So here I am. The substitute blogger. I’ve already checked my seat for tacks, and have found no apple on my desk. You’ve all been very, very bad… fetch me the ruler!
Blogging is new to me. In fact, I’ve kept the practice at arms length as long as I could, but it seems that our beloved Irish Calvinist has a way of persuading people. At least he does me, so here goes.
During the day I masquerade as a salesmen, and I’ve met a lot of people. A few of those people have been Christians. Conversations with these people have provided me a major window for me into the state of the church today. From their various convictions or lack thereof, I get a good look at what churches are (and aren’t teaching). One of the things that I’ve noticed can be crystallized in one particular conversation:
This customer of mine, someone I’d call a friend though our contact is sporadic, is a great guy. probably one of the nicest people you’ll meet, and charismatic in his theology and church choice. He was telling me that he and his wife were getting ready to go off and work as missionaries. Gad had given him a vision that He was going to be doing great things in Phoenix and he was eager to be off as soon as the details were arranged. At a later time he told me that his previous plans were not going to happen, that a new opportunity had come up in Alaska, and that he wasn’t sure if God wanted him to go there.
That conversation was typical of others I’d had with him, and with many others who were not necessarily charismatic. It’s too bad that for so many Christians, knowing God’s will is such a difficult and mysterious process. Often beginning with the Scriptures and prayer, they conclude with feelings, especially the elusive “sense of peace.” God’s will is usually simpler to know than that. Here are a few guidelines to help unravel the mystery.
- Know your Scriptures. 2 Tim 3:14-17 say that the Bible is a sufficient guide for everything in Christian life. That means every decision. Your peaceful feeling about divorcing your spouse will not pass muster at the Judgement Seat!
- Pray. Every choice is informed by wisdom, so pray for lost of that! Through prayer God inclines the desires of our hearts. Through prayer, God opens doors and closes them.
- Look for principles. Don’t look simply for a command or a prohibition. That is a legalistic way of using the Scripture. Commands and prohibitions shed light on greater principles that extend to areas not specifically mentioned. For example: a decision on buying a house can be guided by principles of stewardship.
- Christ-likeness is a springboard. Psalm 37:4 reminds us that thinking like God directs us to true joy. When you are walking according to the Word and steeped in your Christian disciplines, your mind, your desires, your inclinations are increasingly His mind, His desires, His inclinations. You can you what you want! If you can do something, and you want to, then do it!
- Understand your liberty in Christ! There is so much you are free to pursue. Don’t fall into the trap of viewing Christian life as a list of things that you can’t do, or have to do. See life as currency to spend in God’s market. Christian life is freedom to please God.