Wednesday, September 20, 2006
What is God's will for our lives? Is it something written before our birth that if we deviate from we will live a life of misery? It it set in stone, or is it a flexible, fluid concept that we strive to stay inside. I hear a lot of talk about God's will, and good Christians can even disagree about what God's will is in a particular situation. The better question is how do we go about discerning the will of God?
There are many ways to seek God's will. We could do the Elijah, and throw ourselves in the desert and beg for death. That works if you have a desert handy, and some birds, but not all of us have those readily available.
For me, the best is to search the scriptures and see if it is mentioned there. If the Bible teaches that something is permissible or forbidden, then the story ends there. If the question is not directly answered, the process becomes more problematic. Prayer is always the best option, even when searching the scriptures. Prayer allows the Holy Spirit to more easily guide our thoughts. It also opens our heart to other-centeredness, which is almost always a good thing. It quiets our soul, which allows us to hear His voice more readily. And God does speak through prayer.
The real sticking point is when scripture leaves the issue alone, and prayer doesn't produce a discernible answer. Such as in a new job offer. Assuming the job is not in an immoral business, how do we know whether to accept the new offer and leave our current job? That is an agonizingly tough call for many people. I guess this is where we look at a cost/benefit analysis of the new job, or whatever the situation is. Will the negatives outweigh the positives? What will it cost my family? Lost time with me? Additional communting costs? Stress?
Here is where good counsel from mature Christians can play a role. They can help you walk through the process without judgment and join you in prayer. If the person has your best interests and God's instruction at heart, their role can be a great asset. Just be cautious in whom you seek counsel. Job received some bad advice from good people. And that still happens today.
If you have additional thoughts on finding God's will, I'd love to hear them.