Friday, July 18, 2008

Finding the Will of God

My wonderful wife brought Jeannie Fulbright's excellent series of articles about creative vs academic writing to my attention this week. After reading them, I rolled back to her article from 7/14 on the topic of letting God direct our footsteps through the leading of the Holy Spirit. Now, it just happens that Donna and I are attending a Sunday school class based on the book Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen, and becoming more and more convinced of his arguments each week.

It prompted me to post the following comment in response to Jeannie. I realize I have not intensively researched the "traditional view" (as Friesen calls it) about waiting for a prompting or peace from God to lead to or confirm a decision, so my request for scriptural support for this standpoint is genuine.

So without further commentary, here's what I asked Jeannie:

Hi Jeannie, I wonder if you can help me out with something. In this article, you said, "It's hard to find true peace and joy when we are not following the narrow path marked out for our family. That narrow path may include putting your children in school - but it may not. The key is to find out - not by human reason, but through the leadership of the Holy Spirit (Who leads with confidence and peace)," and, "God has a perfect course for your family, and He longs to direct your steps."

Can you please provide some scriptural support for this notion that God has one particular, "perfect" path for an individual or family? And that He will make that perfect will known to believers through a feeling of peace? I don't see it in the scriptures, myself. I have done a brief word study on peace and find several references to a spiritual peace given by God to those who through faith rely upon Him for their needs and safety (Ps 25:13 says "His soul shall dwell at ease", Ps 4:8 says "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety", and Phil 4:6&7 says Christians should not worry about their needs because "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" ), but I find nothing supporting this common christian notion that God leads us through life or major life decisions by way of nudgings or even "confidence and peace," as you put it.

Even the scripture you cited, 2Tim 1:7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind," actually seems to oppose your assertion that "the key is find out - not by human reason, but through the leadership of the Holy Spirit." Isn't a sound mind the basis for proper reasoning (based on God's revealed will within His word)? In fact, I believe Jam 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him," indicates that we are to pray for God to give us wisdom, not peace or leading, does it not?

Please understand that I am not arguing that you gave the homeschooling lady the wrong advice (to persevere). I am just having difficulty with the reasons you gave her. If you know of scriptures that support this standpoint, I would genuinely appreciate hearing them.

Jeannie responded (actually very quickly) with a fairly lengthy and encouraging post including many scripture references. Now I need to make time to examine them all in context. On first blush, however, I noted that several references were either taken out of context or quite loosely interpreted. Others, however, did seem to support her viewpoint so the jury is still out on this.

1 comment:

Tirzah said...

Thanks for writing this.