Sunday, July 23, 2006

The will of God

Recent events have shown me that "discerning the will of God" is a difficult thing.

Of course, it is not hard to figure out the "revealed will of God." That is to say, His written Word is clear as to what is right and wrong. Well, mostly clear, or there would not be interpretations as to when "laws" are effective or even necessary. But I digress.

When we think of obeying God, the first thing that comes to mind is the Ten Commandments. In a later post I may speak to the "decalogue." Now, though, let's consider these basic commandments as a given base. We KNOW that stealing, killing, and dishonesty are wrong. And so are disloyalty to God and family. These are givens. The laws of our land are based on these.

As a Christian, the will of God for my behavior is perhaps best seen in the sermon on the mount, which I am studying right now. And then, there is one particular congregation that the apostle Paul told DIRECTLY "this is the will of God":

1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

One is behavior: stay sexually pure. The other is attitude: be thankful.

More basically, Paul describes discerning the will of God as a frame of mind:

Romans 12:
1 ¶ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

And so, in order to KNOW the will of God, you have to sacrifice your OWN WILL! In the course of life circumstances determine much of the direction our lives might go. When we see things going in a way we would rather they not, we must sacrifice what we want as we:

  1. Pray to God.
  2. Seek Godly counsel.
  3. Discern the "times."

Often, these opportunities do not come in this order, but this is the order of the importance of our choices in determining the will of God outside of the Written Word.

Today, some among our local assembly of believers "disagreed" with the discerned will of God. At least one person saying the one involved in the discerning "must have misunderstood" God's leading! The discussion took longer than some expected, but we had to follow "the Presbyterian way." The matter had to be confirmed by a vote.

When the congregational vote came, though, I took the easy way out. I chose not to vote.

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