Five Myths About Knowing God's Will

10 Jan

Walking God's Will Wide

Have you ever wanted help making a big decision? Wanted to know the “right” answer, or the “right” way forward? Worried that you might be stepping out of God’s will?

Sometimes God’s will seems obvious, and other times it feels like a big mystery. Figuring it out can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are five myths we tend to believe about it:

MYTH 1: Discerning God’s will is only important for spiritual or ministry-related decisions.

In God’s Kingdom, there is no divide between the sacred and the secular. Hearing God’s input on whether to accept a job offer is of equal importance to seeking his input on where to plant the next church.

Sometimes, we inadvertently exclude God from certain conversations because we think he doesn’t care, that he won’t actually “speak” and offer concrete guidance, or because it seems like the situation isn’t “spiritual enough” to warrant God’s directive action.

But in the Kingdom, it all matters!

MYTH 2: As long as it’s not sinful, God doesn’t care what I do.

This way of thinking misses the point as to what discipleship and having a relationship with God is all about. God is a person, not some supernatural force. Of course God cares! His very nature is love. God created us and desires our collaboration in his work of redemption.

Just as we might communicate with our friends or spouses in order to build deeper relationships with them, we talk to the Lord about our lives and choices so that we can develop a stronger, closer relationship with him.

MYTH 3: God’s will is narrow and if I miss it, I will be doomed.

Nope. That’s just not how it works. God’s will for our lives is a rather complex thing. We have free will; God is sovereign and possesses foreknowledge. Scripture also indicates that when we pray, God listens and is willing to answer us (James 5:16, 2 Kings 20:1-6).

The more important thing is that God wants us to be in relationship with him (see myth #2). When we know without a doubt that we are the beloved, adopted sons and daughters of God, we are set free to make choices, to follow hard after him, and to trust fully in the goodness of our Creator (Romans. 8:14-17).

MYTH 4: Making good decisions is all about the head vs. the heart.

We all value different things when we make decisions in life. Some of us tend to make decisions with our hearts, while others tend to make decisions with our heads.

Which way is right?

Trick question. The answer is: Neither.

We are invited to make decisions with our spirits and ears attuned to the leading of God. The real question isn’t, “What does your heart tell you?” or “What is the most logical solution?”

The real questions is, “Are you listening to God?” And you can use your head and your heart to do that.

MYTH 5: We should do whatever feels the most like suffering.

The “gospel” of our culture is that we are all entitled to happiness, great success, and following our dreams. In becoming Christians, we die to our flesh and the Holy Spirit comes to reign in us. Therefore, since we belong to Jesus, the pursuit of happiness is not the end goal of our existence.

On the other hand, how many times have you encountered this scenario? You say, “Oh man, I really dislike ____. I hope I never have to ____.” And someone will inevitably follow that with, “Better watch out! God might ask you to ____!”

This kind of interaction indicates that our view of God doesn’t align with the way he is described in the Bible. Suffering and hardship do not automatically make us holier people. His will is not a formula where we can take whatever we love, do the opposite, and assume we are doing the right thing. Hardship and sacrifice are sacred parts of our life with God, not signposts marking out the “right” direction.

Instead, we can cultivate a posture of relational trust in God and his heart for us, so that whether he invites us into seasons of joy or suffering, we can follow him with graciousness and thanksgiving.

What About You?

Here are a few questions to reflect and pray about:

  1. Which myth do you tend to believe the most? Why do you think that is? What would it take for you to stop believing that myth?
  2. Is there anything that you would like to seek God’s guidance on? If you haven’t done so yet, pray and invite the Lord to provide his direction and wisdom concerning your circumstances. Then make space to listen and see if he has anything to say.

 


Read Walking in God's Will, Part 1—Four Habits of Healthy Decision Makers
Read Walking in God's Will, Part 3—Being Blasted, and Other Ways God Speaks

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jamie Rosenberry has been on staff with CRM since 2007, and recently completed an internship with InnerCHANGE in San Francisco.