Which Way God? Letter to a Warrior

Dear Warrior,

Thoughts on discerning God’s Will.  I remember many nights lying in bed, staring at the ceiling wondering, worrying, praying for God to tell me what to do.  Usually, there was a decision to make and I either had too many choices or none. What’s a guy to do? If I choose A, will that send me off into some regretful oblivion?  If I choose B, will I be doomed to some insane reality? When it came to dating girls, it was this proverbial, I like you… but how do I know if you are the right one?  My hormones say you are but everyone knows hormones are a poor judge of what’s best.  My introverted nature kept me thinking life was a glass-half-empty.  Hope ran thin. Insecurities escalated and my self-confidence was shaky at best.

Then, a shift happened in how I came to understand God’s Will.  His will is NOT a series of dots to connect. It’s more like a box. The dot theory has been pushed in evangelical circles for decades, if not centuries. It comes from this idea that God’s will is singular in nature. It’s a single linear path and if you are not on it, or mis-step you are out of His will and your life is basically toast from then on.  I married the wrong girl. I took the wrong job. I bought the wrong car. I, I, I.  

Box theory is different.  Christ fulfilled the ceremonial and sacrificial laws through His life and sacrifice. Sin is atoned for!  Freedom in Christ is for ALL who believe! Not freedom to do as you please, but the freedom to now live a life yielded to Him. The Holy Spirit living the life of Christ THROUGH you!  Galatians 2:20 says it all… 

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

What shifted for me is that I don’t have to try harder, rather my call is to yield more to the Lord. Not David, but Christ in David.

So, God’s will as a box means that His moral will is still intact and God’s will is we live by His moral will.  Think of a box where the walls are God’s moral fences. You are free in Christ to go and do anything within the vast box and be in His will. The issue in this is just because it’s in the box doesn’t mean it’s automatically what you should do. People who take the idea that they have tons of choices fall into FOMO.  Fear of Missing Out. It’s now been called a psychological anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website. The key is wisdom.

Examples.

Obvious things that are NOT in God’s Will for you.

  • Stealing a guy’s wallet
  • Having any sex outside of marriage, with someone else or yourself.
  • Living with unforgiveness in your heart.
  • Getting drunk, high or anything that loses self-control
  • Falsifying school records
  • Not paying your taxes

Each of those examples is outside of God’s Will for you, for anyone, believer or not.  And, yet, Christ-followers fall into those ALL the time.

What is in God’s Will for you?

  • Call to worship Christ for who He is
  • Discovering your Unique Kingdom Voice; how God has wired you and being a good steward of those talents.
  • Living out the truths of Scripture such as  Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  It’s God’s will that you speak and conduct yourself in a way that reflects Christ.  In other words, as you are yielded to Christ, what comes out of your mouth will reflect the Spirit.
  • You treating a woman with the grace of Christ and does nothing that would even be a hint of disrespect or sexually immoral.

Maybe those are obvious. 

The other aspect I mentioned is wisdom.  There is a direct connection between godly wisdom and living by the Spirit.  A man yielded to Christ will not perfectly but increasingly be in the Word. The more he is the more the Spirit gives him inner wisdom on the choices he makes. That, coupled with having godly men around you, who can walk with you through decisions will help ensure you are increasingly living in God’s will.

There is a book by Kevin DeYoung called Just Do Something, which is a great read on discovering God’s will by wisdom.  I’d highly recommend you read it.

These may sound like odd issues, but in mentoring a lot of young guys, these come up a lot.

Is it God’s will 

  • for me to get a tattoo?
  • for me to get piercings?
  • I buy that Honda or the VW?
  • I take the job offer in Chicago or the one in Bismarck, ND?
  • I marry this girl?

Proverbs has a wealth of wisdom. So does Romans 14.  

Essentially, the three questions are:

  1. Is God OK with my choice?  Is there a moral line I’ve crossed?  Is there wisdom from Him I am ignoring?
  2. If God is OK with my choice, am I doing it out of faith or rebellion?  This is a BIG deal. Anything NOT done out of faith is a sin.
  3. IF God is OK and I’m doing it by faith, then will my choice help or hinder others in their walk with Jesus?

God’s wisdom is never meant to restrain us but to free us. It reinforces the purposes of God in our lives. Even if in your choosing things backfire: that job you took in Bismarck turned out to be a disaster, that car you bought became a lemon, that girl you married, it turns she lied to you, in that she was not a virgin like she led you to believe. NONE of that puts you outside God’s will.  He will by his sovereignty, use all things to draw you closer to Him; to shape you more into a man after God. 

There’s a man, mid-twenties, I met recently. After two years of marriage, his wife has gone off the deep end, walked away from Jesus. They are separated. He’s broken. Confused. Torn. And yet, as I pray over him, I hear his heart for God, clinging to Him. Even with her not even budging an inch towards repentance and reconciliation, there is still hope for this young man. He loves her. Even if in her choice to divorce him, God grieves over the loss of such a short-lived marriage. Yet, He will still work in this young man for his good and God’s glory.  Why? He’s a young man who even in his brokenness is seeking the face of God. His marriage problems are not God’s perfect will, but it is definitely NOT outside of God’s sovereign will.   

So, my warrior, seek wisdom. Find a mentor. Be engaged in a growing relationship with Jesus. Experience His presence. Be led by the Spirit. And in doing so, whether you drink Coke or Pepsi, Grow your hair long and get a Duck Dynasty training beard, or take a job in some obscure place know that God’s #1 priority for you is that your heart, your character is aligned with Him. Not you trying harder to play the part, but you yielded to the Spirit.

This is God’s Will for you, my warrior friend.

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.