Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Homemaker and God's Will

Simply in living our lives, we all come to points where we need wisdom from the Lord about how to proceed. It's beyond the scope of this article to do an exhaustive study of this topic. But, with prayer, I thought I'd like to humbly throw out a few thoughts for us to consider.

First, let me say that God has provided everything we need for life and godliness through a knowledge of Christ. II Peter 1:3-10. Additionally, He has promised that in times of trials, He gives wisdom to all, without exercising favoritism -- provided that the asker requests in faith. James 1:2-7. Another avenue God uses to guide us is through the wise counsel of godly people. Proverbs 15:22, Titus 2:4-6.

However, one place where we can get stuck is trying so hard to discern what God wants us to do in a particular situation that we ignore the mountains of information about his will that are contained within the scriptures.

We so often hear people -- especially young people -- say, "I am waiting for God to show me his will for my life."

By this, well-intentioned people often mean that they wish to know God's will about one particular decision that they must make. Sometimes, people focus on one such dilemma, while postponing the parts of God's will that are clear to them from his word. Thus, they miss much good in their lives.

For example, let's say you and your husband are considering moving the family to a new place, because you are wondering if it would be best for your children's spiritual welfare. Certainly, no such decision should be made without prayer. But, would it make sense to pray about this, without also seeking right now -- where you are -- to put God's instructions about parenting into practice?

It's important to seek God's guidance in our decisions. But, we must not do so at the expense of the many commands and principles he has already given us in his Word. If you practice the instructions from the Lord that you do know, God promises further understanding of truth.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disicples. Then, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:31

Here, I think he was speaking specifically of knowing the truth that He is God's Son and our Savior. But, notice the progression of adherence to Christ's teaching, leading to a knowledge of the truth, leading, in turn, to freedom. Like students who learn a subject by doing work and taking tests, God leads us to a greater grasp of his will as we practice his will.

A second sticking point is to measure God's will either by what we emotionally "feel" is right or by what we assume is right according to our human reasoning. When we get into this trap, we can follow whims of our own imagination or reasoning, mistaking this for the guidance that God has promised. Sometimes, people have unknowingly wandered far from God's expressed will by relying too much on "feelings" or on human reasoning.

Of course, our mind and emotions are gifts from God, and they do provide us with valuable information. We'd be silly not to make good use of them in their proper context. On the other hand, we must remember that they aren't infallible guides for life. In Proverbs 3:5, the Lord tells us to trust in Him with all of our heart and not to lean on our own understanding. He promises that if we acknowledge Him in all of our ways, He will make our paths straight. I love this promise!

The Bereans were commended for searching the scriptures diligently and every day, to see if the things Paul taught them were true. Acts 17:10-12. They did not do this with a critical spirit, but with eagerness to verify that this good news from Paul was, indeed, true. If they were commended for checking the word of Paul -- who was an apostle -- against Scripture, shouldn't we be even more diligent to use the scriptures to measure what we think, feel, hear, or read?

God has promised to give us wisdom, but we must also judge our decisions against God's word in order to ensure we are truly following God's path. True wisdom from the Lord will never contradict his Word. Being someone who can find all sorts of ways to rationalize what I want, here is one place where I have to guard my heart.

A third sticking point is to become paralyzed over a decision when it's not a matter of sin or righteousness, but simply a matter of what would be good, better, and best. Of course, we want to seek God's best, and we must believe that he will show it to us. But, we must also believe the promise that God works everything for our good when we seek his purpose. Romans 8:28-29.

The home manager deals with many issues that aren't a matter of right or wrong, but are simply a matter of wisdom. For example, let's say that you want to become a better steward of your money. You pray about that, and you ask God to help you, and He graciously answers you. But, if, along the way to becoming thrifty, you honestly make some poor judgments, you haven't sinned. Believe that God will guide your efforts and that He will work even your mistakes for good in the big scheme of things. Learn from your failures, and, then, move on.

Do you want to know God's will for your life? Study, study, study and practice, practice, practice God's word. Do a study of what God likes and dislikes, and really get to know his heart. Also, do a study of the phrase God's will. Study Jesus' teachings. Notice God's promises and his commands, and act on them.

Also, remember these instructions in Romans 12:1-2:

"Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing, and perfect will."



Annie said...

Hi Elizabeth,
I agree with you, our Lord is so gracious, and thanks for the reminder to study God's word to know His will. Nice to meet you. I will be adding you to my side bar under blogs I enjoy

To God Be The Glory said...

Amen! Great post. All glory to God! I've added you to my list of favorite blogs.