Thoughts on Spiritual Decision MakingPosted: April 24, 2011
Over the next few days I’m faced with a pretty significant decision, which has me thinking a lot about spiritual decision making in general, and the criteria for making wise choices. So much discussion among believers seems to have to do with the will of God, and finding what it is for my life, specifically. What with my activities over the past two years, and my upcoming graduation, spiritual decision making is a pretty hot button issue for me.
I’m going to blog out loud as I consider some of the aspects of spiritual decision making that I feel are important. Hopefully by putting these thoughts down I can clarify them in my own mind, and perhaps be of benefit to someone else.
One of the first things that comes to mind is that it is easy to become discouraged or frantic about this topic. I think that in general people have been taught to believe that God has a specific will for each person, and that person’s responsibility is to figure out what God’s specific will is for them so that they can do it. If they do, they will live happy and fulfilled lives; if they don’t, the consequences will be disastrous.
I’ll just say up front that i don’t agree with this general approach. I’m not sure where it comes from, but I think part of it has to do with a failure to recognize the ad hoc nature of Scripture. Everything that you read in the Bible was written for you, but it wasn’t all written to you, and it certainly wasn’t all written about you. I think that most people understand that the words “Make thee an ark of gopher wood” or “I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt” don’t apply specifically to us. But the fact that they are there at all can throw us. If God told Noah what to do, specifically… if he told Moses what to do, specifically… and on, and on, and on… does that mean he’ll tell me?
We’ve been taught to think the answer is yes, but again, I disagree. For at least three reasons. First, everybody doesn’t seem to have had access to this kind of guidance, even in Scripture. Second, nowhere in Scripture does God promise that he will do anything like this for every individual. Third, if this were happening, there’d be a lot less books being written about the subject.
Bottom line: God may have a specific will for my life, but nothing in Scripture indicates that He is going to tell me what it is.
So, given a lack of specifics, I have to rely on the general principles I can read in Scripture, and trust God to give me wisdom to apply them in my own life and decision-making process.
I’ll start laying out some of those principles in the next few posts. Happy to hear your thoughts.