Why do Christians make so many poor decisions in life? Why do Christians struggle to know the will of God? Are we thinking biblically about this important subject? We invite you to attend Riverside at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday nights in July for a special mini-series of sermons entitled: “Is Finding God's Will a Biblical Idea?
The following excerpts from Bruce K. Waltke's Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion provide examples of how Christians often misunderstand the will of God:
- Margaret is a successful career woman with a desire to please God. She worked her way up to a supervisor position in the accounting division at First National Bank and married rather late in life. Now in her late thirties, she is struggling with the importance of her job. She would like to do something significant for Christ but feels that her job prevents her from making any changes. Margaret’s church recently held a missionary conference in which the speaker challenged Christians to become involved in world evangelism and encouraged everyone to justify why they are not “serving the Lord overseas.” Those words stay with Margaret as she ponders spending the next 25 years at her desk, doing the same old accounting tasks.
The next day she reads in the paper about a hurricane devastating the Marshall Islands. The accompanying photograph of two children crying over the death of their parents vividly captures the destruction and deprivation, and Margaret prays for those poor souls left to fend for themselves. That very afternoon a coworker, making plans for his vacation, leaves a brochure on the Marshall Islands, and Margaret decides to pray that the Lord would make His will clear to her. That night her husband comes home complaining that the best lawyer in his office, a young man named Marshall, has just been transferred to their East Coast office.
“Honey,” Margaret says to her husband, “I’ve been thinking about what that speaker said in church yesterday, and the funniest set of coincidences occurred. Do you think God could be calling us to the be missionaries in the Marshall Islands?”
- David is a surveyor for a land development firm, with designs to go back to college. He married young and started a family right away, so he never found the time to attend more than a course here and there. But quitting his job isn’t very realistic. He’s got two kids in school and car payments, and he and his wife have been talking for a long time about getting together a down payment for a house of their own. Still, Dave would like to get training that would better equip him for a career in the long term, and he would also like to take a couple of Bible classes. At a men’s breakfast at his church he shares his thoughts with his good friend Tom, who is an older, more experienced Christian. “Have you prayed much about this?” his friend asks, “so that you can be given the mind of God?”
“Well, not as much as I’d like,” Dave admits.
“Listen,” Tom replies, “We’re going to pray right now. I want you to make your mind blank. When we’re done praying, I want you to tell me the first thoughts the Lord puts into your mind, Okay?”
Dave agrees, and both men pray earnestly. After Tom closes with the words, “Please tell my brother Dave what Your will is,” they open their eyes and look at each other. “What’s He telling you?”
“I guess that I should be going back to school,” David replies, wondering if he has really heard the voice of God.
- Suzanne needs direction from the Lord. She has saved a little money and wants to invest it for her retirement. Since her husband died, she hasn’t had anyone she feels she can lean on for sound advice. A nice young man from her church visited Suzanne recently and talked about annuities and other investment strategies, but her alma matter, which is looking for people to invest in their childhood education program, and several Christian organizations have appealed to her for gifts. Not knowing what to do, Suzanne sits down in her favorite chair, her Bible in her lap.
“I need you to tell me what to do, Lord,” she prays silently. “Show me through Your Word.” Then she picks up the Bible, flips it open to a page, and begins reading.
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to me… for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Suzanne takes this as God’s leading that she is to invest in children’s ministries, and she decides to send her money to college.
- Douglas is a teenager, active in his youth group at church, and anxious to obey the Lord Jesus. He knows the Scripture calls him to obey the Lord Jesus. He knows the Scripture calls him to heed the will of God, but he isn’t sure what God’s will is for his social life. So, Douglas has worked out a system for Friday nights.
First, he makes a list of girls he wants to take out on a date. Then he begins phoning, starting at the top of the list. If the line is busy, he takes that as God’s sign that he is not to date that girl. If no one answers, he is to wait and try again later. If the phone rings and the gal he’s interested in answers, that means God has given his blessing for Douglas to ask her out.
It is important for all of us to know that God has revealed His will through the inspired pages of holy scripture. In this sermon series we will be exploring what it means to have a truly biblical understanding of His expectations as we seek to apply His word in each of our lives. We hope you will join us Sunday evenings at 6:00 p.m. for these messages and we look forward to seeing you.