Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Day 28 “Transition Well - Seek God’s Will”

I was praying about giving advice to a friend, who asked for some recently regarding a decision she needs to make, and God brought some surprising scriptures to mind.  As I was waiting to hear from Him I was digging into my Bible and remembering that I wanted to memorize the scriptures in Philippians 4:8-9 (Quick review at this post).  I struggle with my thoughts and I know this scripture will help me focus.  How I think leads to what I say and do so it is important to think on the things of the Lord. I couldn't remember the Bible reference and God was sweet to lead me there through some of the loose papers in my Bible that I referred to in this post.  God wants us to succeed in finding wisdom and peace in the Bible and He is faithful to help us.  When our thoughts are right, more specifically on God and what is pure, lovely and praiseworthy, we will make the right decisions in whatever circumstances we are in.    

As I have been thinking about how to answer my friend’s request God has been speaking to me about my own need for the same advice.  I have seen many of us struggle with knowing God’s will and making decisions based on it.  This seems especially true when we are transitioning and our future is unknown.  I started this conversation with a friend, and shared it with you all here on Day 20.  That conversation has had me thinking for a while now about God’s will.  I am not an expert but I know the Bible is filled with advice about God’s will for our lives – it’s not a BIG secret that He is trying to hide from us.

We pray for God’s will when we are buying a house; choosing a job; dealing with our “neighbor” and raising our children.  And God is faithful to give us the advice we need.  It’s just that He doesn’t say, in the Bible, buy this specific house; choose this particular job; say these exact words when dealing with your neighbor or in raising your children. 

What He does say is:

I found 11 references to “love your neighbor” and that is without doing an exhaustive search.  I think God’s will is for us to “love our neighbor”!  That is not all that He wants from us but these other verses sure confirm what Leviticus 19:18 says:  Matthew 22:36-40, Matthew 5:43, Matthew 19:19, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Mark 12:33, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8.

When we doubt our parenting skills God gives some very simple advice:  “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV)

So what does that really mean?  As I continued to dig I found other great verses that are included in this chapter of Proverbs to give us guidance like verse 8 that says “He who sows wickedness reaps trouble, and the rod of his fury will be destroyed.” And verse 9 says “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” So I feel like we can ascertain that as adults, and those who are parents, we are instructed not to be wicked or condone wickedness and to be generous to others – specifically sharing what God has blessed us with.  And, in turn, we train our children to do the same.  So when you question whether you are raising your children God’s way or not, refer to the Bible and lead by example.

When dealing with your neighbor, who is your literal neighbor and your co-worker, co-laborers in Christ, and the employee checking you out at the grocery store, God tells us, in His Word, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” (Philippians 4:5 NIV)

What I love is that these are just a few of the amazing scriptures in God’s Word that instruct us in the way we should go.  Lastly, here is a great scripture on wisdom and knowledge: 

In my Bible notes for Proverbs 9:10 I am directed to the notes on Proverbs 1:7 that state that the fear of the Lord is a loving reverence for God that includes submission to his lordship and to the commands of His Word.  It then directed me to Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Now all has been heard: here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Side note:  I know that this verse is from the Old Testament, and in the New Testament we are in a new covenant with God.  However, I believe that we are to consider the entire Bible and not separate the old from the new.  This is just my opinion and please remember that I am on this journey as well and I do not claim to be an expert!)

Please hear my heart, I am not trying to simplify huge decisions and seeking God’s will.  However, I know that I complicate things a lot when I don’t need to.  This simplification gives me peace as I am reminded that I am to submit to God’s authority, which He communicates through is His Word.  I believe this takes the confusion out of my interactions with my neighbor, or how you deal with your co-workers and children, and it helps us make decisions.  If I am not “loving my neighbor”, than I need to look into why I am being disobedient to God’s command and ask Him for forgiveness and the strength to overcome my fleshly desires.  This, of course, is easier said than done.  And, I believe I am going to be on this journey for a very long time. 

The one practical tip I have will not surprise you and may sound overly simplified - I have started reading God’s Word as the last thing I see and put into my mind before going to bed.  I can’t describe specifically how things are different since starting this new habit beyond feeling a new excitement to dig into God’s Word more than ever before.  It’s really that simple – read the instruction manual for all the wisdom you will ever need and you will find peace and be able to make wise decisions. 

What are your thoughts on God’s will for our lives?


The Momma said...

I completely agree with you that we are to consider the whole of God's word (both Old and New testaments) together because the Old Testament scriptures provide a lot of context for things found in the New Testament, including the words of Christ Himself! A fantastic example of this is when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandments were and His reply was that we are to love God and love our neighbour and that all the law and prophets hang on those two commandments. He is, of course, making reference to scriptures that his listeners would have been familiar with from Deuteronomy and Leviticus, but I think He might also have been referencing (at least in a small way) the scripture you quoted from Ecclesiastes 12 to "fear the Lord and keep His commandments." If all the law (or commandments) and prophets are derived from the two commandments that Jesus listed, then if we do those things, we show love and respect to God (fear Him) and we keep His commandments.

I think God's will can sometimes be difficult to discern, but one thing I have always relied upon when discerning whether something is His will is that if it is His will, He will give me a peace in my heart about it, even if what He is asking of me is something difficult or even potentially painful to do.

Kate said...

Great way to get us all thinking today. My church's mission is summarized in three words: Jesus. Gospel.Seattle.

We belong to and serve Jesus. We live for Him who died for us.

We preach the gospel every day. We listen to the preached word on Sundays, and we preach the gospel to each other as the answer to every struggle in our aching hearts. We share the gospel with our neighbors, our coworkers, our family, our friends.

We love and serve our city. We pray our guts out for people to know Jesus and be saved and transformed by the power of the good news.

That's always going to be in the will of God. if what you're doing helps you know, glorify and enjoy God, it's His will. If He looks good, it's His will. If the needy are provided for, it's His will. I agree that we complicate things that really aren't that complicated.

Joy Cochran said...

Oh this is exactly the message that I needed to hear today.

I struggle to walk in a way that shows my faith to everyone that I come in contact with. I often need the reminder, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” (Philippians 4:5 NIV)

Thank you for sharing today.

Gabby said...

I think you're right, and sometimes we make a bigger deal out of seeking His will than we really should. God gives us wisdom and leads us beautifully.

Moi said...

Great advice today and food for thought. Thank you for sharing

Kimberly S. Schroeder said...

Lysa TerKeurst has a study, "The Best Yes" and it really goes into this topic when it comes to us and our todo lists.