I have been asked to speak at a college spiritual emphasis conference, on the topic of the “Will of God”. What great topic.
Do you remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? As a kid I loved going to the library and collecting these little treasures. Like any regular novel, the author would lead the reader into a complex and exciting adventure. The tension of the introduction would rise to a point of crises, when, all of the sudden, there would be a break in the story.
- Run away from the sound of the explosion (turn to page 16).
- Run toward the sound of the explosion (turn to page 29).
- Wait a few minutes and then slowly and cautiously take a look at the explosions aftermath (turn to page 61).
Following one of the choices you might read, “and as you round the corner, you are caught in the secondary explosion. Your adventure has ended, go back to page 15 and choose again”.
Life often presents us with the “choose your own adventure moments”. For the Christian, there is a real desire and passion to make the choice God wants us to make. 1 Peter 4:2 states: “live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God”.
Standing in those moments, then, when two or more life paths stand ahead of us (perhaps an opportunity to marry, or a career choice, or education direction), we seek to do what God wants. How can we discover the truth? There are as many answers as there are questioners.
Can we know God’s will in our particular circumstances? If so, how can we know the will of God? One of thegreat reliefs for the questioner is to discover that in some specific circumstances the answer is obvious:
Does God will for me to be saved? Or, can I pray for someone to be saved? There is an easy answer. We are to answer yes in both cases: “God isn’t willing that any should perish” 1 Peter (2 Peter 3:9), instead, he “Commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).
What is God’s will for my sex life? “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
These examples are indicative of a number of texts in Scripture. Many things are black and white, and never grey. But how do we deal with the ones not specifically mentioned? How do we deal with questions of what degree to take, or whom to date?