As a “Jesus” guy and a pastor, I love when people seek to honor God. I love when people pray about God’s will in a matter and embrace it. I love when people do not find the answer to their questions regarding His will easily…when they have to “wrestle” with it. (It builds character and confidence in our faith in God).
Sometimes though, because of our sin nature, we wrestle with “settled” matters. People will say to me, “I am praying about whether God wants me to share Jesus with my neighbor, go on a mission trip, or start tithing, etc. Friend…these are clearly declared in Scripture. There is no ambiguity to them. God speaks clearly from the pages of Scripture and the answer is as plain as it sounds. “[YOU] Go, and make disciples of all nations…, Matthew 28:18-20 (which necessarily includes your neighbor unless he is an alien from a galaxy far, far away).
Sometimes, these prayers for God’s will reveal themselves to be more self-serving than we make them seem. “I am praying pastor about getting a divorce.” [Insert contemplative “Hmmm” here]. “I am praying about having sex with my boyfriend.” “I am praying about whether I should forgive someone who hurt me.”
In these cases, I am not certain that what we are waiting on is God’s “revelation” to us as much as we are seeking to get God to affirm our ungodly heart’s desires. I WANT a divorce SO I am trying to find something that tells me it is ok or at least not a damning choice. I don’t want to forgive, so I am reading all of the imprecatory Psalms to find justification for not forgiving.
A couple of things I have learned in wrestling with God:
- We do not change God’s mind. God did not reveal His perfect will for us to “improve it” with our imperfect suggestions.
- We can always find one person to agree with us. Honestly, just because you found another “sin nature person” who once had your bad idea and wrote about how he thought it was ok…won’t help you before the throne of God when you plead your case.
- God’s will is not always easy. It WARS against our self-deterministic will. We want to please us…and God created us for His pleasure. These two truths are often in CONFLICT.
- God’s will is better than ours. We see a situation with limited clarity. God sees perfectly. We are pursuing a limited objective. God is working the affairs of an eternal Kingdom. And He is GOOD.
- When we trust God’s will, He fights for us. An old leadership principle is that if you want to get folks to give their heart toward a goal, make sure it is their goal. (Now I am not suggesting a form of manipulation aimed at God; however, I am saying that if we are on His agenda, He brings the arsenal of heaven to bear on bringing His will to pass).
Where, pastor, do I find God’s will? Simply stated…it is a journey of discovery but it should ALWAYS begin in His Word and be bathed in much prayer and earnest seeking. God’s will is never contrary to God’s Word.