When it comes to figuring out God’s will, we often make it incredibly difficult to figure out. We talk about it in mystical ways, heightening the sense that only a few find it.
We also look at people in the Bible, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Paul and see people that God used in incredible ways, but also people that God spoke to audibly and laid out his will. We see Noah being given the measurements of the ark. Abraham and Moses are told where to go.
For us, we have something they didn’t have. God’s will written out in the form of God’s word. We have been given God’s inspired, authoritative word. Over 31,000 words that God has given to us and preserved to show us what life is to be like.
This means a few things. I don’t think we will find a clearly laid out plan for every aspect of our life. God will not give us all the details. What he does do is give us a framework in which to live by and make decisions by.
Most people when they make decisions set out the pros and cons of a choice and then choose the way that has the most pros or the least annoying or uncomfortable cons. What if we thought about it differently? What if we looked at the framework God has given us in Scripture and ask, “Will this choice get me to where God wants me or will it hinder me?” Sometimes, the choice with the most cons will get us there.
Here are a few clues to the framework:
- Marriage: God has told us in Ephesians 5 and Genesis 1 – 2 that there are specific roles for marriage. Men are to lovingly lead their wives and families. They are to pastor them. They are to lay their lives down as Jesus did. They are to exhibit servant leadership. They have been given responsibility and accountability by God for their families. Wives are to respond to their husbands leadership and submit to them. They are to be their partners in life, their helpers, giving pushback when needed. This doesn’t mean a wife is a robot or a doormat. The Holy Spirit is called “the helper” so I don’t think this is a negative thing as we speak of it.
- Money: We are told in Malachi 2 and 2 Corinthians 8 – 9 that we are to steward the money and possessions God entrusts to us well. We are to honor God by giving back to him a portion of what he has entrusted to us. That portion is to be sacrificial, generous, worshipful and proportional. This means, we need to set this aside first and then live within the means of what is left.
- Work: We are to work and rest. We are to live in rhythm. If we are married, 1 Timothy 5 says that a man is responsible to provide for his family, that if he doesn’t he is worse than an unbeliever. This means we need to live within the means of what we make. Titus 2 says that younger moms with small kids are not to find their identity in their jobs and careers but in the role God has given them as a wife and a mom. It doesn’t say it is wrong for a woman to work, but it does say her identity is not to be found in that. A simple question, “Are you more known as a woman for what you do for a living or for being a wife and a mom?” The answer to that shows your identity.
- Mission: We are told in Matthew 28, Acts 1 and scores of other places that we are to live on mission. That the gospel should change us in such a way that we live our lives with the purpose of moving the gospel forward in the world in which we live. That we should live lives that are different. If you live out the passages mentioned above, do you think your life will look different from those around you?
I could go on and on. My point is that God has laid out what it means to be a follower of his, what it means to live in the freedom of the gospel, what a man, woman, dad, mom, husband, wife, child, boss, employee. What it means to date, to work, to pray, to eat, to sleep.
Our problem is that we don’t like looking for God’s will or else we don’t like what we find. It is laid out for us in Scripture and James 3:15 &17 says, “Do what God says” but if “we know and don’t do it, that is a sin.”
For more on figuring out God’s will, making decisions and setting goals, check out the sermon I preached recently on James 4:13 – 17.