Thursday, May 8, 2008

Decision Making and the will of God (part 2)

God’s will – it’s a huge topic. It can feel like a threatening topic. It can leave many folks paralyzed in indecision – What if I make a bad decision? What if I miss God’s will? Last week we started the conversation by remembering that God cares for us. He loves us. He is not out to get us or trick us. We can trust that the same grace that saved us covers us every day as we make decisions regarding God’s will. So basically, we can relax. Have a big decision ahead of you? Breathe easy, trusting that God is going to love you all the way through that decision.

Now that we’re relaxed, that still leaves us with the question, what’s the best decision? Do I take the job or not? Do I date this person or not? Do we put mom in the nursing facility or not? I may be resting in God’s grace trusting that he’s not out to get me, but I still may not be sure what choice is best. What next? Well, first, make sure that you’re taking care of the basics. That is, make sure you’re obeying those commandments that you know without a doubt are God’s will. The Bible makes some things very clear. We are to worship God together (Hebrews 10:25). We are to be kind to one another; we are to forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32). We’re to speak the truth (Ephesians 4:25). We are to honor our fathers and mothers (Exodus 19:12). We are to pray for one another (Colossians 4:2). We are to avoid sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3). We are to hate what is evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). These and the many other commands in the Bible teach us to be the type of person we know God wants us to be.

And that’s the second step to decision making and the will of God. After we’ve relaxed in God’s grace, trusting that he has his best in store for us, then we must commit to being the type of person God wants us to be (think fruits of the Spirit here – Galatians 5:22-25). Practically speaking, it’s only by being obedient to the obvious commands of the Scriptures that we put ourselves in a position to hear and obey the subtle commands of the Spirit. Contrary to the way we normally approach things, it’s these smaller, everyday decisions about what type of person we are going to be that most shape who we are as a person. For it’s the every day decisions to obey God’s obvious commands that most determine how much we look like Jesus. And the more we look like Jesus, the more prepared we’ll be to make the big decisions that every life must face.

Next week, we’ll look at how followers of Jesus make those big choices. Is there always only one right choice? Does God even have an opinion on some of these things? If he does, how do we know what that opinion is? I hope you’ll join me for the conversation.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” Galatians 5:22-25.

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