Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Missing God's Will

One of the common ideas in Christian circles is that if you do not make exactly the right decisions, it is possible to miss God's best will for your life. This can be an enormous guilt trip. People can go through their whole lives feeling they have missed God's will and are stuck in His second best. Often this is seen as entirely turning on minor sins or even mere errors of judgment. It is often put forth connected to some complicated formula that you have to work exactly right to get the right answer. There is absolutely no basis for this in Scripture. Jonah was told to go to Nineveh and, blatantly and deliberately, went the opposite direction. God sent a storm, and God sent a sea creature, and Jonah went to Nineveh. Paul seems to have followed a complicated path before God made it clear where he was supposed to go (Acts 16:6-10). Scripture says God is in control of our lives, working things together for our good, and does not claim this is based on our figuring out what we are supposed to do (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 43:13). Now I do believe that persisting in blatant sin can have an adverse affect on our life (Galatians 6:7,8; 1 Corinthians 11:29-32; Hebrews 12:4-11). And certainly, it is worthwhile to ask God for wisdom when facing the important decisions of life (James 1:5; 1 Peter 5:6,7; Philippians 4:6,7). But the idea that finding the will of God is like working your way through a complex maze does not stand up to Scriptural examination.

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