Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Reply All #3 Preview: Discerning God's Will

This Sunday, we will tackle one of the most common questions that Christians ask as they face the future: what is God's will for my life?  What does He want me to do?  Sometimes we ask this question because we really want to please God.  But sometimes we ask this question because we are afraid and we don't know what to do.  We seem to think that if God will give us the correct path to take then everything will work out great for us - no pain, only success.  But the truth of Scripture is that God uses seasons of pain and struggle in our life to grow us in our faith.  So why would God take us out of all trials?  He has never promised to do that - only to be with us in the midst of our struggles.  So, does God have a specific will for us to follow?  Or do we just make the best decisions we can make each day?  We will tackle this tough and very practical issues this Sunday at church.  I can't wait to share what God is teaching me as I prepare.


GLMeece said...

I'm really glad you tackled this. This is the first time I've downloaded the podcast for one of your sermons I was actually present to hear "live", as there was too much for me to catch first time around.

I think most of us from evangelical backgrounds have been exposed to a hyper-spiritual approach to decision-making and the will of God. Although much of this approach never set right with me, it was only a few years ago that I began to really study what scriptures instructed us to do to make wise choices. Yes, it seems that God is often doing unusual things in the scriptures with his people to direct them. However, it's a big leap from "God sometimes does it this way" to "this is normative, at least if you are truly spiritual." I've seen many professing believers make choices that are clearly against scriptural teaching, but they often retort "well, I prayed about it and have a real peace." Yeah, that trumps everything God made sure we had in his confirmed Word (not!).

One passage that popped out to me many years ago (before I really began serious study) is one you referenced - Acts 16:8-10. It seemed that Paul and his companions were following a reasonable course (literally and figuratively), and only when they were diverging from what God desired, God intervened to give them supernatural direction. It seems that we can commit our way to Him, and trust his providence that He will take whatever measures are necessary to guide us when we exceed the knowledge and wisdom he has presently provided.

Anyway - thanks again. I think it was really helpful that you pointed out following God's best often brings more difficulties, not less! I received the book you referenced Just Do Something for my birthday, but I read the first chapter and promptly misplaced it! Hopefully I'll find it again and finish it (small book - even I should be able to do that!). Additional references from Greg Koukl (Stand to Reason):
* Divine Direction and Decision Making in the Book of Acts (article - free)
* Decision Making and the Will of God (MP3 download - $16.95)

Keith Ferguson said...

Greg - thanks for your input. I was glad to be able to talk about this topic since I also have seen so many people make foolish decisions and chalk them up to "God told me." As a funny side-note, many people walked up Sunday and said, "I know you were preaching just to me this week" which is a very good indicator that the sermon struck a chord with how many of us struggle with decision making.

Cammie Novara said...

"Sometimes we ask this question because we really want to please God." You're totally correct.