how about you? I hum along to it when I set my sights on something I simply must have to be happy. (Because, obviously, my happiness is vital to the continued functioning of the universe.) I chant the “Deserve it” lyrics when I presume upon a future I cannot control, plotting and planning my course (Prov. 16:9). The “I deserve this” mentality cripples many God-fearing girls who are waiting for a spouse. Christian thinker John Stonestreet calls this assumption “Princess theology,” a Disney-like happily-ever-after that we girls think we deserve for all the suffering we’ve been doing during our single years. But we don’t deserve happiness, if we think about it. We deserve nothing less than eternal hell for our sins. Christ’s atonement means that we can stand clean before God–but it doesn’t mean we now deserve our every whim.

But–if marriage is a gift we covet, we must also realize that singleness is not a curse. It is a gift too. The most powerful, beautiful, comforting thought I’ve ever read in this area was written by missionary and author Elisabeth Elliot:

“Single life may be only a stage of a life’s journey, but even a stage is a gift. God may replace it with another gift, but the receiver accepts His gifts with thanksgiving. This gift for this day. The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived–not always looked forward to as though the “real” living were around the corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.”

– Elisabeth Elliot,  from Let Me Be A Woman, page 31

So, my friends, contentment is about today. Not yesterday, with its regrets. Not tomorrow, with its hopes. Today–the beautiful, undeserved, fresh place that God has formed for us right now.

How do you embrace today? Not by never thinking about tomorrow, but by giving up your right to tomorrow and realizing Who has tomorrow well under control.

Contentment is about today. Contentment is about faith. Contentment is about raising that white surrender flag and flapping it as hard and high as you can. Contentment is the path to joy.

In her book Singled Out for Him, Nancy Leigh DeMoss tells the story of young William Borden, who left behind his family’s fortune to serve God, dying before he even reached the mission field. While he moved straight into glory, the impact of his life continues through his motto, found written in the front of his Bible. May it be ours:

No reserves.

No retreats.

No regrets.

Amen.


“Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.”

– Jeremiah Burroughs –

These Subtle Weavings

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“This is what the past is for!  Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
– Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place


The apostle Paul called our earthly life a dark glass for a reason (1 Cor. 13:12). We can only see pinpricks of light, shadows of a reality to come.

Although our Present moments are often chaotic and the Future is murky, the Past is one direction that God seems to shed a little more light on than others.

Past.

What does that word stir in you? Thoughts of childhood? Joy? Bitterness? Thankfulness….or regret? Embarrassment? Or, perhaps, a mixture of these things?

Unlike other points in time, the past is unchangeable, something our plans and intentions can never influence. The Past can be a Tormentor or a Teacher.

If I stop to think about it a moment, the Past can assault me with all the ridiculous things I’ve done. It doesn’t take long for one embarrassing episode after another to pop into my mind, making me groan. “How could I have thought that was a good idea?”

As I reminisce, I think of my more recent escapades, especially a not-long-ago phone call that could have resulted in disaster. “What possessed me!” I think. Then I remember that this particular “bright idea” was barely six months ago. Forget bewailing my indiscretions as a five-year-old! At twenty-one, I’m still keeping up with the blonde stereotype quite nicely, thank you.

What a Tormentor, with the memories of friendships broken, things that were and things that will never be! They can haunt and hound me, nipping at every day’s heels. The Past, sometimes, seems like a merciless enemy, intent on sucking us in and trapping us between the re-living of nightmares and the impossibility of beloved things lost.

But, it can be gentle too, the Past as wise and insistent as a gray-headed teacher, commanding our gaze, pulling us again and again from the Future’s window. God so often commands us to “Remember” and that is what the Past is truly for. Although a redeemed Past does not hide us from the ugliness of our committed sins, with the right way of seeing, a journey into the Past can be a path to hope.

“How,” you may wonder, “can all my mistakes and foibles and sins and wanderings be hopeful?”

Because, my sweet sisters, the very Past that has the power to torture us is the same Past that God has in His hand. No horrible rebellion, no hopeless destruction, no fathomless pit, no dark forest, can make us so lost and so unreachable that God cannot reach into it and bring us out safely. While not diminishing His disgust of sin, our God can take a lost soul–like you and I were–and dress that soul in His own white holiness, purchased at the price of the very life of God Incarnate.

“The very Past that has the power to torture us is the same Past that God has in His hand.”

But it is not only the death of Jesus that brings hope to our Past. It is the LIFE of Jesus! If He had remained in that tomb, we would still be hopeless ( 1 Cor. 15:12-58). But His rising showed that His death-price was accepted by the Father, freeing us from the chains of the past:

“It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose. Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:12-14, CEB

 In Christ, we can move beyond our sins and failings into joy. When we look back to the Past, the Tormentor no longer has any power. Why?

Because God is not just in the business of redeeming our Present, or our Future. He is not limited to our approval ratings or our acknowledgement of His sovereignty. He told Moses His great name I Am, illustrating His perfect, eternal, unmarred control of Everything–my self-destructing Past included.

His touch is all over the places we’ve gone, the days we’ve lived and forgotten, the moments we wish we could hold onto forever, the times we wish we could sink into the ground and disappear. He was–IS–there, in our Past as much as any other time. Though history is inaccessible to us, God stands outside our limits and oversees it all, according to a plan we can not imagine for its sheer glory. God is not only the Master of storytelling. He also has a penchant for the surprising, the unlikely, the irredeemable and the unbelievable. In the way only He can, He molds scarred history into Redemption, a Messiah who takes the shame, becoming the Thing that must, above all, be believed.

Paraphrasing Romans 8:18-21, scholar and pastor J.B. Phillips wrote:

“In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God’s purpose it has been so limited—yet it has been given hope. And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God!”

This glory is not wholly left to the future. Have you ever seen a Sparkler on the 4th of July? It darts and dances in the air, shimmering with combustion, warmth, power. Sometimes, we can look back and see a sparkle of God’s light in the places we’ve walked.

It is hard to see when we’re passing through. Often, we have nothing to go on but faith in the darkness, but looking back, the spidery fingers of glory still trail behind us. The lights flash dimly through this dark, foggy glass. But, for a moment, we can look over our shoulders and see, kindled for an instant of recognition, a sight that teaches us to hope. It is His shadow, the impression of His feet as God moved, unseen, in the dark places of our Past.

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Bend in the Road

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 “God will only give you what you would have asked for if you knew everything he knows”

– Timothy Keller –


This week is the final week of our study on God’s will, as well as the second part of our Q&A. May the love of Christ dwell in you richly!


Q: “Does God reveal His will to an individual, but not to their authority? If so, how does one approach a situation where there is a disagreement with an authority on what God’s will is?”

A: There are several reasons why it is vital to pay close attention the advice and warnings of authorities, especially as young people. First of all, parents have a God-granted place of honor that is not optional (Eph. 6:1-3). Obedience to authorities (unless they command you to sin) is God’s will–no subjectivity there. For adult children out of the home, parents’ advice should be respected, even if the final decision is up to the grown child. In most situations–even for adult children–listening to those authorities is the wisest course of action.

In the case of a person conflicting with their authority about a perception of God’s will, you must work from what you know for sure. What do we know for certain that God wants in such a circumstance? Commands to obey and honor are relevant here. Next, what do we NOT know for sure? In the disagreement, are we elevating our subjective experience (an inner feeling or voice, an impression, a circumstance) above what God has already revealed in the Bible? If an authority is trying to prevent you from obeying God, that is one thing. However, if the conflict is over your personal interpretation of how that obedience is supposed to look when lived out, go with what you know for sure. God has put that authority in your life for a reason

Q: “The one thing that I struggle with some times is trying to figure out between my desires and the desires God places on my heart…”

A: Desires themselves are not inherently sinful or harmful. Because we are redeemed sinners, we know we have to be careful of sin creeping into our dreams and wishes, but just because we want something does not  automatically exclude it from God’s will. While God’s primary concern is for our Christ-likeness, not our comfort, He does want us to face life with joy and appreciate His gifts (1 Tim. 6:17; James 1:17).

That said, your question seems to be about motivations. Ask yourself why you want one choice or the other. If you are motivated by fear, anger, jealousy, or another sinful emotion, that is a sign that you need to surrender that area to God–but not necessarily that it is the wrong choice. Confused? Here’s an example.

Suppose my church’s music leader asked me to play piano for the congregation during services. My immediate thought might be, “Oh, I often get a big head when I play in front of people. Since pride is sin, I shouldn’t accept this position.” A better approach would be for me to confess the pride, pray for a right attitude, and take up this service, if that is a wise course of action within my other circumstances and responsibilities.

Another key thought is that our desires are conformed to be more like Christ as we pray and spend time reading the Bible and attending a faithful church. You don’t have to worry about turning up the label on each little desire and seeing if it’s marked “God’s desire” or “my desire.” You can examine a desire by comparing it with Scripture. God desires that you serve and grow in Him through a relationship with His Son, loving Him and those around you–it’s that simple! If you are faced with equally wise options and one would make you happy and the other will make you miserable, go with happy! God is not anti-happy, just anti-sin.


“The will of God isn’t a special direction here or a bit of secret knowledge there. God doesn’t put us in a maze, turn out the lights, and tell us, ‘Get out and good luck.’ In one sense, we trust in the will of God as His sovereign plan for our future. In another sense, we obey the will of God as His good word for our lives. In no sense should we be scrambling around trying to turn to the right page in our personal choose-your-own-adventure novel.

“God’s will for your life and my life is simpler, harder, and easier than that. Simpler, because there are no secrets we must discover. Harder, because denying ourselves, living for others, and obeying God is more difficult than taking a new job and moving to Fargo. Easier, because as Augustine said, God commands what He wills and grants what He commands.

“In other words, God gives His children the will to walk in His ways—not by revealing a series of next steps cloaked in shadows, but by giving us a heart to delight in His law.

“So the end of the matter is this: Live for God. Obey the Scriptures. Think of others before yourself. Be holy. Love Jesus. And as you do these things, do whatever else you like, with whomever you like, wherever you like, and you’ll be walking in the will of God.”

– Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something, p 121-122 –

Getting Our Bearings

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“There is no secret formula–only a life committed to a close walk with God.”
– Dillon Burroughs –


Today and next week, we’ll continue to learn about God’s will with a Q&A. I pray these things will spur you on toward knowing our amazing Savior! Blessings, my sisters!


Q: “I’ve noticed…[some] people trying to figure out God’s will…think they know what God’s will is and then after spending a huge amount of time on it, they realize it wasn’t exactly where God had wanted them to be.”

Often the problem is that people think they’re supposed to find out an exact choice that is stamped with “God’s Will,” when God never promises or even ASKS us to do that. The Bible doesn’t tell us the procedure for interpreting feelings of peace, nor does it give us an index of dream interpretation guidelines. Scripture rarely gives special revelation about an individual’s path, and even “super-Christians” like Luke (Gospel of Luke 1:3) and Paul (1 Thess. 3:1-2; Phil. 2:25-26) appear to have made many decisions based on what seemed like the good or right thing to do at the time, not on a heavenly revelation (see Decision Making and the Will of God, pages 168-169). 

So, if there’s no solid measuring stick of what is supposedly “God’s will” or not (according to the subjectivity of the modern view), people will get confused. They will say, “Here’s God’s will,” and then a few months later say, “No, that’s not it–there it is!” A better thing for us to do as Christians is to say, “I believe this is the wisest decision” or “I think this will be best,” but not put God’s reputation on the line for a decision we make. It’s easy to shift the “blame” for an unpopular choice onto “God’s will,” but, sorry, that’s not a Scripturally-based idea. As long as there’s nothing in the Bible specifically commanding your decision, you’ll have to defend it yourself. I believe it is very dangerous to affix God’s approval to something unless He has signed it Himself.

Fear of “getting it wrong” can hold people back too. But, according to the Wisdom View of God’s will, we can’t just sit around waiting for divine messages. We’ve already been given the Divine Message! We have our marching orders! If the choice is 1) morally right and 2) wise, then we can choose it.

A final misconception is relevant to this situation: the idea that problems are an indication that you aren’t in God’s will. Really? Is that what the Bible says? God never promises that things will go well if you’re doing His will, at least not in this present world! In fact, Jesus says the opposite:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NKJV).

Q: So is the Wisdom View just about logic? It doesn’t sound very spiritual.

A: No, not at all! God does call us to be logical, using what Donald Gee calls  “sanctified common sense,” but making God-glorifying decisions–wielding that wisdom–is absolutely dependent on spiritual matters. Here are several helpful responses that can help us make the best decisions:

Six Actions of a Godly Decision-Maker

1. Be indwelled by the Holy Spirit

Only a Christian can make decisions that please God! If you want to do God’s will, the first order of business is to be His child, yielded to His plans.

“Do you know what the Spirit-filled life is? It is living every moment as though you are standing in the presence of Jesus Christ!… It is being saturated with the things of Christ with His Word, His Person.”

– John MacArthur, Found: God’s Will, page 26, 27-28 –

2. Read the Bible

First, find out if there is a command for your situation. If not, what is the wisest thing to do?

3. Pray

Just because God will most likely not speak to you in an audible voice doesn’t mean He doesn’t care about your decision. As you walk more closely with Him, you will grow in wisdom. Since you (hopefully) aren’t praying for writing in the clouds, what should you pray about? There are so many things: ask God for wisdom to choose well (James 1:5-8),  pray that God would be glorified by your decision, pray for God’s working in your heart and in the hearts of others.

“Yes, it’s proper for Christians to pray to God and seek wisdom from God when we face decisions, even nonethical decisions. That’s not a bad idea. What is a bad idea is treating nonethical decisions as weightier than they really are because you think that there is One Right Answer that you must discover.”

Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something, page 64

4. Consider the circumstances

“Since circumstances provide the context in which a decision is made, they are a key source of wisdom for the decision maker. They must be evaluated, not to determine some clue from God, but to help decide the advisability of a course of action….Wisdom recognizes that every option has its advantages.”

Garry Friesen, Decision Making and the Will of God, page 262

5. Get Counsel

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). Wise advice, especially from spiritual authorities or strong Christian friends, is key! Conferring with parents, leaders, and mentors is a great way to keep yourself accountable for your decisions.

6. Consider personal desires

It’s okay to be happy. Really. 🙂

I know that sometimes we think if we want to do it, it must not be God’s will. But that just isn’t true. Yes, sometimes God brings things into our lives that are not comfortable or fun or what we particularly wanted at the moment. But at the same time, we should not routinely choose the less-desirable option. God’s not out to make us miserable—He’s out to make us like Jesus. (For more about desires, stay tuned for next week’s continuation of our Q&A)

“You see, the will of God is not primarily a place. The will of God is not, first of all, for you to go there or work here. The will of God concerns you as a person. If you are the right you, you can follow your desires and you will fulfill His will.”

John MacArthur, Found: God’s Will, page 60


 Q&A to be continued next week…

Does Not Wisdom Call?

 

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“Doing the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His plans.”

– George MacDonald –


Well! You’re back! That’s wonderful 😀

Last week I left you with a bit of a cliffhanger, didn’t I? We discussed the problems with the way most people view God’s will, but we didn’t learn much about another option, a more Biblical option.

This week we’ll look at this option, and next week we’ll talk about practical decision-making using this Biblical pattern.


Instead of looking to the subjectivity of the signs and impressions to discern God’s path, there is an alternative: the Wisdom View.

Instead of saying that we have to figure out what God wants for each step, the Wisdom View teaches something quite different–and maybe a bit startling! The following four principles summarize the Wisdom View of God’s Will (see Decision Making and the Will of God, page 116):

If God tells us to do something, we should do it.

If God has not commanded us not to do something, we are free to do it.

If the Bible doesn’t say anything about it, God “gives us wisdom to choose.”

If our choice is wise and within God’s commands, we have to make a decision and trust God for the results.

If the Bible said, “Cars are evil inventions that no child of God must own,” then we would be out of God’s will to buy a car. But since it doesn’t, we are free to go out and purchase a vehicle to help us function in our God-assigned roles.

Remember the three kinds of God’s will that theologians talk about? God’s Sovereign Will is usually not in question, even by proponents of the alternate views. As the authors of Decision Making and the Will of God say,

“Would you like to know God’s sovereign will for next Tuesday? Wait until next Wednesday. Only God knows what will happen in advance, and He’s not telling.” – page 190

Most theologians recognize that God’s secret plan is not something to be discovered in advance–that’s just not our job as creatures. When Peter spoke to the crowd at Pentecost, he gave an example of God’s Sovereign Will:

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” (Acts 2:22-24, NKJV, emphasis added)

So–that leaves Moral Will (Luke 7:30; John 9:31; Romans 12:2; Colossians 1:9; 1 Thess. 4:3-5) and Individual Will. The gist of the Wisdom View is that there is NO Individual Will of God, in the sense of  something God wants us to find out ahead of time. While God cares for us deeply, personally, and individually, He does not dictate every movement to us. That’s where His Moral Will and wisdom enter the scene.

This is such a relief! I don’t have to worry about God’s sovereign plan. He’s got that covered. I don’t have to worry about a fictitious individual route to be deciphered. All I have to do is “follow hard after God” (Psalm 63:8) through the saving work of Jesus, seeking to please Him by doing the things He does make clear in the Bible.

“God certainly cares about these decisions insofar as He cares for us and every detail of our lives. But in another sense, and this was the point I was trying to make, these are not the most important issues in God’s book. The most important issues for God are moral purity, theological fidelity, compassion, joy, our witness, faithfulness, hospitality love, worship, and faith. These are His big concerns. The problem is that we tend to focus most of our attention on everything else. We obsess over the things God has not mentioned and may never mentions while, by contrast, we spend little time on all the things God has already revealed to us in the Bible.”

– Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something, pages 44-45 –

The key to the Wisdom View is that we don’t have to jump through spiritual hoops–or sit around waiting for a vision from heaven–to please God. We just seek Him. That is His will.

And, as the name of the view implies, the rest of the decisions are left to wisdom. Does God forbid it? If not, the next question is, “Is it wise?”

“Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
For blessed are they who keep my ways.
“Heed instruction and be wise,
And do not neglect it.
“Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at my doorposts.
“For he who finds me finds life
And obtains favor from the Lord.
“But he who sins against me injures himself;
All those who hate me love death.”

– Proverbs 8:32-36, NASB –

Well-known theologian A.W. Tozer says this about the Christian’s decision-making process:

     “Now, a happy truth too often overlooked in our anxious search for the will of God is that in the majority of decisions touching our earthly lives God expresses no choice, but leaves everything to our own preference. Some Christians walk under a cloud of uncertainty, worrying about which profession they should enter, which car they should drive, which school they should attend, where they should live and a dozen or score of other such matters, when their Lord has set them free to follow their own personal bent, guided only by their love for Him and for their fellow men.

“On the surface it appears more spiritual to seek God’s leading than just to go ahead and do the obvious thing. But it is not. If God gave you a watch would you honor Him more by asking Him for the time of day or by consulting the watch? If God gave a sailor a compass would the sailor please God more by kneeling in a frenzy of prayer to persuade God to show him which way to go or by steering according to the compass?

“Except for those things that are specifically commanded or forbidden, it is God’s will that we be free to exercise our own intelligent choice. The shepherd will lead the sheep but he does not wish to decide which tuft of grass the sheep shall nibble each moment of the day. In almost everything touching our common life on earth God is pleased when we are pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our Maker’s praise without anxiety. God’s choice for us may not be one but any one of a score of possible choices. The man or woman who is wholly and joyously surrendered to Christ cannot make a wrong choice. Any choice will be the right one.

– A.W. Tozer, from “How the Lord Leads,” emphasis added –

Based on the Wisdom View, our top priority is to do the things God commands. After that, we have a huge area of freedom to choose. Are you excited yet? I am! This is a beautiful balance: acknowledging God’s authority and control, while taking responsibility for our actions.

What do you think?

Don’t take my word for it–search the Scriptures to see if what I’ve said is true (Acts 17:11)! Read up on the subject from both perspectives. (From the Wisdom View side, I’d highly recommend the books I mentioned in last week’s post.) Respect your conscience and be fully convinced before you act on what you’ve learned (Romans 14:5,23).

Through this series on God’s will, I pray that you will truly “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:9-10). This is my desire for you, my sisters.

It is my hope that you be freed by this wisdom-based perspective, embracing the future as an adventure to serve our great God!


Stay tuned for next week’s Q&A on practical decision-making!