DISCERNING GOD'S WILL, G Columbus asks some questions
We interviewed for a new job in Madison, Wisconsin this last week but increasingly, we seem to be moving in the direction of staying put in Columbus, OH. The entire exercise made me think again about the recurring issue of how to seek and know God’s will for our lives. I have a few thoughts on this matter but would like to first hear some input. Specifically, the question that I pose for discussion is based on Proverbs 3, versus 5 and 6,
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
There are problems with the traditional methods that we depend on for guidance. I will mention a few
1. Wisdom through the counsel of many. This is helpful, but not infallible. Why? Because the counsel we receive is very much determined by the way we present a problem—how much weight we assign to particular pros and cons. Also the counsel of humans may not reflect God’s will. I am sure the disciples if asked about the cross, would have counseled Jesus to avoid it, like Peter did.
2. Guidance through prophecy/signs. This is again, useful but not infallible. Even when established to be from God, the interpretation of the prophecy and thespecific action called for by such guidance may not be straightforward. Remember the prophet Agabus who warned about what was about to happen to the Apostle Paul if he went on to Jerusalem. How many of us given that prophecy would have gone to Jerusalem anyway? It appears, therefore, that Paul had an inner compass or calling that led him to interpret the prophecy in a manner different from the way most else would have so that he went to Jerusalem despite the prophetic warning.
3. Discernment through expediency of circumstance. This is the argument that things have fallen so nicely in place that our only conclusion has to be that our decision/situation must be God’s will. David did not follow this prescription. When Saul essentially fell into his hands, he did not take advantage of his situation or justify murder by recalling Saul’s wickedness or the promise given to David that he himself would be king. Some must have argued that in doing so, he let the “golden opportunity” slip away. Again, it appears that an inner compass guided him away from this course of action. There are other things I want to say but I will first wait to hear from you guys. God bless. - Gauis Columbus