Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Will of God

I know what we do. As humans, that is. We ask for advice from the people most likely to tell us what we want to hear. I don't know that it's even completely intentional. We're like the moth who spent a large part of yesterday's evening flapping senselessly against the side of my lamp because it couldn't withstand the temptation of the light bulb. Simply, we're drawn to the advice that makes us feel comfortable--even when that comfort is a lie.

I see it in ministry.

I see it in the people I know.

I see it in myself.

It is something that must be fought against if we are truly to act in accordance with the will of God.

I can't think of more than three ways to discern the will of God. The first is through His Word. His Word is His truth. However, in some cases, it must be carefully studied--in cultural context, in original languages, etc--to properly understand it all.

The second is through prayer. But be careful here. It's easy to accept our own leanings as the will of God. I once heard a speaker talk about discerning the will of God through prayer. She said if the answer you feel you receive isn't from you--meaning it's not the choice you would have made on your own, and it's not from the enemy--meaning it doesn't go against the Word, chances are it's from God. It's not a perfect way to figure out God's will but it usually works. For example, if I want to punch someone in the face and I pray about it and I'm restrained from physically assaulting that individual, it's from God. It goes against what I want. Satan would like nothing more than for me to start punching people. The only one in this scenario who doesn't want me to go around punching people is God. Obviously that's a completely ridiculous example but it works on deeper questions too.

The last one is through godly counsel. And here is where we have to be really careful. Godly counsel probably isn't a person who is equally as invested in the situation as you are. Godly counsel isn't the person who always tells you what you want to hear. Godly counsel comes from the people in your life who have proven themselves as seekers of the truth. Individuals who strive to know the character of God. People who can give you verses to back up their advice. And, when there are no specific verses for a certain situation, they are people who are drenching your question in prayer.

Today, in my supplemental reading, I came across this quote by Beth Moore:

"Personal difficulties cause us to lack discernment...We are wise to be careful about the decisions and assumptions we make when we are stressed. We will tend to react rather than respond. When pain is acute, we often can't discriminate properly between good and bad decisions. I can't think of a situation when godly advice is more valuable than in times of great vulnerability."

The Word, prayer, and godly advice from the people who have either provided it in the past or have proven that they will offer it soundly, are the only ways I know to discover the will of God. Simple.

And also incredibly complex.

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