23 Aug God’s Will and Human Responsibility
Decisions! Decisions!! Decisions!!! We all make so many decisions in our day to day lives. We often experience being at crossroads with multiple options when we take an important decision. The greatest decision we will ever make in our entire life is to receive Jesus Christ into our lives as our Saviour and Lord. This one single decision is bound to govern all our future decisions as He becomes the Lord of our lives. Jesus knocks at the door of our heart (Rev 3:20), but He neither opens the door nor forces himself in. He patiently waits and expects us to open the door of our heart from inside. We become a Christian when we renounce our will and submit ourselves to His will. This is exactly the meaning of opening the door of our heart!!
We need to align our will with the will of our Creator God as we cannot understand our future with our finite minds. We do not have the capacity to plan our lives. Our omniscient God in His infinite wisdom knows what is best for us now as He knows the next 50-60 years of our life. Learning to understand the will of God keeps us from spending our energies, efforts and time aimlessly. Obedience to the will of God causes great joy and peace while disobedience to same is sin. Obedience to His will is costly, but disobedience is costlier.
Famous theologian Dr. R. C. Sproul explained that God’s will can be explained at three levels.
The Decretive, Sovereign or Hidden will of God ordains everything that comes to pass. Whatsoever God decrees is hidden to us until it happens. It is God’s secret plan that determines everything that happens in the universe. We cannot miss it as it will always come to pass. We must receive God’s Sovereign will with a humble trust in Him.
The Preceptive, Moral or Revealed will of God is revealed in the law (precepts) and is very plain to us. This aspect is written and revealed in His inspired Word and God has also written His moral law in our conscience. We have the ability (but not the right) to break these commands. We must know His Word and obey it so that we may walk in holiness.
God’s Dispositional Will deals with His disposition or attitude. His will of disposition is what pleases or displeases Him. God is pleased when we find our pleasure in obedience and He is very displeased when we are disobedient. We must exercise freedom and wisdom.
The best time in learning God’s will is when we are in a closer walk and relationship with our saviour. We understand His will clearly when we are fully committed to do it. God will keep us guessing when He is sure that we will not obey His revelation. We can truly decipher God’s thoughts about us when we seek Him by holding on to the mirror – His Word and meditating on it regularly. The true mark of spirituality is seen in those seeking to know the will of God that is revealed in His preceptive will. Hence the primary way of knowing God’s Will is through God’s Word! God’s Word will never contradict God’s will. We must have a general understanding of how God works in our lives. We must also be willing to listen to wise counsel and take confirmation from others.
The other very important way of learning God’s will is when we spend time in His presence in prayer and seek to listen to His voice and leading. We are also led by God the Holy Spirit when we yield ourselves to be controlled by Him. We will have an assurance deep in our heart, of certain things bothering us when we are filled by the Spirit. When He guides us and we live in accordance to God’s Word, the events of our life are ordered by Him. He will cause many doors to open and others to be closed. He guides us through various circumstances in our life. God also speaks to us through mature believers who bring us His directions. He may speak through a Pastor’s message, a choir song or a Christian book which we are reading. Seek counsel from people who are prayerful, who know the Word of God and practicing Christians.
God also places a personal desire or burden within us in a certain direction that will accomplish His will and purpose. Most important is that God has given us a renewed mind that is intelligent. He has bestowed us with common sense that He expects us to use to make decisions. Believers are free to choose their course of action and must be responsible to ensure that it is within God’s preceptive will. The objective is to make wise decisions with God given wisdom, reasoning and mind. We need to humbly submit to the outworking of God’s sovereign will in all decisions. He has also specifically addressed many areas in the Bible and we must obey the revealed commands and principles.
God can reveal his direction to us through any one of the above ways. He will however confirm His direction for you in one or more of the other ways in case of confusion or ambiguity. God is not a sadist or a joy killer. He wants to give us the desire of our hearts, and the only reason why we don’t get it is because it may not be the best for us in the present time. Many times, it appears God is silent as He simply wants us to take the step of faith. Once we take that step, He unfolds the plan for us as we depend on Him to move ahead. God uses various means to communicate His mind to us and we must be very alert to feel His very gentle nudge or hear His still small voice.
It is very easy in learning to find God’s Will when compared with the difficulty in handling and obeying His will. The first step in handling God’s will is to pray and continually seek God’s wisdom and guidance in everything we do. The next step is to be obedient to the level what God has already shown or revealed to you. We must be willing to change ourself and adapt ourselves to be willing to rearrange our priorities that we glorify God in everything we do. We will be able to accept God’s perspective in our life when we have saturated ourself with the Word of God. We find obeying His will for our lives possible as we continue to listen and learn from the examples of others.
I would like to conclude with a quote from the well-known missionary Jim Elliot who said, “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with him”. When we have a heart willing to do God’s will, He will reveal it to us in ways we understand. When we continue to obey, He will reveal more of Himself to us. We will grow in spiritual maturity and will not be surprised or caught unaware by the sovereign acts of God in our lives. I invite you to join many of our fore-fathers in UESI who have studied in the school of obedience and have left a trail for us to follow. Let us give up what we are holding away from Him and let God.
Emmanuel Pilli and Phoebe Vanmathy
Emmanuel Pilli is faculty with NIT Jaipur. Phoebe teaches Maths in a High School. They are blessed with a daughter Pramiti Evangeline who has just started her class IX. They are active members of Jaipur EGF.