By the time a fundamentalists graduates high-school and Bible college he or she has heard roughly 17,436 messages on how to find God’s will — a topic surpassed only, perhaps, by sermons on fleeing youthful lust. Divining God’s will on such matters as which college to pick and which person to marry is a very sneaky and subtle thing that is very easily missed if one isn’t careful. One wrong step can lead to absolute destruction.
Consider this cautionary tale. “I was supposed to be a missionary in Botswana and instead I totally misunderstood the Holy Spirit’s leading and went to Brazil instead. After spending 20 years sharing the gospel there I realized that all those souls won and churches started should never have been.” Such stories are as heartbreaking as they are commonplace. Heed their warning well.
If you are ever in doubt as to what the perfect will of God is, the answer is to consult the Holy Spirit — who is conveniently located inside any local fundamentalist leader. You’ll never have to wonder what do to again.
23 thoughts on “Finding God’s Will”
So true. . and so stressful. . .Until you finally realize that God’s will isn’t found outside the Bible.
What a shocker to realize that God actually doesn’t have that “special” person picked out for you to marry, and if you don’t marry that person, you’ll ruin God’s perfect will for your life. This could set off a chain reaction, beause you may have married the person who was God’s will for someone else, ruining their chances to be in God’s will. . . and so it goes. 😉
On the other hand, how far do you take finding God’s will? Does God have a perfect will for which jeans you wear today? Or what side of bed you get out of?
As far as careers go, we all know that whatever career you hate the most is probably God’s will for you. After all, God’s design is to make you miserable, which is why if you pray “Lord, please don’t send me to Africa”, you’ll *definitely* end up there someday! 🙂
The IFB always burdens us more than is necessary. It seems it should be enough to simply pray that God would open and close doors according to His plan. Then before falling in love with someone you can ask Him to close that door if it isn’t His will. If the door remains open it must be a good thing.
They may say that marrying this person isn’t God’s will but once you are married they become God’s will since divorce is not God’s will so you’re stuck.
I have heard missionaries to Africa say that when they were young they’d say they’d do anything God wanted except go to Africa. So to test them God sent them to Africa and now of course they are so happy they went and they love it there.
One thing I loathe is when they tell you it’s all in the attitude as to whether you will like something or not, if your heart is “right with God” you will be blessed in something even if you think you will hate it. This isn’t always so. One of the reasons (among many) that we left our last church is that the pastor refused to give me the age group I wanted and felt comfortable with to teach in Sunday school, he insisted on giving me an age group I was not at all comfortable with and then I got the old fundy song and dance about dying to self and if I just had the right attitude I’d love it. And a year later say I was so glad to have been put with that group. Wrong. I stuck with it for the year but I hated it. Every Sunday I dreaded going but I gave it my best shot. I stuck with the commitment and waited for the blessing which never came. After the year was over as we were fixing to leave that church I told the pastor that I had dreaded every Sunday though I prayed over it and just felt no peace at all with it. And how nice it would’ve been if he’d respected me enough to allow me to have known my own strengths and weaknesses and not kept trying to push square pegs into round holes which is all he does over there.
Leaving there was one of the best things we’ve done. We just got back a few minutes ago from our new church and I look forward to Sundays. There is none of that old dread and pressure from the leadership that you’re not good enough, not measuring up, always lacking in something. 😀
This ties in well to the recent non-charismatic divine leadings post. It was the most incredibly freeing thing to realize that “God’s will” is not this secret hard-to-find thing and that God is glorified in whatever vocation we are in. That said I admit this is one of those areas where I still struggle with those fundy presuppositions.
“As far as careers go, we all know that whatever career you hate the most is probably GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s will for you. After all, GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s design is to make you miserable, which is why if you pray Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lord, please donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t send me to AfricaÃ¢â‚¬Â, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll *definitely* end up there someday!”
Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that when people shared their “testimonies!”
I found God’s will in a fortune cookie yesterday (not making this up!): “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6”
Huh. So… He doesn’t play hide and seek with us if we’re earnestly seeking Him. Whew!
I have to honestly say that I’m still messed up because of this one! I am, even now after leaving the Fundamental side of things, constantly wondering if a decision I make is going to blow everything in the future, or if God is testing me, or whatever. It’s been a rough ride my entire adult life. It sucks when you live life second-guessing yourself.
I’ll say I’m on the same boat as Dan and Amanda here. I’m still young, and have still yet to go off to college. Partly because of this issue, and partly because of realizing the message from this post. In which I am glad that people (namely Amanda above), have helped me realize that God is not the ultimate, angry destructor of all life and miserableness if you do not follow His “will.” So with the whole freeing fact of this, with giving God all the glory with whatever you may do, and be pleasing to Him in such, it’s a relief to know it.
It’s a thing I think all of us post-fundies will struggle with.
Hmm. On another note, I wonder if God’s will is for me to click on the randomly and ironically placed Piedmont Baptist College link on the side of this page? 🙂
The answer to that one I can assure you is yes. 🙂
So if I unwittingly misunderstand God’s will for my life and marry the wrong woman can that be misconstrued as having an adulterous relationship?
Not really. You’d be considered living in God’s “permissive will” instead of his “perfect will.”
You might get to be a little happy. But you never be truly happy.
Thanks Darrell. I appreciate your discernment and obvious ability to interpret God’s will for my life. You must have a double portion of the Holy Spirit in order to see so clearly what I have missed. With your ability to differentiate God’s will so easily, a three piece suit, and a very large belly roll I believe that God may be calling you to be an evangelist.
(Tongue planted firmly in cheek)
A note about God’s will: I do believe God has a plan for all of us and that there are certain things that are not his will (sin) and certain things that are his obvious will (praying, praising Him, honoring our parents, etc.) I think sometimes the Lord likes to surprise us. We, without knowing whether we truly like or hate something, get into a situation doing something that we previously thought that we would never, ever do because we knew we would hate it. We end up in that situation, and realize that we were truly meant to do whatever it is and that it was God’s will to show us our hidden talents, to step out of our comfort zone and do something we thought we’d never do. God doesn’t purposely make us do what we hate, but He may allow us the opportunity to do something we thought we hated and to discover our talents.
As far as the “messing up one time and missing God’s perfect will for our lives”: I don’t agree with that. We sin every day. True, if we don’t turn away from that sin, it will build and become a bigger part of our life, affecting our relationship with God. But making one “wrong” choice isn’t going to destroy our chances at being in God’s will. God will show us the next step. I’ve known many people who have messed up in their lives and have learned great things from their mistakes. They have experience and they have a strong testimony to help others, though they may have scars from their sins. Some people will then learn from that person’s mistake, or make the mistakes themselves, learn, and continue the cycle. God’s will is making the right choices; the opposite of God’s will is sin.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Phil. 4:11
Making the right, Godly choices and being content is being in God’s will, no matter what your situation. You could end up in jail like Paul and be content. You can be in a secular college and be content, or a Christian college and be content. The situation itself isn’t God’s will or not, but rather what you do with the situation. Sometimes leaving a situation is God’s will.
I believe I married the guy that God had picked out for me all along, but it wasn’t like I was wandering around, talking to different guys, wondering which one is “God’s will” for me. Actually, I was pretty stubborn about the whole thing, and God had to make it so plain and clear that this is the right guy that I couldn’t ignore it. It definitely wasn’t anything mystical, though!
I think when you live life just trying to do right and checking to make sure what you’re doing is pleasing to God, you’ll end up doing God’s will. God just wants us to love Him and follow Him, and if we do that, He makes it easy to see what He wants us to do. Sure, we won’t see everything right away (when you’re 15, you probably won’t know who your future spouse will be), but He will reveal it to us one step at a time.
I’m just glad I wasn’t raised in just one “Fundy” type of church. I only attended one “Hyles-ish” church in my entire life, and that only lasted for about 5 years (just most of my teen years). I already knew enough before that to be able to tell that their definition of “God’s will” was too elusive. I wasn’t satisfied with it. 🙂
It’s an oldy, but a goody: “Decision Making and the Will of God” by Garry Friesen–out of print, but widely available in the used market.
I wrote a big paper on this very issue about a year ago, and I even used Friesen’s “Decision Making and the Will of God” as a source. Good times.
I often don’t appreciate my father’s insights (on Christian music: “There hasn’t been anything good written in the last 30 years” or on Bible versions: “I never met anyone who couldn’t understand the KJV”), but I will always remember what he told me when I was in a total panic about choosing which Christian college to attend. I was so scared that I’d pick the “wrong” one. He asked me if I wanted to do God’s will. “Yes!” I cried, “but I don’t know what it is!” “Just pick the school you want to attend,” he said. “If you desire to please God, He will direct your steps.” I felt so free!
Well, this is a pretty good topic on which to make this post. I have just attended my last service at my fundy church! I feel kinda sad that I won’t see certain people by default on Sundays and Wednesdays but we will just have to make the effort to meet outside of church more often. I will probably miss it in some ways but the positive far outweighs the negative. My former screen name here was “NOTSWALLOWINGTHEKOOLAIDBUTSTILLIN. I still have the task of telling the pastors that I give up my membership. 😀 I look forward to the adventure of where God will lead me. 😎
Congrats! Welcome to the rest of your life. 🙂
Yay! It just gets better from here! 🙂
Hooray for you!! 😀
Well, an update on this comment. Actually there is NOTHING I miss about my former fundy church! 😀 Today, I spoke with a pastor from there that I like and told him I wasn’t attending there anymore, it’s been almost two months now and when I told him one of the churches I have been going to he Immediately and disgustedly said “doesn’t the music there drive you crazy??” I looked him square on and stated the truth joyfully and unaplogetically “I absolutely LOVE the music there” 😀 That felt really good. He had this look on his face which seemed to be a mixture of anger and sadness. He refused to smile and joke with me as would have been the norm before. Another pastor there who is my friend had a completely positive response and although he said it was sad I wasn’t attending there, there was none of the judgement of the other one. I feel relief that I met with them, closure. 😎
apologetically, who let George in here??? 😳
Let’s crack open some bubbly!!