I need help. You see, I have this decision to make. It’s a biggie. It affects so much of what direction I’ll go in my life from here on. So, if you will, God, show me what I need to do. Amen.
It’s me again. Remember? I need some direction in my life, and I need you to show me clearly what to do. I need some help. Like, if you could show me before tomorrow, that would be great. Some sort of sign. Anything. Please, God! Amen.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog titled “God Spoke to Me…”. It spoke to the issue of seeking God’s will for us in our lives, and how – often – we’ll pray and ask God to show us his will as we make decisions. Occasionally, we’ll hear someone announce that God has spoken and given direction regarding what to do. If you read the post, you probably came to the conclusion that I’m a bit skeptical of those who give an account of God speaking to them to provide answers to questions.
I still am.
But, don’t throw rocks at me, yet. I know full well that God can speak. It’s just that I think God speaks through general and specific ways – through his creation and through the Scriptures. But, hearing a voice with clarity and certainty? I doubt it. At least, it’s never happened to me. Maybe I’m jealous. Or, maybe not spiritual enough.
I’ve been reading the book I referenced in the earlier post and it has helped me clarify my thoughts. The book, written by Kevin DeYoung, is titled Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will. The alternate title, which I think hits the mark, is How to Make a Decision without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc.
Knowing God’s will for our lives, and for the life-altering decisions we make, is difficult. It can be paralyzing. We’re so worried that we’ll do the wrong thing that we do nothing. We work ourselves into a lather, wring our hands in semi-panic, and make no decision at all. That’s not good, and it certainly isn’t what God intends.
In the beginning of his book, DeYoung gives a clear explanation of God’s will. In doing so, we begin to understand the process of living within his purpose for us. DeYoung describes the will of God in three ways:
1. God’s will of decree. This is God’s sovereign plan for you, formed before the foundations of the world. DeYoung explains, “…what God wills, will happen, and what happens is according to Gods will.”
2. God’s will of desire. This is what God wants, or desires for us. DeYoung clarifies it when he says, “If the will of decree is how things are, the will of desire is how things ought to be.” Basically, God’s will of desire for us is how he wants us to live. In Scripture, God clearly tells us what his commands are – to love God, to love our neighbor, to be thankful, and so on, but, because we choose badly, or sin, we can live contrary to God’s will of desire. His will of desire tells us how to live.
3. God’s will of direction. This is what we look for most of the time when we ask God to show us his will. DeYoung says, “We want to know his individual, specific plan for the who, what, where, when, and how of our lives.” He goes on to say that this direction in our lives is “not one that He expects us to figure out before we make a decision.” This is where we put ourselves in a corner and get disappointed when answers don’t come.
DeYoung concludes with this concise statement: “Trusting in God’s will of decree is good. Following His will of desire is obedient. Waiting for God’s will of direction is a mess.”
Trust. Obey. The rest will work out just the way God intended.