Monthly Archives: December 2014

God does not care about what you do, part 4

To summarize: most Christians in my experience get hung up on what God’s will for their life is. And yet, what they mean by “God’s will” is not what God means by God’s will. God’s will in the Bible is either His sovereign plan to make everything glorify Jesus (Eph 1.9-11) or His desire for all human beings to obey Him and glorify Him in everything (Deut 6.4 and 1 Cor 10.31).

What most Christians seem to get hung up on are wisdom issues. “Is it God’s will for me to marry this person?” should better be worded “is it wisest in God’s eyes to marry this person?” Doesn’t that just make the whole endeavor feel different?

At the end of the day, wisdom is also a God’s will issue because if you choose between something that is wise and unwise, all of a sudden it becomes clear what God’s will is: love God and glorify Him by choosing what is wise!

Here are some principles for decision making that I will put out there, and perhaps you can add to this list:

  • It is God’s will that you do what is wisest
  • There may be (and probably is) more than one equally wise course of action
  • Wisdom requires the hard work of thinking
  • Wisdom requires knowing your bible
  • Wisdom is not “Lord, tell me what to do” and expect Him to miraculously and authoritatively and unmistakably tell you what to do (Could God do that? Of course, He’s God! But that is not getting wisdom. That’s getting miraculous prophecy.)
  • Use the wisdom of others
  • Know who your God-ordained authorities are, and in most cases, listen to and obey them (God gives us pastors and parents as a gift in wisdom issues)
  • Never violate your conscience
  • It is unwise to do nothing because you are waiting to “hear from God” on what to do

Worship is not singing

Singing is a form of worship, but worship is more than singing. I am pretty sure most of you know that, and yet, it is so common to hear Christians say, “I love the worship at this church” when of course they mean, “I love the music/singing.” I think it is a crucial issue to get right.

What if I thought sex could be equated with marriage? “Honey, I love our marriage. I love every time we marry! OK, now let’s go have some quality time at the beach.”

Would that fly? Of course not! And yet, Christians say, “yeah, yeah, I know worship is more than just the music, but you know what I mean.” The reason that is not helpful is because you know how close to the heart of God worship is. Every time you open your Bible you cannot go very far without hearing the idea that God loves the worship and devotion and affection of Christians. So when you throw the word ‘worship’ around inaccurately, it makes music more than it is supposed to be, and makes prayers and Scripture reading and the preaching of the Word less than it is supposed to be.

Hear me correctly: corporate singing is a part of corporate worship (a non-negotiable part I think). But that is not all there is to corporate worship. Just like sex is a part of marriage. But clearly, there is more to marriage than that. And just as your spouse would almost be offended to think that you nearly equate sex with marriage, how do you think God feels when we equate singing with worship?

God does not care about what you do, part 3

Christians get hung up on “what is God’s will for my life?” It preoccupies so many Christian lives. And it is based on a misunderstanding of God’s will. God does not care about what you do in the way most think. As I said last time, the first way God talks about His will is that His one will for all of human history is to glorify Christ (Ephesians 1.9-10). So in that sense, no one should ever ask “was it God’s will for this or that to happen?” If it happened, it was God’s will!

The other way God talks about His will is in terms of what His desire is for His people. As 1 Corinthians 10.31 would say, “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.” Stop.

You know that verse. And you probably think, “yeah, yeah, I know we must do everything for His glory.” Yes, but do you notice how Paul says ‘whether you eat or drink or whatever you do”? It does not matter what you do! In other words, God does not care about what you do…as long as it is for His glory.

In practical terms, God’s Law is His will. Whatever He commands, we must do. And then everything else that does not have moral implications– what to eat (He does not say “thou shall eat burgers today”), what to wear, where to live, what job to take— do it for the glory of God. It is doing things for His glory that is commanded in the Law– not what to eat or where to live.

So when you need to pray “about something” that prayer should be “Lord help me to find in your Word whether this is pleasing to you or not.” And if it does not have any moral implications, then “Lord, please help me to do this for your glory.” Simple. No need to get preoccupied with things the Bible does not.

My guess as to why so many get hung up on “what to eat and where to live” is twofold: one, they unwittingly are seeking the most problem-free, blessing-filled life possible, and unless they are sure they will have that, they do not want to move forward. My response to that is twofold: one, that is selfish. Two, you may be disobedient by wasting your time waiting to find that problem-free, blessing-filled life. You are not that different from the sluggard who makes excuses to not go outside (Proverbs 26.13).

The other, less problematic reason for getting hung up on these kinds of things is that there are many gray areas in life. There are many decisions that are important that require much biblical wisdom. And that is what I will try to address next time.

God does not care about what you do, part 2

Last time I said Christians seem hung up on praying to know God’s will for their life. That is the wrong way to pray if you are praying, “is it your will for me to do this or that?” That makes God’s will sound mysterious.

But in the NT, God’s will is never mysterious. Ephesians 1.9 is an example of this. God “made known to us the mystery of his will.” In other words, God’s will used to be a mystery. But it is mysterious no longer.

The passage goes on to say that we now understand that God’s will has always been to have all of history point to Christ, and God works all things in creation to make that happen (vv10-11). So this is first and foremost (I repeat: first and foremost) God’s will in the Bible.

What is God’s will for your life? Wrong question! God does not care about individual lives in that way. All of God’s affections and thoughts and actions are for His one will for all of human beings and all of human history and all of creation– to make everything glorify Jesus.