My husband and I are in the process of making a very huge and crucial decision. It is one that will drastically affect our lives and our future. We truly desire to know what God would have us do and don’t want to make the wrong decision. We need to know the will of God in this situation.
There is much confusion today within evangelical Christianity as to how we might know God’s will. I think most Christians want to be “in God’s will,” but because they are confused about what this means or how to get/be/stay in God’s will they don’t really understand the implications of their decisions made thinking they are operating within that will. Many are also internally conflicted when it comes to making decisions.
The confusion stems from the fact that many churches do not teach theology within their preaching and teaching and so people are left to their own devices to answer this important question. And to make matters worse, how to know God’s will is frequently taught in an erroneous way thus making for even more confusion!
If you are seeking to know the will of God in a situation the first bit of counsel I have to offer you is to get into the WORD! God’s Word is the only source of absolute inerrant truth. Read the Word, devour the Word, meditate on the Word, and follow its precepts.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4(NASB)
According to this passage, we need to check our motives for why we want to do something or have something. If you find yourself thinking along these lines, “what’s in it for me or what am I gaining,” then you have a motive issue.
Conceit means “empty glory” meaning the pursuit of personal glory, the driving force behind selfishness. I am not saying that having personal interests is always wrong, or that it is wrong to make a decision that does personally benefit you. But when the primary controlling motives are self-centered- that is a heart issue, you are seeing personal glory. If that’s your motive your decision is not going to be a good one because it does not glorify God.
When I was a younger Christian I heard a story about how one person made an important decision about what to do with his life. He said he would close his eyes and open his Bible and put his finger on the unseen page. He determined to do whatever the verse said to do, trusting that God was going to show him that way. He was shocked when he opened his eyes and his finger rested upon Matthew 27:5:
…Then he went away and hanged himself.
Seriously, that’s goofy thinking about guidance. But I know people who have tried such a method of determining God’s will for their lives and thankfully they realized it before they followed through with the hanging!
Along the same lines, is when we are doing our daily Bible reading or devotions and in the background of our minds we have some decision to make. We come upon a verse that “speaks to me” and interpret that to mean God is speaking to us.
I’ve seen people do this in regards to making job decisions or moving decisions just because they want A over B and then they use the misinterpretation of the passage as a type of “God told me this morning in my Bible reading what to do.”
What is usually the case is the person is ripping the passage from context and giving it a personal application that is driven by desire and is not faithful to the passage’s single meaning. We are not free to derive application by ignoring context and the bigger picture as to what the passage means.
Both the selfish and superficial methods of decision making fall short of the glory of God. I am going to continue to develop this important topic tomorrow.