The View From 1776
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Discovering God’s Will For Your Life - Part 2
Where to seek your personal guidance system.
Continuing the theme of last Sunday’s sermon at Black Rock-Long Ridge Congregational Church (North Stamford, Connecticut), Pastor Steve Treash focused this Sunday upon how and where we are to find our guidance system that will lead us to God’s Will for our lives.
God’s providential, sovereign Will, in which we are to place our trust, is expressed in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the relatively new and struggling church in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18):
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Regarding God’s proclaimed will, which we are to obey, Paul tells the Thessalonians:
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-12)
God’s Will for our personal lives must rest of His providential and His proclaimed will. Without putting those first in our lives, we will not find His guidance for our personal lives.
In seeking personal guidance, we must avoid false signals.
First, experiencing inner peace is not a primary proof that we are on the correct path; it is only a secondary indicator. Jesus’s torment in Gethsemane is a striking demonstration that following God’s Will is no guarantee of peace and tranquility.
Knowing that the hour of his crucifixion was nearing:
[Jesus] took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. (Matthew 26:37-39)
Second, what we may take as signs from God are not necessarily so. If we wish to do something and ask God for a sign of approval, we can be sure of finding something that can be interpreted in almost any way we may wish.
An example is furnished by Paul’s voyage to Rome, when his ship was wrecked on the coast of Malta by a fierce storm. After the crew and passengers reached shore, they began to build a fire to warm themselves:
Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. (Acts 28:3-6)
Third, don’t wait passively, expecting to receive direct and clear word from God.
Instead, actively form your mind to follow Biblical principles for good decision making.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is