Knowing God’s Will: A Better Way than Signs and Wonders

December 7, 2017 at 3:59 PM 2 comments

In their search for God, proponents of Dominionism, NAR, Kingdom Now (and even New Age), believe there is a shortcut to finding God and His will. It is found in the ethereal and the ecstatic, which manifests itself in signs and wonders. These, they say, are evidences that God is moving and working and are automatically taken as proof of God’s Presence. Discernment is normally absent.

We’re seguing into another series that defines the biblical way of drawing closer to God, a way that takes longer, is seemingly far more pedestrian in approach, but unlike the signs and wonders movement, actually produces character in the Christian.

This particular path is not for the person who seeks instant gratification. It is for the Christian who is willing to take the time needed to travel down the proper road to develop the relationship that salvation enters us into; with the God of the universe.

Have you ever placed a “fleece” before God? Have you ever opened the Bible and placed your finger on a verse determining that the action and the verse will speak to a specific need in your life and provide direction from God? Have you ever used Promise Boxes? Have you ever just been frustrated over the question of attempting to discern God’s will for your life?

Here are some of the terms we use regarding God’s will. Do any of these words or phrases ring true with you as you have sought to learn God’s will for your life?

  • discover
  • learn
  • seek
  • find
  • uncover
  • divining
  • gain understanding
  • directing
  • leading
  • comprehend
  • seeking after

You may have other words or phrases that you can add to that list, but certainly the point is clear. In many ways, we Christians do everything we know to do to help us understand what God’s will is for our lives. It makes sense on one hand that we want to do this because it shows us that we truly are dedicated to God’s purposes and we are taught that He has a unique (as well as general), will for each child.

We want to live His will. In fact, we endeavor to be like Jesus in that regard who clearly, on a daily basis and even moment-by-moment, lived in the exact center of God the Father’s will for His life. Not once did Jesus ever fail to complete the Father’s will for Him. Christ’s life is a model for us to follow and the committed Christian, while knowing that we will never perform God’s will perfectly in this life, understands that this daily attempt should be made.

So why is it when we discuss God’s will, the terms we use always seem to imply that He doesn’t really want us to know it? We speak of “finding” or “discovering” God’s will as though God wants to keep it a secret, or that He’s intent on making it difficult for us to “uncover”?

The truth is that most of us have probably placed fleeces before the Lord and done a number of other things in the hopes of finding just the right combination that unlock knowledge of His will. It seems to be a common thread among Christians.

Dr. Bruce Waltke, has taught Old Testament and Hebrew at Dallas Theological Seminary, Regent College, Westminster Theological Seminary, and several other institutions of higher learning. He’s published books and articles. One book in particular is the subject of this series. It is, Finding the Will of God. Waltke’s premise is that Christians have been doing things wrong in a big way. The reason we’ve been doing things wrong is because we fail to understand the difference between how saints in the Old Testament understood God’s will and those in the New Testament after the Church was born understood/understand it.

Waltke believes it starts with the vocabulary we use when we discuss God’s will and how it applies to our life. Too often, we use terms or phrases that make it appear that God is very stingy in wanting to release details of His will to us, yet without doubt, He expects us to walk in His will with every step we take.

In his introduction, Walthe asks an important question. “Why would a God who wants us to do His will hide it from us? Why do Christians go through such convoluted, painful efforts to know it? His will needn’t be hidden or elusive; a mystery, a puzzle, an enigma. The answer we seek already lies in our theology – what we believe…The concept is very simple – don’t you think we will be better able to understand His will when we are more like Him?” [1]

In essence, Waltke believes and shows that what we think about God, which should stem from the Bible, His Word (our theological base), will translate to how we determine God’s will for our life. If we are not correct in our thinking about God or how we can know Him, then we will likely not be correct in determining His will for our lives. It all starts with our theology and while it does not mean we have to become professional theologians overnight, all Christians need to have a basic (and growing), understanding of who God is, how He works (in us to conform us to His Son’s image), and how He has chosen to communicate with us. If we do not have this basic understanding, we are simply adrift on an endless sea of waves mercilessly tossed to and fro.

Waltke spends the introduction answering three questions that are important for every Christian to know and understand and they all have to do with our theology.

  1. Why is it true?
  2. Why is it essential?
  3. Why should it be my way of life?

Waltke states that theology is truth. Of course, he means the correct understanding of theology, as God has revealed it in His Word, not what we might think it means. It is a careful distinction and one that we must pay careful attention to so that we can ultimately “rightly divide” or correctly handle, God’s Word.

He also states that (correct) theology is an essential part of spiritual formation. Waltke does not mean “spiritual formation” in the sense that it is used today in the emergent church. For Waltke, it means our growth in Christ. He ties our theology with our growth and that is exactly the connection as shown throughout Scripture, especially with the New Testament writers.

It is very easy to forget that God’s Word is living. It is active. It is not simply a collection of stories or words on a few thousand pages. It is God’s revelation to us about Himself and His plans for this world. Because God is alive, living, and powerful, so is His Word. How we understand God’s Word has a direct impact on us, our lives, and our spiritual growth in Christ. If we have erroneous theology (as exists within much of the signs and wonders arena), our lives will be negatively impacted and not only will we will not take on more of the character of Christ, but we will do great spiritual harm to ourselves and possibly others.

By way of responding to the three questions he posed, Wallke says that theology is a way of life. In other words, what we believe should translate to how we live. If we stop to consider the fact that in its early days, Christianity was called “the way,” we might stop to ask why it was called that. In fact, it’s not something necessarily new to Christianity because the writer of Proverbs uses the phrase “the way” often.

We know of course, that Jesus referred to Himself as “the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6). Jesus also spoke of every person traveling down a road that leads to eternity. People traveling that road (moving along it), without Christ, will continue traveling until they reach their final eternal destination, which is hell. Comparatively few will move off that path onto what Jesus calls the “straight and narrow,” which leads to another eternal destination, heaven. The point is that we are all moving toward an end goal.

It is actually the same with Christianity. Once we get on that straight and narrow path, we continue to move along that path and our goal and desire is to move according to the Lord’s will for our life.

If we re committed to the ‘way’ of Jesus Christ, a way that compels the transformation of lives and cultures into a conformity with the ultimate realities of God, our theology (what we believe about God), will shape our lives (how we live for God). As we are led by the Spirit into a fuller understanding of Him, we experience what Scripture calls ‘the will of God.’ [3]

As a Christian, would you say you are committed to submitting yourself to God’s will on a daily basis? It is almost certain that this is your desire. Apart from simply being thoroughly compliant and simply letting things happen to you as they will, how do we learn what God’s will is for us?

What is interesting about Waltke’s book is the various sections. He first discusses How Pagans Divine the Will of God, followed by God’s Will in the Old Testament. This is all under the section, Part One: God’s Will: a Pagan Notion. His next part, Part Two: God’s Program of Guidance explains over several chapters exactly how God seeks to guide Christians.

Waltke covers topics like how the Israelites determined God’s will in the Old Testament and helps us understand why that no longer applies. He also delves into the ways pagans determined their god’s will, normally by various forms of divination, which are thoroughly forbidden for Israel and Christians.

As we open up this series with future articles, we will provide insights into God’s Program of Guidance. Walthe covers this in six sections and incredibly, it’s easier and even more pedestrian than how we likely have often attempted to learn God’s will for our lives.

If you’re like me, there’s something we’ve been missing where God’s will is concerned. I can recall times of great frustration and even confusion. How many times I’ve said something like, “Wouldn’t it be nice if an angelic messenger arrived to my front door each morning with an envelope and within that envelope were the details of God’s will for my life for that day?”

Of course, that would be nice, at least we think so. However, if that happened, one huge factor would be missing from our lives that God has built into the process of learning His will. It is character development. God wants us to develop Christ’s character as we walk with Him and come to understand His will for us. This is one of the big reasons He forbids Christians from the many forms of divination because they all circumvent character development. There are other reasons for the prohibition as well, but failure to develop character is certainly an important aspect of it.

Join me next time as we begin to unpack the process of determining (not finding), God’s will.

[1] Finding the Will of God, by Dr. Bruce Waltke, 1995, p. 7
[2] Ibid, p. 17
[3] Ibid, p. 19

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, emergent church, Emotional virtue, eternity, new age movement, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation.

Modern Christian Mysticism Stems from Existentialism Knowing God’s Will: What Every Christian Needs to Know

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