About God's Will

December 30, 2008

God's Will is Not a Treasure Map

Some people view God's will as a secret hidden treasure that's only found through discerning hidden clues that God gives along the way through life. This approach makes one believe it's a god of confusion, who has a great plan for you-but you have to guess it. With this often comes the belief that if you guess wrong, you are trashed. This view runs against or counter to a theology of God, as a loving parent who gives us good things.

When my children were growing up I told them exactly what I expected of them. I didn't play guessing games that had severe consequences. They knew my plan and desires for them. When they didn't understand that plan, I made it more clear to them, thus taking away all doubt and confusion. And I think God treats us the same way. Fear can be eliminated when I change my thinking about the treasure map effect and start trusting in a loving God whose perfect love casts out fear. Like the fear Lot had which brought on his own suffering.

God' Will is Not an Archery Target

I was raised with this oppressive view, and I have to admit that sometimes it still comes back to bite me. For many years I heard that when we were really "on target," we could find ourselves "in the center of God's will." I saw God's desires and plans as an archery target that had these circles or rings around the very best plan for me, followed by the okay plans, followed by the not-so-good plans, etc. This meant that every decision I made needed to be a calculated shot - hoping to hit the bulls-eye.

I longed to be in the center of God's will, without even being sure what that meant. But that was not a useful analogy for me. God is not drawing us to a bull's-eye lifestyle; God's desires for us are about intimacy. God wants us to be close, and God wants us to be fulfilled.

God makes things new every morning. There's no dot on the landscape that tells me I've arrived at the center of the divine will. I can see why the bull's-eye perspective is comforting for some-there's security when we think our actions can be defined for us. We don't have to deviate once we know the plan. As a matter of fact, if we're in the center of God's will, we do not even have to move-which makes us immobile.

As children of God, we are heirs to the Kingdom. God's will is a vast, luscious field in which we can run and play. If you will cast you mind and picture Jesus inviting you into a field as green as you can possibly imagine. Scattered over the field are wildflowers of many colours. The blue sky meets the horizon as far as you can see in every direction, and there seems to be no end to the field. Jesus tells you that all this is yours. He reminds you that you are free because God made you free. He tells you that there is a fence, but it is way out there beyond where you might expect. I hope you would not then turn to Jesus and ask Him where the center of the field is so that you could set up camp there. We can run free through the field knowing that God is in control and will direct us. God's will and desires for us are meant to be freeing, not binding.

Discerning God's Desires

My brothers and sisters, If you find yourself looking for that field, and you are trying to figure out where the fences are, might I suggest you consider three things:

First, I think God's plans for us will be consistent with God's Word. We have been given directions; we just have to follow them. Let me draw your attention to this scripture:

I Thessalonians 5:21: Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. The words we heard let us hold on to that which is good.

Second, God's desires for us are to go well together with our passions. The psalmist says that when we delight in the Lord, God gives us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). This not only means that God will give you the things that your heart desires, but it also means God will give your heart the desires that it should have. Talk about a win-win situation, just follow the Master's plan and we can't lose.

Finally, God's will, is most often confirmed by God's people. The writers of Proverbs remind us that there is wisdom in many counsellors. Throughout the New Testament we are told of the work of the Holy Spirit through the church and the authority that comes with that. So when we feel God prompting us to move up to the next level, it's a good idea to confirm it with those around us who also know and love God.   I leave you with another little bit of scripture:

John 7:17says: If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine,  whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

Let us learn to let go and trust in Him - Let go and Let God - I pray that you have been truly blessed. AMEN