Well, I hope the last post on this subject was as clear as mud for you. Hopefully this study will bear fruit by the end!Last time we looked at some of the dangers of leaning too heavily on a subjective epistemology, specifically, the danger of making “finding God’s will” into a ritual, one that always leads through our preconceived perceptions often to our own preconceived conclusions.
Another danger in relying too heavily on subjective epistemology is that it often leads to bondage. Mark Dever in a post on the subject early this week says well:
The way many Christians practice seeking God’s will before they make a decision amounts to spiritual and emotional bondage. Christ has died to give us liberty and freedom (Rom. 6; Gal. 5; I Peter 2)……The desire for such a subjective sense of leading, however, is too often, in contemporary evangelical piety, binding our brothers and sisters in Christ, paralyzing them from enjoying the good choices that God may provide, and causing them to wait wrongly before acting.
Do we have freedom in Christ? Do we see a wait-and-see-the-sign mentality in Jesus’ life as he walked through Galilee and on the road to the cross? Or Paul, does he stop at every split in the road to see what direction to go as he goes on his mission to take the gospel to the nations? NO! Paul went where he had freedom to go, and if he attempted to go somewhere that was forbidden, the Spirit would not allow it.I’ve met some people who feel like every big decision had to have some sort of personal divine ordination before they could move forward. It is odd, though, that this mentality is only for the big decisions. Why not ask for guidance on what kind of toothpaste to buy? What brand of shoes to buy? Should you buy the Dell or the Mac? These aren’t issues we look for subjective divine guidance on because we realize they are largely going to decided by research and need. But the BIG decisions (i.e. marriage, college, career, etc.), we hold out on those until we have a “sense of peace.”
The overwhelming need that we all have to know if we are in God’s will has been answered in His Word. It is just as true and sure as any vision or dream would be. The Scriptures were whispered by the Lord Himself, and are just as trustworthy as if He were giving us advice in person. In fact He is. We know truth when we read the Old and New Testaments!While we may struggle with whether this or that truth applies to our specific situation, we know where to go for answers – the Word of God. This sure basis of right living is objective, something outside of us and our perception, and is knowable by us. Consider a person deciding if she should go overseas to take and live the gospel before an unreached people group. If she relies on the subjective sense of leading alone, how could she ever be sure of her decision? One day she feels like she should go, but the next she feels like she shouldn’t. She can’t make up her mind what direction she should go. Where does she turn for answers? Many times she would turn no where and simply keep on keeping on. That is a shame. We have a sure source of God’s perfect will in front of us in His Word. He tells us to take the Gospel to all nations. What is stopping her from going? God has commanded! Now, if in her preparation she comes to realize that God is closing that door, then she can have more surety of what God is leading her to do. But that doesn’t stop the call for her to take the Gospel to the nations. She will simply do it in another way or at another time.
Know the Truth
We must begin to realize that our feelings about God’s will are never as trustworthy as what God has said in His Word. Therefore we must know it. We must let it penetrate every portion of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. We must humble ourselves before it and live as Christ did, wholly obedient to His Father’s Word. And as we do this, we will find ourselves dying to ourselves, and living in Christ, as He walks through us in the world.