I recently had the privilege of taking our middle school group at my church through the book “JUST DO SOMETHING” by Kevin DeYoung. This is a very practical and easy-to-read book that has as its aim the ability to discern and know God’s Will.
The author of this book uses a great metaphor in the first chapter – he talks about the classic construction game called “Tinker Toys” – a familiar toy enjoyed by many generations. (OK, I too was a “tinkerer” with this game. There…I am telling my age!) He makes the case that we are not called to tinker away into adulthood. This great game was intended to point the inquisitive mind toward imaginative thinking, problem solving, and connecting with reality. Sadly, many young adults are entering their thirties still…well, tinkering. There are many reasons for this…including fear of making decisions. Many choose to continue doing what is comfortable just because they don’t want to risk missing God’s will by making a bad decision.
I’ve come to see that making NO decision is in itself making a decision…just not a good one!
I once read another author who offered 5 succinct steps to take in discerning God’s will. I am a firm believer that our literary diet needs to include writers who are, as one leader once said, “dead guys.” Men from other generations, even other centuries. This second author is from that group. His name was John Flavell, and he was one of the great Puritan writers.
These 5 simple phrases shape some succinct thoughts that can help you determine God’s will in any decision. Here are the phrases, and my editorial on each:
1. Fear of God– many people withhold making a decision for fear of hurting other people – yet they often don’t consider the opinion of God. The Bible says that the “fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”. A good healthy dose of fear for the Almighty is a good starting place for sober decision-making. Not a morbid fear of God – but a combination of respect for our kind God and an appropriate sense of awe at His holiness.
2. Study the Word more– a good rule of thumb is taking 10 glances toward God and His Word for every single look at our choices. One friend referred to his daily Bible reading as needed “face time before the Lord.”
3. Practice– doing. We all have a great need to “reduce what we know into practice.” Turn head knowledge into heart knowledge, and be a doer of the word, not a hearer only.
4. Pray for illumination. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your mind. Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would lead them and guide them into all truth. Involve the Spirit daily. Trust Him. He is faithful.
5. Follow providence– good decisions for the future are often predicated on a sober evaluation of what God has already done – in the present.
Till next time.
~ Mike Gilland
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