You’d think by now I’d have this down.
Making decisions and finding God’s will.
Is that what you mean by “being at a crossroads?”
Yeah, I have some decisions to make, and it’s kind of a mixed bag. Some really good things and some really challenging things, either way I go.
But I don’t want to just do what I want to do. I want to do God’s will.
As opposed to your will?
Yes. I know that he speaks through my desires. But even that’s mixed up right now.
And you need Him to sort all that out for you?
Sorta like those neon arrows on the highway at night that say, “Stop here?”
Boy, wouldn’t that be awesome?
Sure. But I figure we’d find a way to ignore that, too.
Yeah, you’re probably right.
Anyway, He’s already told you what His will is.
What do you mean?
Ever hear the phrase, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus?”
Of course. First Thessalonians.
So maybe if you can know what comes before that, you can hone in on God’s will.
I know what comes before that… “In everything give thanks.”
True. But just for laughs, look at the whole verse: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Okay, so I understand that I’m supposed to do those things. But how does that help me know what to do about these other decisions?
I think you’re missing the point.
What point? “Do these things because God wants you to.” Obedience. I get it.
Okay, Mister Pharisee.
Okay, look. First, God’s will is always expressed to us “in Christ Jesus.” Think about it – He’s invested the life of His Son into us – His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and authority. There is no understanding the will of God without Christ being the central focus of that.
And I really am grateful for that.
I believe you. So in a major sense, what we call “finding God’s will” is what Jesus called, “follow Me.”
Well that’s great for choosing between driving drunk on Saturday night or going to church on Sunday morning. But what about two seemingly good choices?
What does it mean to follow somebody?
To go where you see them going. Same direction. Keep them close.
How do I know where Jesus is going?
Fair question. I guess you’ll have to be looking more at Him than at the choices you have to make. And maybe it will help to look back at some of the places and directions he went when He was on earth. Oh, and there’s that other little thing.
That whole thing about where He sent us.
All the world, preach the gospel and all that?
Yeah, I figure whatever decision you make, His end game is to somehow make a connection between Him and the world. But there’s another thing about God’s will there.
Well, think about it. God’s will is expressed in terms of attitudes and relationships. God wants us to have joyful, prayerful, thankful dispositions.
Well I’d be a whole lot more joyful if I could figure out what to do!
That’s not how it works.
What do you mean?
The joy comes first.
I’m supposed to be joyful and thankful in my confusion?
You’re supposed to be joyful and thankful in the things you know. Remember, it’s all “in Christ Jesus.” And you stay connected to all that by “praying without ceasing.”
All day communion?
All day communion.
Is that what “being filled with the Spirit is?”
Partly. Same goes for “abiding in Christ.” Those are all expressions of enjoying a relationship with Christ based on grace. You don’t do something. You receive it. In a real sense, you let it come to you. And that leads me to another thought…
I think it’s fair to assume that God’s will is also expressed in terms of experiences and results. He wants us to experience joy, communion with Him, and profound gratitude.
All the time?
Well, let’s see… “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in everything…” Yeah, I’d say all the time.
But I’m not always joyful, thankful, or prayerful.
Neither am I. But I don’t think that changes what God wants us to experience. It’s always there for the asking.
So if that’s the will of God for us, how do we experience or enter into it?
By choosing to.
I’m trying to! I just need to know which of these choices is going to produce the most joy, I guess.
You still have it backwards. Choosing joy means doing it, not just when it’s convenient, but always choosing to be happy (that’s what the word literally means). If you wait for the circumstances to provide you with joy, you’ve missed the greatest opportunity of all.
The opportunity to experience Christ standing with you there at your point of confusion.
Oh… and the opportunity to enjoy him by continuing in prayer – not just at prescribed, religious times, but in a constant state….
You’re getting it. The joy is in the fact that even there – even when you don’t know what to do yet – He’s not going to leave you.
Even if I make the wrong choice?
Especially if you make the wrong choice.
And giving thanks?
You choose to give thanks in everything – not just what pleases for the moment, but for the fact that whatever you’re experiencing in the moment, you do so from the perspective of being “in Christ.”
That’s why I can say “thank You” even in a time of grief?
Especially then. Because even then, you are safe in the arms and the heart of Someone who understands.
Thanks, man. This is good.
Is that helpful?
In more ways than you know. I actually think I know which way to go now.
Are you gentlemen ready to order?
Yeah, I think so. I’ll have the Thanksgiving Special.
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