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Fear and God’s Will

admin on June 23, 2010 - 8:31 pm in Christian Living, Destiny/Purpose/Calling, Encouragement, Parenting
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Fear and God’s Will

By: John Stone

In our town, we have a tradition each June for parents of graduates to host parties to celebrate the accomplishments of their children.  It is always interesting to talk with the different students and ask about their plan for the coming future.  Answers each year range from the well thought-out to the completely ambiguous.  Most are asking the age-old question of how they can determine God’s will for themselves. 

Initially, I thought about sharing some suggestions concerning how to discern the will of God (e.g. fasting, praying, seeking wise counsel, and waiting on the Lord’s movement for direction).  However, at one of these parties, a young man who just finished college asked me to catch a coffee with him.  We met earlier this week and he shared very candidly that he feels a bit paralyzed as to what his next move should be.  He expressed concern that he might make the wrong choice, and this immobilizes him. 

As I asked him some questions, it became clear to both of us that his paralysis is rooted in fear.  For him, this fear originated from a skewed belief that comes from a phrase often espoused within the church.  It goes something like this:  God has a perfect and a permissive will.  The scope of this article isn’t to defend or deny this, but instead to highlight how this thinking can forge a false belief about God’s character.

 If we don’t sin and make all the right choices God wants us to make, then we get to live a fantastic life within His perfect will.  However, when we sin, or make a choice that really wasn’t God’s best, we are forced to settle for God’s permissive will.  Taking a misstep in a small area might not seem too devastating, but what if I marry the wrong person, or take the wrong job?  Now my whole life has been fouled up by my bad choice!  It’s no wonder that my young friend feels a great weight in his decision.  The sorrow that comes from thinking we’ve missed God’s perfect will usually leads not to repentance, but to death.  

Please understand that I strongly believe in making decisions based on the criterion I referenced earlier.  We must seek the Lord and do our best to discern His direction for us.  Even when we’re unsure how to move, however, we must resist the enemy’s call to fearfully freeze into inactivity.  Instead we can and must rest in the freedom that Romans 8:28-29 brings us.  God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  There is nothing I can do (including making poor decisions outside His will) that can thwart His purposes in my life.

 In this way, our confidence in decision-making is rooted in a proper understanding of God’s character rather than our own ability to choose correctly.  Regardless of our sin, poor choices, or lack of taking God’s “perfect” direction, God remains faithful to us.  We can experience freedom in decision-making because of God’s faithfulness and power.

 If you’ve made a decision that you currently regret, the hope is that God has not doomed you to a life of second-best.  Even now, He is at work to conform you to the character of Christ.  If you are in the midst of making a decision (big or small), seek the Lord and know that regardless of your decision He will accomplish His purposes in you. 

 My young friend and I ended our conversation that day by reminding one another that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).  May He give you the grace today to resist fear and move boldly in that spirit of power, love and a sound mind.

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4 Comments
  • June 24, 2010

    The fear is induced by the church. There are no gods to guide you. The church makes you think somebody is helping you when there really isn’t. This is effectively child abuse.

    People who have an evangelical take on Christianity think you can pray yourself to success. At best this is totally selfish because if you end up with the dream job – what justified you getting that job versus somebody with better qualifications? Are Christians somehow more worthy of a job than atheists?

    People need to think and work for themselves. Churches are mostly for networking anyway. Yes they offer community support but only that. People need to do the best with the time they have. There is no afterlife or heaven to threaten people with.

    Chris P
    Reply
  • June 29, 2010

    When I counsel students on this subject, I remind them that God cares much more about the type of person we are becoming than our individual actions and choices. God always looks at the heart, and that is what He is concerned with primarily. there may be very specific things God has for us to do (like He wanted David to become king), but these are the exceptions. If a person is growing in maturity and earnestly seeking God, then they will develop God’s priorities and make decisions accordingly. God wants you to have integrity and to be a light in your sphere of influence. If you can do that as a doctor or farmer, I don’t think God would really care which. So long as you are basing your decisions on a vision of being used by Him, that is what is most important. Being in God’s will has always been a question of the heart rather than outward decisions. Decisions merely reflect that heart. If you make a choice prayerfully, unselfishly, seeking to please God, then you are very likely in His will.

    Jeb
    Reply
  • July 9, 2010

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    Reply
  • July 16, 2010

    Great text and nice site.

    Reply