What message is God not sending you about a particular problem that you are facing?
Does He think you are disobedient?
Does He think you are not attuned to His will?
Are you displeasing to God?
Is God manipulating you?
Dr. Willard says no to all of this. He discounts all our worries in the words “God does not play little games of hide and seek with us… He is not frivolous or coy; He will not tease or torture us…there is no mysterious catch to receiving His word for us, no riddle to solve, no incantation to get just right….We must make a point of not thinking of Him in terms of human beings…who may have enjoyed tricking us.”
What is going on?
An answer is that it may be God’s will that we decide instead of having God give us a word and that word decides for us.
Does this mean that God does not care about us and our concerns? No, it merely means that He wants to see how we will choose to carry out our lives. In essence, God says “My will for you is that you decide on your own.”
What is happening is the construction of a person’s character in God’s kingdom. The following quote from John Wood Oman is tough to understand until you parse it. “We can only be absolutely dependent upon God as we are absolutely independent in our own souls.” To have a soul that is dependent totally on God is to have a life that is not a life of choices. God does all the choosing for you. “A saved soul, in other words, is a soul true to itself because, with its mind on God’s will of love and not on itself, it stands in God’s world unbribable and undismayed.” A person who is saved and is making choices is honestly doing God’s work because that person wants to. The choices are clear; the actions are real; God has not intervened but His work is being done anyway.
The last phrase is the most telling: [the person’s soul is] “having freedom as it has piety and piety as it is free.” In other words, the believer has total freedom due to excellent choices.
Galatians 2:20 is illustrated in this process…”I live! Yet not I, but Christ lives in me.”
Dr. Willard says this character building shows the fullest expression of an individual’s human personality.
I like the way Dr. Willard elaborates on our choosing. It is like a child who is turned loose to do what he or she wants. The choices the child makes reveals the person that the child is going to be.
To be a mature Christian is to make excellent choices.
So many people are scared to death to choose anything. They are obsessed with being right all the time. If they are right, they are safe. They wait upon the word from God as their deciding word. Maybe this person is thinking God is a tyrant who will mete down severe punishment for bad choices. Maybe this person is afraid to make choices because they don’t want to be responsible for their actions.
Dr. Willard says this approach to decision-making is not respectful to God; the hesitant decider is harboring a low opinion of God.
I simply love the way Dr. Willard cites Pastor Bud Robinson’s story about the widow’s suits. Her husband died and she called up Pastor Bud. She reported to him that “God told me that I should give my husband’s suits to you.” Then she said that she would like for the pastor to come over and try on the suits. His very intelligent reply was that will not be necessary: “If God told you to give them to me, they’ll fit.”
What is the point?
God has a plan and we need to accept it. If God intends us to be decision-makers and have growth through the decision making process, that’s good enough.
Make the decision.
Don’t try to hedge your bets by waiting for God.
Don’t play waiting games because you are afraid to make a mistake.
Don’t avoid responsibility by trying to shove that off on God.
Believe in a competent God.
Come on folks. Maybe we don’t know what we are doing but…