Sunday, August 14, 2011

Waiting for a vision to know God's will? Read the Sciptures instead.

For the last 4 or 5 months I have had the opportunity to talk to so many people about discernment.  It seems that everyone that I run into is struggling with finding out what God wants them to do.  I always hear the red flag warning phrases like:  "God told me" or "I had a dream" or "I feel that God is leading me" or "I want to do this but I don't know if it is God's will" and on and on.

These feeling based assumptions cause more problems in people's lives than anything.  Instead of reading the Scriptures to understand how the will of God works, people wait for an angel to come down and direct them or for a dream or vision or open door.  When people say that, "God told me" or they are waiting for an answer, they are really basing their decisions on their own feelings.  They are trusting in their own deceitfully wicked heart to feel what is the right thing to do. 

God gives us freedom in making decisions.  If your motivations are pure and the decision is not sinful in any way, we really have a lot of freedom to make choices.  Should you move to another state?  Well, ask yourself why you want to move.  Is the reason sinful?  Will it help you grow spiritually?  Use biblical discernment to make your decision and then, if everything checks out, get off your butt and do something.  Otherwise you just sit around in a dumb stupor doing nothing but wasting your life.  Like the man that really wanted to go to China to proclaim the gospel.  He struggled because he just didn't know if it was the will of God.  He prayed about it for 30 years and then died.  If he would have understood biblical discernment then he would have jumped on a plane 30 years ago. 

There are some things we don't have to pray about because God has already revealed His will in the Scriptures.  Should I share the gospel with my neighbor?  Yes.  Should I help the widow across the street?  Yes.  Should I take revenge on my enemy?  No  Should I sue my ex-coworker who is a Christian?  No.  God has already revealed His will in the Bible and if we read it then we will discover it and be able to make decisions much easier and with more confidence.  For all of your decisions that are not black and white in the Bible, use biblical discernment.  Look at your motives, look at the benefits to glorifying Christ and your own sanctification, and look at any potential for sin and then make your decision.

There is so much more I could say about God's providential will and His revealed will and more on biblical discernment but instead of me writing 200 pages why don't you just read these great books.

Two great books on biblical discernment that I highly recommend if you are confused about what you are supposed to be doing are:

1)  Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will, or, How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky by Kevin DeYoung

2) The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies

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