Sunday, October 21, 2007

God's will for me

In the course of a series of posts about the decision to change the direction of his ministry, Mark D. Roberts discusses the question of discerning God's will for our lives. A few of his generally applicable comments [I have added emphasis]:
... I tend to believe that God does have a specific will for us, but that He is graciously willing to work with our choices, even when we make the wrong ones. I do not believe that God has one perfect will for our lives, which, if ever we miss it, necessarily dooms us to a second-class life. God's wisdom and grace make room for lots of failure on our part, thank God!

Much of what God wills for us is exceedingly clear and requires relatively little discernment, except in the question of application. There is no doubt, for example, that I should love my neighbor. The only questions concern how and where and when and whom. After all, I can't love all of my neighbors since there are, in the words of the classic bumper sticker, "Too many neighbors, too little time." If you go through Scripture and compile the clear commands of the Lord for us, you've got plenty of God's will for your life. Unfortunately, discussions of God's will often forget this part, choosing to focus only on the specific questions like, "Which neighbor does God want me to love?"

I do believe that God has a more specific will for us, much as He did for Abram, David, Isaiah, and Paul, to name just a few. In Genesis 12, God didn't say to Abram, "Get up and go wherever you like." Rather, He said, "Go to the (specific) land that I will show you." It's clear that God had a particular place in mind for Abram. Similarly, there are times in our lives when God answers the "Where are the neighbors I should love?" question in quite detailed and particular ways. ....

Often God's will is enigmatic. This has everything to do with the fact that God is enigmatic. ....

... I would remind those who embrace Scripture as the inspired Word of God that it speaks of the fact that God exceeds our understanding. "My thoughts are not your thoughts," said the Lord through Isaiah (55:8). "Now we see through a mirror in a riddle," added Paul (1 Cor 13:12), who wrapped up the theological discussion in Romans with this exclamation: "O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" (12:33). God has given us all we need in Jesus Christ and in Scripture. But this does not mean that God, including God's will, is always clear. Sometimes it is, by God's design, enigmatic. [more]
Why Move?

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