Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Determining God's particular will

It's easy to know God's general will, it's revealed in the bible. Glorify God, make Christ known, disciples the nations etc etc. But how do you determine his particular will for your life? Missionary, church-planter, tent-maker, secular work, bible teaching, pioneering, youth, children, elderly... All of them are good, Godly things. How therefore do you make the decision(or, submit to God's decision)?

There seem to be different ways. A direct word from God (rare in my experience), or based on your spiritual gifts, your passions. Or perhaps you will go based on the need, or perhaps you choose based on the opportunity that came up at the right time. Which will it be for you?


reuben// said...

I've been thinking and reading about this a bit Geoff...enjoyed Bruce Walke's 'Finding the will of God: a pagan notion?'

He argues that pagans are left searching for God's will by whatever means they can muster (examining entrails or astrology or whatever). Pagans seek God's will, christians seek to DO god's will. So 1 thess 4:3 and so on.
I thought that was an insightful way to talk about the access we have as Christians to the general will of God.

It seems God chooses to reserve announcing his specific will to individuals ahead of time usually. So we are left with multiple ways forward...but i wouldn't equate anything in your list bar verbal revelation as conveying the specific will of God. They are just ways to help us make up our minds. You'll find out in time if God has other plans for your life!!

I think decision making 'tool' that is less emphasised in our circles is choosing to do what you want to do. We generally fear emotional decision making but it seems there is little reason to fear the desires of the heart if it is being transformed by the Spirit. I expect that as God shapes me and my desires, i'll be wanting to do what will please him.

What do you reckon? are you suspicious of emotional decision making?

reuben// said...

[getting follow ups]

DanielS said...

My main thinking on this comes from James 1:5-8 which talks about asking God for wisdom when wisdom is lacking.

I suppose it comes from my vague understanding of (say) Proverbs, where wisdom is about making the best decision based on the circumstances. Quite often when thinking about knowing God's will it's when we think that there are a number of good/right/godly options (e.g. your list) and can't choose the way forward, and I reckon making these decisions calls for Godly wisdom.

geoffc said...

Reuben. Suspicious? Yes and No. I don't want to do anything I am not excited about. If I get excited about something I'll want to know what it is that's making me excited. But you have to be excited and passionate about what you are going to do. I don't believe in 'duty' as the sole reason.

Thanks Daniel. If you pray for wisdom, and God gives generously without finding fault (James), how do you know when you have it?

Jason Au said...

God does specifically guide people all the time - in a moral sense though. That is, the thing you should do at any one time is what is good and pleasing in his sight. But like I used to often say, the key is, there is no key. We can sit down and analyse all our options, but when you think about it too much you get "analysis paralysis". You think about what you do so much that you in fact do nothing.

Knowing what is a right thing to do is easy. Knowing the best thing to do is not so all the time.

So how do I figure stuff out? I trust God, and do his will. That is, I realise that I can't know everything, choose something that seems good and right, and trust that God is in control, knowing that every situation is God's purpose and will. Whatever happens is God's will because it happens. If it was not, then something else would have happened. That's my practical outworking of the sovereignty of God.