I have a son who wants a perfect job. He is gainfully employed and has been since graduating college but after a year or so, he feels the need to move on to other employment.
For the purposes of illustration, let’s say he is a praying Christian.
He has been talking to God about the direction of his life. He has prayed for perfect employment.
He keeps praying and praying. The job has not presented itself.
What is wrong?
Like my son, do you pray for specific things in your life?
A new direction for employment? A person who will come into your life and be your partner? A decision about where to go to school?
Some people ask specific questions and they want specific answers.
Final Question Number 4 is: If God does not give you a specific answer about a specific question does that mean that you are not living in God’s perfect will?
There is more to this question than meets the eye.
What is this perfect will? Romans 12:2 gives us a scriptural reference: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
In essence, if we turn our backs to worldly concerns and allow God to enter our lives, we will be transformed through the “renewing” of our minds. Then we will be able to experience God’s perfect will.
There are many references to God’s will in the Bible but Dr. Willard refers to perfect will, a level of knowledge of God that I would assume all serious Christians would want to attain.
But back to the question; if God does not give you a specific answer about a specific question does that mean that you are not living in God’s perfect will?
Dr. Willard says “most assuredly it does not” [Willard, 206].
He states that we should not blame a lack of a word from God on our “wrongness.” This idea is a human idea. So many of us see life as black and white, right and wrong, when it is not. God has a multi-faceted, complex approach to our world and His ways are not our ways. Dr. Willard says God can and will give specific directions to those He wants to give them to, but perhaps He does not desire to give them. Maybe it is best that He not be specific.
Have you ever considered the fact that our choosing without God’s direction is the “perfect” scenario for a Father who wants us to learn how to choose without His intervention? “It is perhaps more perfect precisely because He saw no need for precise dictation” [Willard, 206-07].
Also, several different courses of action occur in every circumstance. Several different choices could be pleasing to God. If you are in God’s general will, you will pick one that is pleasing to God and you won’t need His directives.
As we have seen throughout this book, we just want the easy answer. We want the confirmation. We want to see far down the road we are getting ready to take, even though we have to walk in faith.
We want to know!
Because we are insecure in our faith.
“The sincere seeker should assume that this [a number of alternatives] is so and should move forward with faith in God if no specific word comes on the matter concerned after a reasonable period of time” [Willard, 207].
How can we feel assured that we can do this?
It happens if you are a mature Christian.
A mature Christian gets on with the work of God. Dr. Willard references William Carey who said [a mature Christian] “attempts great things for God and expects great things from God.”
Maturity does not require assurance.
The mature Christian has it already.
Mature Christians are not obsessed with doing the right thing. They know what is right.
They know because they are used to being immersed in the flow of God’s life; they experience the good-hearted companionship of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.
Maybe you are not there yet. You still need specific answers. You need assurance. Don’t give up. God wants you to experience the flow of a life lived with Him at the center.
Maybe you can have it…
Maybe it can start with your next decision.