Sep 18, 2007

Discovering God's Will

I had a conversation with a man today and it reminded me again, how complicated and difficult we make God's will out to be. When in fact, it's pretty straight forward.

The guy was telling me that he would do God's will if God would just show him what His will was.

Here's what I told him.

First, start with where you are.
  • He is a married man. I can guarantee God wants him to be faithful, loving, forgiving, protecting, honoring, and cherishing his wife. God's plan and will for his life, whatever else it may include, has to include the fact that he's supposed to be the best darn possible husband for his wife. God's will could not, not include this.
  • He has children. Since he's a daddy, whatever else God's will and plan for this man may be, it has to include him being the best darn daddy he can be for his children. He is to love them, take care of them, encourage them, teach them to love God, and help them to grow up to be Godly men and women.
  • He has a job. Since he works, it means that God wants him to be a man who is doing everything he can to be the best worker for his company. God would be glorified by him doing his best to be a Godly worker.
  • Start with where you are.
Secondly, as you start living the Christian life, God flips the question. Most people ask, "What's in it for me?" Most people want to know what can the company do for me? Why should I shop at this store over that store? What can this store offer me? Why should I join this church over that one? What can this church do for me?

But God flips that question on its head when we start living for God. Instead of asking what's in it for me? Instead of asking what can these people do for me? Christ-followers begin asking, "How can I add value to this person? to this church? to this company?"

Christ-followers look at his/her day and thinks through all the different people that they will encounter, and is constantly thinking, "How can I add value to this person today?"

Because this person recognizes that if they woke up that morning, God woke them up. And Christ-followers recognize that we have been placed in our particular situations with those exact people for a reason. And so they go around asking, "Why would God put me in touch with these people today? And since God put us together, the Christ-followers ask, "How can I add value to this person?"

And when Christ-followers begin living life like that, we become indispensable to our family, our church, our community, and our work place. And most importantly, God gets the glory.

Finally, when people want to know God's will and plan for their lives, we want God to give us an atlas and a map of what our lives will be like. We want God to show us where the turns will be, where the storms will be, what the challenges will be. We want to know exactly how the journey of life will be.

But God's will doesn't work like that. God's will is revealed to us only one day, and one step at a time. God's will looks a whole lot more like, "Connect the Dots."

At first, it's just a jumble of dots. There's no pattern to it. It's just a bunch of dots all over the page. But once we start connecting the dots, a picture begins to emerge. But there's a catch. There always comes a point in the connecting the dots as you are smoothly moving along - 1, 2, 3, 4, - when all of a sudden you can't find the 5. There are a bunch of other numbers next to 4, but 5 is all the way down at the bottom of the page. You are going to be tempted to connect the dots that are closest, but if you do that, you won't ever see a picture. It will be a jumbled mess.

But if we connect the dots, one at a time, and we do them faithfully, in time a picture emerges. And the more dots we have connected, the clearer the picture becomes.

That's why when you look at the life of someone who's been walking with Christ a long time, God's will and purpose for their life looks pretty clear. But for someone who's just starting out on the faith journey, you won't know if it's duck, a boat, a car, or what their picture is until they start connecting the dots.

And one thing you can know for sure is this: God will show you the next step. God probably won't reveal to you your entire journey, but God will most definitely show you the steps you are to take.

So, go ahead. Connect the dots. One day, one step, and one faithful act of obedience at a time. And soon enough, you'll start to get the picture.


Anonymous said...

Why is this so easy to "hear" and understand, yet sooooo hard to live out every single day?!

plus, sometimes we find ourselves in a situation (marriage/job/friendship/etc) that is a direct result of making a really bad (non-Godly) decision(s). can we still say: GOD put us in that situation for a reason when it was our own self-deception or selfish motives that got us here??

James said...

You are definitely correct. This is much easier to hear and understand, and yet so hard to live out.

There are situations which we put ourselves into. But, even in those situations, if we will turn to God and start living life God's way, He can even turn our stupid errors and make something good come out of it.

Bottom line - if we want better outcomes in our lives, we have to do life according to God's way.