Friday, July 30, 2010

The will of God is not a mystery

I just read an excellent article by Frank Viola entitled “Rethinking the Will of God.” For many years, I agonized over trying to figure out what God’s will was before making a decision and then, when the decision was made, I worried that I might have made the wrong decision. I finally received peace when I came to understand that God is able to lead me even when I can’t follow. He knows what I’ll decide in every situation before I make my decision and he’s already taken all of that into consideration. So, I can just make a decision knowing that if I’m heading in the wrong direction, he will correct me. Since then, making decisions have become easier and definitely less stressful.

For most of the decisions we make on a regular basis, there really is no right or wrong. Most of our decisions can best be described as wise or unwise. It’s up to us to simply decide what’s the best decision for our particular situation after weighing all of the possibilities. Decisions like where to live, what job to take or even who to marry are up to us to decide. God speaks to us through our hearts and he puts desires in our hearts so now I can be confident that as I follow those desires, I’ll be okay. If I do happen to make an unwise choice, God doesn’t abandon me. Instead, like any loving parent, he’s there to help me work through the consequences of my poor choice.

In the “The Purpose Driven Life” podcast with Darin Hufford and Robert Ramos, Darin says that when he’s asked how he knew he was called into ministry, he answers that he just wanted to do it. I believe that’s the way we’re supposed to make the decisions of our lives. What is it we want to do? That’s basically what I’ve done when faced with a decision. I started blogging because I wanted to. I moderate the Free Believers Network forum because I want to. I started doing volunteer work at a hospital because I wanted to. There are other things that I want to do and I’ve begun making plans to put them into action at a future date. I’ve never prayed about any of it. I just weighed the possibilities, looked into my heart and then decided.

Darin also said that when he didn’t want to do something anymore, he stopped doing it. He said that he had at one time started a ministry to men because he wanted to and, when he didn’t want to do it any longer, he stopped. That’s pretty much the way I’ve been doing things. I believe our lives go in seasons and we need to look at everything we do as a season in our life that is subject to change. At one time, I was very heavily involved in the church that meets in a building and I served in several different capacities but, a number of years ago, the season changed. Since I recognized when the season changed, I made the decision to move into the new season. Now, what I do is primarily online.

In the past, I found it difficult to recognize the changing seasons and I tended to stay in the old season longer than I should have. Timing is very important and it’s easier now for me to pick up on the signs that the season may be changing. I recently began to sense that a season of my life may be on the verge of changing but now doesn’t seem to be the right time to make the change so I’ll just wait and see what happens.

I really have come to believe that knowing God’s will isn’t difficult as we’ve all been taught. How much sense does it make for God to hide his will and then get angry with us when we can’t figure it out? That really is ridiculous in my opinion. He’s not an unreasonable tyrant who wants to keep us off balance. He wants us to know his will so he’s made it simple for us to figure out.

I believe there are basically two questions that we need to consider before making decisions. The first question is what do we want to do? God is not an abusive Father. He doesn’t get pleasure in making us do what we don’t want to do. If he wants us to do something, then he’ll give us a desire to do it or our desires will change and we’ll start hating what we’re currently doing and that’s our cue to know that it may be time to make a change.

We also need to ask ourselves if the decision we’re about to make expresses love. If it’s hurtful to others or unloving, then we need to seriously think if it’s something that we should be doing. After all, the flesh is also involved and it wants to do things that we shouldn’t do. The flesh sound so much like us that it’s hard to tell the difference. However, the flesh isn’t us, it’s a foreign entity that’s in us that uses our thoughts to deceive us. That’s why we need to consider love before making a decision. For example, I like to sleep a little late on weekends but when my three year old grandson is staying with us and decides to get up at 7:00 in the morning. The flesh says stay in bed but love says get up and make sure he’s okay.

God is calling us to be mature and mature people make decisions. They don’t need anyone to always be telling them what to do. When my three year old grandson stays with us, I have to tell him when to eat and when to brush his teeth or else those important things wouldn’t always get done. However, I allow his father to make those decisions for himself. When he was a young child and still at home, my husband and I made decisions for him but now he’s a man with a family of his own and he has to make his own decisions. Sure, there are times that we cringe at the decisions that he makes but it’s still his responsibility to make the decision. We can make suggestions and help in the processing but it’s still his responsibility to make the decision and we would be considered controlling parents if we tried to make those decisions for him. However, if he ends up making an unwise decision, we’ll still love him and help him work through the process of correction.

God is a wise loving Father. He’s given us all we need to make wise decisions. He’s given us a new heart which is filled with his life and wisdom and he’s also given us the freedom to explore new avenues of life but he’s promised to never leave us or forsake us so he’ll always be there no matter what we decide. Religion has kept us in an infantile stage where we’re afraid to make decisions but the day will come when God will no longer make our decisions for us. So, it’s time for the church to grow up, start trusting our new hearts and start deciding for ourselves.

To read Frank Viola’s article, follow this link and to hear Darin Hufford’s podcast, follow this link.

11 comments:

Erkki said...

Excellent post! I think you said it perfectly.

I can't tel you how many things I gave up back in my "religious" days out of fear that I was going against the will of God. We actually made life altering and life changing decisions because of this fear. I remember having serious arguments with my wife, losing sleep, massive anxiety and worry, all because we were worried that we might miss the Lord's will.

If only I had known then what I know now.
;-)

Great post- thanks!

Erika said...

Hi Aida, it's been a while!

Great post! I read Viola's article a few years ago myself, loved it.

We know a sweet young woman who recently posted the following: "You can accept or reject the call of God in your life, but you will have to live eternally with the consequences of your disobedience."

I'm thinking about sending her your post along with a copy of Viola's little book (I have a few copies). I hope it's in God's will! ;)

Blessings,

Erika

Aida said...

Errki, I can relate to your experiences. There are a lot of decisions that I'd love to make again if I could because they were so fear based but, of course, I can't. I'm just thankful for what I've learned and that now I can make better decisions.

Aida said...

Erika, it's great to hear from you again. It has been a while. I'm glad you enjoyed my post. Hopefully, your friend will be open to hearing something other than what tradition has taught her.

Rich said...

Aida,

Simply lovely you are and what you've shared here. What a sheer delight reading and seeing the "will" of the Father in action, being unpacked and fleshed out in and through your everyday living!

I too am loving this unfolding discovery of the Father breathed script he has written into my being, totally unrehearsed, unscripted love launching me ever forward to discover the much more he has purposely hidden for me and not from me.

Joel Brueseke said...

The flesh really does like to complicate things, doesn't it. LOL. I mean, the agonizing and struggling over decisions, that many in the church would call "seeking the will of God," is so unnecessary. I've found that out the hard way over the years, but it's been a neat process as I've discovered the will of God in my heart's desires.

One thing that I heard someone say a few years ago really stuck out to me. I can't remember who said it, but he was talking about how a person might go through a season of being a "pastor," but that doesn't mean that he's meant to be a pastor for his entire life.

That helped clear things up for me in so many ways. Not that I consider myself a pastor (at least not in the traditional sense), but in various other ways I've seen my desires strong in a certain area for a length of time, and then I've been confused as to why I eventually didn't have those desires anymore. I found that it's simply because it's time to move on to something else, and that's absolutely ok!

Rich said...

Joel,

I so enjoyed what you shared here (Aida I hope you don't mind me sharing this here), its all about identity isn't it!?

The calling upon our lives is imo to Be 100% His, it all flows out of the unfolding revelation of whose and who we are. This from before the foundations of the earth "calling" is something so much greater and magnificent than any role or assignment that flows from our lives.

So many talk about being called or caught up to glory, well from my perspective the Glorious One has invaded our lives and calls us to live move and have our being within the Christ in us our hope of glory..and as we continue to turn to the Lord, suddenly before our very eyes the veil is lifted, and further transformation unfolds is unleashed flooding your and my world with an ever greater display of the father's heart for all of the orphans.

Aida said...

Rich, I agree. Living in God’s will shouldn’t be weird and mysterious. I love how you described how “he has purposely hidden it for us and not from us.” That is so true and so freeing.

Thanks for commenting.

Aida said...

Joel, you're right. Things would be much simpler if we didn’t have the flesh to contend with. In addition to that, religion has complicated things even more. I’m just thankful that I now know that it’s not as hard as I was making it out to be.

When the season is over and our desires change, we’ve been made to feel guilty because we’ve given up our ministry too easily. Religion has a tendency to keep us in a rut but I love knowing that it’s okay to just move on with the changing season. Others may not understand but many people are stuck in a rut because they didn’t move on when the season changed.


Rich, of course, it’s okay. I’m glad Joel’s comment resonated with you.

I love what you have to say. Knowing who we are in Christ is key to everything we do as believers. Knowing that God lives in us and wants to display his life through us as we allow him to is wonderful. I don’t believe he violates our free will but he invites us into a relationship through which he can display his love to a world that desperately needs to see it.

Ed said...

I so agree. Following God is about becoming like him which means making the kinds of decisions he would make without a heavenly dictator guiding every little step. God is proud when, out of our own will and the wisdom He has given us, we make a great decision.

Aida said...

Great comment, Ed.

God has given us all we need to make wise decisions and, as you pointed out, he's a proud poppa who's thrilled when his children grow up and start making their own decisions.