Faith Self-Management

Is It God’s Will to Have a Beer?

Ask that of a guy who frequents the bar and his answer is a resounding “YES!”  Ask that of a man who has seen the ravaging effects of alcohol on those he loves and his answer is a resounding “NO!”  Can they both be right?

This is less about alcohol and more about discerning God’s will. How do you know what God’s will is in the first place?  I recall sitting in a college class at the church I attended during my university days. The teacher was a professor from campus speaking on God’s will.  “95% of God’s will is already spelled out in the Bible,” he explained.  From there, here rattled off example after example of God’s will.  

1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,

A quick look at the Old Testament sends us to the Ten Commandments. Here are 5 of them from Exodus 20. Each, God’s will for you and me. 

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Anyone of a sound mind would not argue against these being God’s will for your life.  The question is about the things the Bible is silent on.  

God’s Will is Not a Series of Dots

I used to think that God’s will was a series of dots to connect. So long as I did the right things and connect those dots, I was in God’s will and all would turn out good for me.  If I missed a dot, then like the game Monopoly I’d be sent back to the beginning. One wrong move and I was toast.  To be honest, living with that idea of God’s will was stressful. It made everything about behavior instead of the heart. What I said, how I looked, where I was, all played into God’s will, or so I thought.

God’s Will is a Box

When Jesus died on the cross, he fulfilled God’s law. He satisfied the ceremonial law and opened the door for us to live by grace. As Galatians 5:1 says

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Think of God’s will as a box. The sides of the box are his moral fence. Things like the Ten Commandments are still in place. They form the moral fence God asks us not to cross because He loves us.  Cross over those lines and you are outside God’s will. Sin is outside God’s will. It is not God’s will for you to murder, steal, or bear false witness. I don’t need to pray whether that is God’s will for me. It is not. Never has been, never will be. 

But what about things inside the box? 

How do I know if my choices are in God’s will? Anything inside the box is God’s will. In Christ, you are free from the bondage of sin. You are no longer obligated to sin. Christ defeated sin once for all. If you choose to sin, it’s your will going against God’s will. Yes, the Gospel offers forgiveness for all who repent. This is why there will be all kinds of sinners in heaven. Repentant murderers, repentant thieves, repentant adulterers, repentant heterosexuals, repentant homosexuals, repentant liars.

But, What about having a Beer?

I used to associate certain behaviors with whether I was a “good Christian boy”.  If I did things the Bible was silent about, but the Christian subculture I lived in said was wrong, then it must be wrong. Legalism ties extrabiblical behaviors to one’s salvation.  If you had a beer, you must not be saved. Granted, the Bible does say drunkenness is a sin, but nowhere does it say to have a beer is a sin.  Unless you consider it a sin.

Romans 14:5 Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind

Romans 14:14  I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.

It is not a sin to have a beer, for example, UNLESS you think it is unclean for you; then it is a sin, for you.  This is why your brother, who loves Jesus, may be able to have a beer and not sin, but for you to would be. You both love Jesus. You are both equal heirs with Jesus. So, what’s the deal? The deal is which part of the box you prefer to live in. Both of you are in God’s will, whether you drink a beer or not. 

Don’t Throw Me Under the Bus!

Beer or not, if you both love Jesus, there is no place to judge each other. Respect each other’s choice and do not base the validity of one’s salvation on their choice. There are far greater issues at hand than our personal preferences. Romans 14:17 says 

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

It is very small-minded of me to get bent out of shape because you had a beer. Instead, my greater desire for you should be to see you grow in the Holy Spirit. Seeing the fruit of the Spirit manifested in you increasingly is far greater use of my time as I invest in your life.  Sidenote: The Bible is clear that God doesn’t want anyone getting drunk. That is a sin. So, if you are my brother in Jesus and you are headed toward inberation, it is my duty to intervene, because I love you.

And, What About Tattoos?

One of the young men I mentor got a tattoo. When you look at Scripture and the freedom we have in Christ, a tattoo becomes a choice in God’s will one can make. It isn’t for everyone, just like having a beer isn’t. Through many discussions, searching Scripture and his own heart, he decided that getting one would be done out of faith and could be a testimony of his life in Christ. He tried out temporary tattoos first and then went for it. Did he lose his salvation because he got a tattoo?  Did he somehow lose social points because he now has inked skin?  His tattoo says “Doulos Estin Christou”  Bondservant of Christ. 

It’s All About Wisdom

God’s will is not a series of dots. It’s about supernatural wisdom. It’s about hearing God’s heart on a matter, which will ALWAYS be rooted and found in Scripture. God’s will is always bathed with grace and not legalism. His will is to initiate your heart. To restore wounds in your soul that causes you to mishandle life. 

Three Essentials in Discerning God’s Will

1. Is God OK with your choice?  Is there anything in Scripture that clearly says NO? Romans 14:12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

2 Are you OK with your choice?  That is, is it done out of faith or rebellion? Romans 14:23

But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

3. Will it help or hinder others in their walk with Jesus?  Wisdom says that even if you can answer the first two questions positively, it is better to refrain than to cause your friend to stumble.  Extend grace to each other. Romans 14:13 

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

So, is it God’s will for you to have a beer?

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of www.Mentoring-Warriors.com. Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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