How Do We Know God's Will in Our Life?
- Thursday, June 21, 2012
Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do we know God's will in our life?
Sincerely, Nibin Kalasini
Dear Nibin Kalasini,
I often think of God's will when I see and hear my wife preparing to conduct our church's symphony orchestra. She lays out her written compositions on a large, over-sized music stand and turns on the CD of the upcoming night's performance. Her hands and arms conduct in rhythm with the music. Occasionally, I notice an unpleased frown and a hitch in her movements. She just made a mistake -- and the music keeps right on playing. She never stops the CD to do it over. After all, symphonies don't have time for "do-overs." She just jumps right back in and keeps going.
God's will is much like that. We go along with the flow. Of course, we will miss some beats; who wouldn't? But, we don't stop, or start over, or change to another song. We just jump back in and keep right on going.
We played "Marco? Polo!" when I was a child. The game works best in a swimming pool or lake where you can't move quickly without splashing. One child is blindfolded and tries to find the others by asking, "Marco?" The other children say, "Polo." The blindfolded child tries to find and touch one of the other children who are all free to move about until the blindfolded one again says, "Marco."
Mention the phrase “God’s will,” and too many Christians think of "Marco Polo." Not only are they searching for God's will, God's will is a moving target.
Sadly, some Christians play a variation of "Marco? Polo!" called "You're Getting Warmer..." Again, a child is blindfolded. An object in the room is selected. As the blindfolded child tries to find the object, the children give guidance: "You're cold" (far away). The child adjusts direction.
"You're cool" (moving slightly in the right direction). The child adjusts the search according to the new information.
"You're getting warmer" (relatively close).
"You're hot ... hotter … hotter" (the child reaches out and finds the object).
God is not watching us from heaven saying "You're getting warmer..." as we get closer and closer to stumbling on His will.
God is playing neither "Marco? Polo!" nor "You're Getting Warmer..." Tragically, however, many Christians are. Unfortunately, after many unsuccessful years of game playing many conclude they will never stumble across His will and give up trying.
On the other hand, many Christians discover God's will and enjoy many years of adventure and delight in an interactive relationship in which God makes His will the most obvious thing in life.
So, how do we find God's will without playing games?
According to the Word of God some prerequisites are in order. When these these are met, the need to play "Marco? Polo!" or "You're Getting Warmer" dissipates.
Proverbs 3:5-6 is a good place to begin:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
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