If you hang out around Christian circles for any amount of time, you will inevitably overhear or be a part of a discussion about God’s will. As someone following Christ with their life, it’s important to be in God’s will – aka doing what God wants you to do with your life, where He wants you to be.
So what is God’s will for your life? There are a lot of people who think it’s a very complicated, mysterious thing that needs to be diligently searched out. If we read the Bible, it’s mapped out for all of us. In Matthew 22:36-40 it says, 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” These are the greatest commandments – this is what we are supposed to be doing.
I struggle with the idea that some have embraced as God’s will being so finitely detailed so that it encompasses every miniscule detail of every day. I cannot even begin to fathom how this would work out but can see all kinds of problems with this concept. For instance, I know people who while in the process of purchasing a home have declared that it’s God’s will for them to live in a specific home. Ok, maybe, but what about when the deal doesn’t go through, so they end up living somewhere else. Are they now outside of God’s will and what about the people that did buy that home that was God’s will for the other family to have, are they outside of God’s will as well? How do you ever reconcile or rectify that? This is just one example of many I could give, and they all end with people being outside of God’s will.
Recently, one of my cousins posted a status on Facebook about God’s will – she had no idea I was already working on writing about God’s will for my blog. But I think it goes along with what I’m writing here fairly well.
Here’s what Jenn thinks: “When Christians talk of God’s will as a definitive step by step guide to my day I think, ‘sure if His will is defined as loving God & my neighbour well.’ But when it is presented as a road map to my every move & that God’s will is controlling all that occurs on this earth I must wonder what kind of pain they have lived through? I wonder if they, like me, have sat with rape survivors or wept at injustice in our churches, city, & world. Because I will not say to my friends, heck to myself, that God is controlling all that occurs on this earth & in our lives. In my experience God can heal, restore, even redeem the darkness but I will not see the darkness as God’s will.”
This idea of a finitely detailed will for our lives has the potential to do a lot of damage to a person’s faith in God. It can confuse people, leave them paralyzed when facing a decision and feeling completely uncertain on how to move forward with life. I don’t know about you, but I think this description sounds exactly like a plan from the enemy of our souls.
I do believe God has a plan for each of our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” And Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” There are other scriptures as well that let us know that God has a plan and a purpose for every one of us.
What I’m trying to get across here is that while there is God’s plan and there are God’s commandments, His will is not for us to be confused or uncertain about Him. Each of us has also been given the incredible gift of free choice. How each of our choices impacts us and those around us also plays a part in how our lives unfold. If it helps you, perhaps try thinking of God’s will as more of a macro management plan for your life. He gives you the things you need to go through life and He is with you every step of the way to provide direction, comfort, strength, love and support. He also expects that you will use what He’s given you as you go through life. He’s given you gifts of intelligence and reason, free will and choice, so use those as you follow His will to love Him and to love others.
P.S. Thanks Jenn for your comments on God’s will. I hope you don’t mind me using them here!