Prayer, Open Theism and a really hard Sunday School Lesson

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Sometimes I really want to stop in the middle of a lesson and take a picture and then show everyone I am teaching what they look like and then ask, “So, what are you thinking?”

Well, at the apex/end of a short overview of the Old Testament wisdom literature and the biblical teaching on wisdom in general, we took two weeks in my Sunday School class on the will of God – defining and determining, last week and this week respectively. As I bit off a 16lb bite of the hamburger this last week, I realized that it would be better if I wrote a bit more to explain a bit more clearly.

Get slideshow here if you want: Will of God

So . . . This week we asked the question, “How can I determine the will of God for my life?” Now it is implicit in this question that there are several questions here – “What is God’s will for the (vocation) of my life?”; “What does God want me to do about ‘x’?”; “Who does God want me to marry?”; “Does God want me to ‘a, b or c’?”; etc. There is an almost infinite list of questions from the idealistic purpose of our lives to a moment where we might ask, “What does God will here?”

Now the Approach that I took is laid out as follows:

1. Wisdom has at its basis the fear and knowledge of God. (Proverbs 9:10) Without that at the heart, there is no wisdom – no wisdom, no applying truth correctly.

2. Wisdom has as its purpose God as the means AND the end. It is not just a “blessing” that God gives us so we can get a bunch of other stuff that will (no doubt) only compete for our attention – the things as the end serve only to eclipse the glory of God in our sin-cataracted gaze. God is the Gospel – God is the Goal.

3. Keeping this (#2) as the center and primacy of ALL we do is the key. It is not just “home base” where we go to refresh ourselves so we can get back to “real life.” No this IS real life. (Phil. 1:21)

4. So, the first part of God’s will for our lives is the same for all of His children.

•Saved (Eph. 1:5) •Sanctified (1 Thess 4:3) •Submissive (Romans 12:2) •Spirit-Filled (Romans 8:26-27) •Suffering (1 Peter 4:19) •Satisfied (1 Thess. 5:18) (Borrowed from John MacArthur’s: “Found- God’s Will”

5. The particulars/details (what job we work, where we live, who we marry, what our favorite color is, what we wear to church, where our kids go to school) are of little relative importance, but they do matter.

6. So, if we are really experiencing the realities of God’s clear will for our lives as seen above in #4, and the details are not the main point, then wisdom would tell us to focus on the point (Prov. 9:10) and then when faced with a decision, just make it.

7. Let me explain a bit more. If the things above are evident in your life, then you would be a Godly person. A Godly person wants, looks for, runs to godly things. If you are walking with the Spirit, then you will be drawn to spiritual things. This is what is meant by Psalms 37:4. If we are delighting in the Lord, then He will give us the desires of our hearts BECAUSE the desires of the one who is delighting in the LORD,  IS the LORD!

This is the essential process, yet this is not absent of the other clear counsel of wisdom found already in the text. Ask other godly people for advice. Depend on others. Count the cost. Seek first the Kingdom. These will always season us “just making the decision.”

Walk with God and then what God wants you to do will be much clearer. Otherwise we are relying on perversions of texts (putting out fleeces), or syncretistic (Christ+karma) confusion or any number of man formulated methods of “determining/discovering God’s will.”

Best plan – get in the Light so you can see, hear and follow. The rest will work out.

It will.

Well, I didn’t get the the caveat about prayer and Open Theism – next post. 😉