Sometimes in our house we have confusion! Our family is busy and active and sometimes communication is difficult. Both of my sons have worked very hard this summer. Over Labor Day weekend we had a communication mix up. A family wanted my sons to work for them. My sons thought I wanted even insisted that they take the job. I was simply passing on the phone number to them! Thankfully we all laughed about the incident- several hours later.
Communication is very important. It is critical that we hear the voice of God. How does God speak to us? How do we understand and know God’s will for our lives? Knowing God’s will boils down to understanding three key ideas.
First, theologians talk about the decretive will of God. The decretive will of God is the future. Who will be elected in November? Will the stock market go up or down? Should I buy a new vehicle? God’s future decretive will is secret. No one knows the future except God Himself. Apart from eschatology in the Bible we do not know the future. Many people claim to know the future but they do not know the future. The future belongs to God.
God has revealed many things about the future. One person said that twenty five percent of the Bible deals with future things. Everything we know about the future is found in the Bible. I love the Book of Revelation. Revelation begins with, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Revelation 1:3). God encourages us to understand the future by studying His Word.
Second, theologians talk about the preceptive will of God. The preceptive will of God is the Bible. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” We are to read and understand God’s truth and obey it.
For instance, the Bible commands us to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). We must trust the Lord Jesus for salvation! Jesus died for us on the cross. He suffered the Father’s wrath for our sins. He offers salvation to us. We are also commanded to be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We are commanded to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13:1-7). God’s will is clear in the Bible.
We often say, “If your Bible is falling apart your life won’t be.” Every time we open the Bible God speaks to us. Every time we close the Bible God stops speaking. Our focus must be to understand and obey God’s Word. We are even commanded, “Let the Word of Christ richly dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). Scripture must be at home in our minds. It must richly dwell within us.
Be careful. This is not mysticism. Mysticism is subjective. Mysticism is impressions. It is thoughts, dreams and ethereal. God’s will is concrete and objective and solid. For example, should I steal? No. The eighth commandment says, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15). God’s will is clearly defined in Scripture.
Third, do whatever you want! If you are meditating on Scripture and obeying God’s Word, use your mind and follow your desires. If the Bible does not forbid it and your mind is saturated with truth pursue your desires and dreams.
For example, my son is fifteen. In the spring he said, “Dad, I want to start a lawn mowing business.” Was this God’s will for his life or not? We prayed and asked for God’s direction. We didn’t go down the route of mysticism. We didn’t look for subjective feelings or impressions. My son is a follower of Jesus. He desires to obey the Bible. There is nothing in the Bible that commands or forbids a lawn mowing business! He desired to do this. He put an ad on Facebook, his phone rang off the hook and he was busy this summer!
My family and I are building a small home. Earlier this summer we wrestled with the question, “Is this God’s will for us or not?” There is no verse in the Bible that clearly commands us to build a house in the summer of 2020! The Bible does encourage us to take risks and move forward (Ecclesiastes 11:1) and not be lazy (Proverbs 22:13). We are building and trusting God to bless it.
God does not stutter or stammer. His will is clear. We are to understand it. The Bible is the greatest Book. We need to read it and obey it! God has given us minds. We are to use them! Let’s avoid mysticism and go deep into Scripture and understand God’s will.
Ethan Hansen is a pastor at Faith Bible Fellowship in Big Lake.