Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My View on Staying in the Will of God

Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (and your neighbor as yourself).

Do what you want.

In that order.


Dan said...

I couldn't agree with you more. If I can get myself in line with the first sentence, then the second one will be what it should be. Just have to make that possible.

Chitchat said...

I think you missed the weeks of angst-ridden prayer so I can "feel good" about doing what I want to do (usually because I skipped step 1).

On the serious side...may I propose the following (although it certainly doesn't contradict yours):

Deny yourself.
Take up your cross.
Follow Jesus.
Do what you want.

co_heir said...

Yeah, I think that pretty much sums it up.

Kevin in Manila said...

Love it!

Pete Scribner said...

AMEN (especially on the order part)!

I found Kevin DeYoung's book "Just Do Something" to contain many helpful thoughts on this subject.

extracruem said...

well stated Jared, sounds a bit like Augustine... "Love, and do what you like."

Brian said...

Nice.... I also like Micah 6:8 when this subject comes up :

"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"

Jeff Nickowski said...

Not really getting what you're putting down... honestly, i've grown up in culture where we could stray from God's will out of sheer disobedience to His personal calling in our life- therefore not aligning ourselves with His will for our lives.

I also have grown up in a culture where everything has to be "confirmed" by another in order for a ministry, activity, or even message to be truly legit.

I have heard this view of the Will of God (the one you're using) before, but have not quite grasped it...

People usually around me back up their thoughts on His will around Rom, 12:2. Differentiating good and perfect, even going into His permissive will. -However I've had a hard time lately agreeing with this because I've recently been taught the sovereignty and providence of God.

So just wondering if you could give me a clearer picture (links, or thoughts).
not here to argue, here to learn.

Jared said...

Jeff, my view is that we've made it too hard and put too much pressure on our folks, especially young folks, to "hear from God" before they do anything: take a job, pick a college, date somebody, go on a mission trip, move, etc.

My perspective is that if God hasn't specifically told you to do something or not to do something, then if you love God, you should feel free to do whatever you want.

The order is important because if you love God, you won't want to sin or do things that will harm others, etc. But if you love God and he hasn't told you which college to choose, pick the one you want to go to. He's not playing a game with us where we have to guess and if we don't get it right we have stepped out of his will. We aren't that powerful. :-)

The other side of this is that if you make a decision and it blows up in your face, that doesn't mean "it wasn't God's will." That is foisted on people too, and it does damage. Our mistakes and unanticipated troubles are within God's sovereignty too.

So that's my view, basically. Hope it helps.

III said...

My trouble is that I never seem to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and/or strength (or my neighbor as myself).

So I never make it to step two.

Jared said...

III, I don't know anything about your relationship with God, but let me try a different tack.

Have you prayed for God to tell you what/how/when to do something?

If you haven't heard an answer after a while, just make the best decision you can. Use a pro/con list. All things being equal, do what you want. Use your God-given wisdom. Etc.
And trust God.

Don't know if that helps.

I think God often doesn't tell us specifically what to do so that we will trust him in our daily lives.

III said...

I feel you, and I know what you're reacting against. At the same time, I guess I'm just reacting against hearing spiritually immature teenagers try to justify (for example) dating someone they really like even though they're totally not ready, and it's a really bad idea, by saying "My youth pastor says it's okay, I love God, and I haven't been convicted yet, and this is just God giving me the desires of my heart." And so they get into a stupid relationship, but have managed to convince themselves that they're in God's will, and so when you suggest it's a bad idea, they call you all kinds of names like "legalist" and "old-fashioned" and whatnot. Obviously, they've missed the first step, but they won't hear it if you try to bring it up.

Now, I realize that many teenagers are equally misled by the "pray about it" thing, because they "get a peace about it" and assume it was God and not just their own heart, or worse just hormones. So it goes both ways, I suppose.

If I could add a step to your list (besides what Chitchat said), I'd say consult your spiritual authority.

Again, I realize that you're being a little hyperbolic because you're reacting to a rather silly, and often dangerously mystic mindset that needs to be corrected, but at the same time I don't like the other end of the spectrum. They both get people in trouble.

Sorry if I'm just being cantankerous. I'm not trying to just argue for the sake of arguing. But please let me know if I am, and I'll stop.

Spike said...

Very thought provoking. "If you have not love..."

Is the old fashioned "be like Christ" in there, though maybe too veiled? I stay in the will of God by "putting Christ on", trying to be like Him, depending on the Father for all things, like my daily bread, the ability to sin less, the outcome of my decisions, my illusive humility, actually trusting him, not me. Out of the imitation of Christ and depending on His work and grace, do Godly virtues flow. Like love.

Is the cart before the horse?

Chitchat said...


I definitely hear you. I think there is a huge place for community in our daily decision making. That's one (not the only) spot where the "radicals" (i.e. anabaptists) got it right. The temptation for many is to consider their lives...jobs, relationships, etc in isolation from community. Community becomes that thing I do 2-4 times a month instead of one of the core reasons I exist.

So, yeah, agreed. I think, though, that Jared's step one could cover that one too. The triune community is community in perfection where each member shows perfect love to the others, etc.

So, in a sense, it's that simple and that complex.

Karen, Nana said...

Jared, you summed it up quite well,
I've always referred folks to Romans chapters 12 through 16 ( I think) and the four C test.
A. Is there a COMMANDMENT to do it or not to do it B. Can you do it with CONVICTION (zeal) whole heartidly, as unto the Lord, C.
Can you do ith with a clear CONSCIENCE, can you sleep at night
etc ? and D. Can you do it in CONSIDERATION of and not negatively affecting your weaker brothers, ( younger, or less mature Christians ) But I like your
summation better, We love you. (Dad, not Mom, I mean wrote this, we both love you ! :)

jason said...

"I think God often doesn't tell us specifically what to do so that we will trust him in our daily lives."

I don't know if you do requests but I'd love to see you expound on this in a blog posting.

Rob said...


Anonymous said...


Very well done. I havent blogged in a bit on your site but read often. I think we get caught up with that catch phrase " to listen to God's Will " on issues I am not quite sure He really cares about. If we love Him, love others every thing else will fall into place. I think of my own children, like I am sure you think of yours. I want them to love me, respect me, honoor me and be obiediant. If my boy was to come up to me and ask, Dad, what is your will, desire, should I ride my bike or my skateboard? My answer would be, Son, ride what you want too. Just honor me and love others as you do it and I really dont care what you choose. :)

Great post Jared.

Your RCC brother.