Prov 29.18 Where there is no vision, the people perish
A few days ago, a friend spoke to me about how his church prayed for God’s direction in what they should do next. He struggled a bit with this because he lacked clarity about God’s Will in his own life!
The national movement of seeking God’s will for your life started decades ago, and has not lost any steam. Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, topped the Wall Street Journal best seller charts among others. Pastors preach all over our nation on this subject which seems to have few, if any, concrete answers. Everywhere, Christians seek out God’s will for their life.
Why should something so basic and fundamental to our Christian walk be so hard to obtain. Why does God stay silent when His people seek His face for direction?
Actually, Jesus himself has spoken on this.
As I discussed in some of my earliest New Direction blog entries, Jesus gave is two major commandments; to love the Lord and to love one another. That seems to paint with a rather broad stroke, but Jesus gives us plenty of examples of these commands in motion. After all, He lived them out every day, and the gospels detail those activities. Loving God entails simple activities such as Bible study, preaching, fleeing/rebuking sin/temptation, teaching, prayer, giving thanks and putting His will before our own desires. Jesus demonstrated how we love each other in showing forgiveness, service the disciples (washing their feet), sharing God’s truth with them, and meeting their needs (both physical and spiritual).
For the vast majority of people I know, these tasks, along with going to work (needed to support ourselves and others under our care) and raising their family certainly provides enough to keep them busy the vast majority of the time. Why these people torture themselves seeking even more to do escapes me. The Bible does not command us to cram more responsibilities and tasks than we can handle responsibly. Many people I know neglect proper diet, exercise, budgeting, and other basics of life because they fill up nearly every waking hour with responsibilities. Remember, Jesus pointed out the wisdom of taking care of ourselves before helping others.
When you study the Bible as a whole (Refer to my entry on the Bible as a narrative), you do not see God pushing His people in that direction. Many times, God commands the people to live their lives within the society they live in (even when they were taken captive by the Babylonians). They take jobs, have children, and live together with their neighbors and friends. At the same time, God’s people never forget they live as strangers in terms of spiritual matters. They live in the world, but are not of it, so to speak.
With this said, situations do arise where one might seek God’s will further. For example, one faces a tough decision. Or, perhaps, they do not have a full plate of responsibility (i.e. empty nest) and wish to know what God would have them do next. Certainly, prayer plays a role. Asking God to open doors, or make a way clear certainly shows wisdom. I have done this myself. More times than not, I saw certain doors open or closed. Because I know that God’s sovereignty covers all things, I rest assured that such movements reflect His Will.
Other times, after prayer, if I see no clear answer, I may simply choose the direction I feel looks best, or that I have the most interest in. Other times, I will follow the advice in proverbs 15.22 and seek the council of wise brothers and sisters in the faith. As long as I keep God first in my heart, and seek Him in prayer as appropriate, I rest assure that no matter which direction I take, He keeps me safe in His hands.
What do you think? I feel like this is one of those areas open to different viewpoints, thought and discussion. Please feel free to share in the comments below.