Mark Dever has written an excellent little piece on pursuing the will of God in everyday life and decisions. Dever is concerned that too many Christians are bound by the chains of “finding God’s will.” This phrase is often used in regard to vocation or big life decisions. I sat in several classes and discussions during my undergrad days listening to classmates stress and labor on every little decision in the hopes of finding the will of God. I will say that the desire to please God and serve Him in every area of life is the type of attitude we should carry as Christians. However, as Dever points out, far too many Christians get completely stressed out and bound by thinking that they need some sort of sign for every decision they make.

First off, what does this sign look like? It can be so subjective that no one can question it even if it sounds absurd. I’m not trying to limit the Lord here because he sometimes uses subjective means to speak to us. But it is hard to trust subjective “signs.” Second, what does it mean to “find” the will of God? Was it hiding? Did I misplace it? Did it fall between the cracks in the couch? Finally, what do we truly mean when we are searching for the will of God? It seems to me that Scripture has clearly laid out the will and desire of God. He desires that all should come to know Him. The will of God entails repenting, believing, and living for Him in every area of our lives. Are we free to make decisions without playing craps to find the answer? Indeed. God has given us a mind and when we consecrate it to the Lord, He renews and reforms it. The “free” choices that we make are then based on the new heart and new mind that God has given to us through faith in Christ. They are also based on the words of Scripture. In short, we are free to choose as long as our choices do not contradict Scripture.

Bruce Waltke wrote a book called Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion? that firmly addresses this issue. Run out and pick it up. It is a must read. Make sure to read Dever’s article as well. And rest assured that choosing to eat that turkey sandwich instead of a Big Mac is ok.

4 Replies to “Seeking God’s Will

  1. I like the idea of operating under a big umbrella of grace and truth, rather than getting wrapped up in the idea that my choices are based on the linear will of God. It is a daunting and burdensome mindset to be in if: I make a move that deviates from that path I’m no longer in His will. There are many good options out there. Dave and I have been working through the question, what is the good and wise thing to do, in the midst of many alternatives. As we go through this, it seems like bigger and better things keep popping up.

  2. The real question is what does it mean to be “outside” of the will of God? Does it relate to vocational and general everyday choices? In Os Guiness’s book Rising to the Call, he says that Scripture does not use the word “calling” to refer to vocation or career. It is an interesting thought. What is our calling? Or what is the will of God? For us to know Him intimately. God desires all people to come to faith in Him through Jesus. So what does it matter what we do vocationally? Can God be honored in anything we do as long as it doesn’t contradict Scripture? Yes. Has God gifted us and fashioned us in a particular ways to be attracted or drawn to particular trades? I think so. But if God’s desire is for us to know Him, profess Him, and love him, then we can do that in any vocation. I believe that many people are so wrapped up in the search for “calling” and “God’s will” in vocation that it becomes a focal point. I digress…I’m kind of rambling.

  3. So what does it look like to be outside the will of God? Are there tell tale signs? What are the pitfalls one may encounter if one is actively seeking God?

    this is what i do when i’m lying flat on my back, i like to harass people’s blogs & ask a lot of questions

  4. Jeff, just reading your comments really helped me. I have had to make many decisions within the past few months regarding my career, and each time brought more stress. Recently, I have been faced with yet another decision. However, what was different about this time is the fact that I decided, “its just a job!”. I finally let myself see that I didn’t have to stress out mentally in order to make a simple decision, as long as I had prayed about it and trusted the Lord. I realize after reading your comments that I not only made the right decision, but that I am in God’s will as well, because I still desire to honor Him no matter what I do.

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