Board index Guidance and God's Will

Guidance. How does God guide us? How do we know his will? How can we hear his voice?

Does God have a blueprint for our lives?

Postby Shamrock » Sun Oct 04, 2015 4:24 pm

Does God have a blueprint for our lives? What do you do when its time to make a major decision? As Christians, most of us experience a heightened interest in discovering God’s will. It’s not that we don’t care about God’s will the rest of the time. It’s just that when making a choice about a job opportunity, selecting a college, determining the future of a romantic relationship, or deciding where to live, we don’t want to blow it. So, we seek God’s will with extra fervour. We pray for it, ask about it, search for it. We do those things in hope that what God wants us to do becomes clear to us. The bible is clear...we need to find Gods will for our life! “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2 NKJV.)

"Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:17 NKJV

So is there a blueprint for our lives?
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Re: Does God have a blueprint for our lives?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Oct 04, 2015 4:29 pm

I'm not so convinced the Scripture is clear about it, except to the opposite conclusion. In Garry Friesen's "Decision-Making and the Will of God," he argues quite convincingly that there is not a blueprint for our lives. He exegetes the passages of Scripture that mention God's will, and still asserts that there is no blueprint for our lives. He urges the way of wisdom and discernment rather than a hyper-focus on trying to discern the mind of God and finding "the dot"—that mysterious blueprint.

People blithely claim God has three wills: His sovereign will, his moral will, and his personal will, but Friesen says it isn't so and it isn't Scriptural. Freisen says God does have a sovereign will, and a moral will, but not an individual will. "That concept is not found in Scripture." He says in his forward: "When we ask, 'How can I know the will of God?' we may be raising a pagan question. It’s certainly the wrong question. The Scriptures do not command us to find God’s will for most of life’s choices nor do we have any passage instructing us on how it can be determined. Equally significant, the Christian community has never agreed on how God provides us with such special revelation. Instead of wondering, 'How do I find the will of God?' a better question to pursue is, 'How do I make good decisions?' ”

The late Paul Little also warned against regarding the will of God as a blueprint, a "dot" of behavior that God has willed for me today.

The late Mike Yaconelli said, "The real issue in life is not the search for God’s will, it is the search for God."

In Romans 12.2, God's will is setting your mind on the things of heaven, of Christ, and of the Spirit-filled life, not on conforming to the things of this world or of finding "the dot." The reference here is to God's moral will.

Commenting on Rom. 12.2, the late Rich Mullins said, "God’s will for you is that you love him with all your heart and soul and mind, and also that you love your neighbor as yourself. Get busy with that, and then, if God wants you to do something unusual, he’ll take care of it. Say, for example, he wants you to go to Egypt. If that’s the case, then he’ll provide 11 jealous brothers, and they’ll sell you into slavery." : )

Commenting on Ephesians 5.17, Friesen also analyzes that the reference here is to God's moral will, not to an individual will.

"Scripture does not teach that God has an individual will for you. God’s plan for our lives must be understood in a manner that is fundamentally different from the traditional teaching about God’s will. Since God has revealed only the actuality of his sovereign will, and the content of his moral will, we may expect them to be adequate for our decision-making needs." (Garry Friesen)
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Re: Does God have a blueprint for our lives?

Postby Shamrock » Sun Oct 04, 2015 6:30 pm

Hi Jim, If God has a blueprint then like an architect there is no room for error! 99% of Gods will is revealed in His word, but for some reason we are really concerned and focused on that 1%. Good comments
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Re: Does God have a blueprint for our lives?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Oct 04, 2015 6:32 pm

If God has a blueprint, then we need to take that all the way to the edges, and we better consult God about which socks to wear and what cereal to eat. It's not up for us to decide, then, where the line is drawn. If we believe in the blueprint concept, then there are no lines. The problem with that line of thinking is that the Bible doesn't outline for us how to discern his will in such matters, or how God communicates his will in such matters. We are left to (as Paul Little put it) liver-shivers. In all practicality we will be frozen in fear that we will step outside of "the dot", but with no clue as to where "the dot" is, how to find it, or how God reveals it. There is promise that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth, but not into what color shirt to wear. He convicts the world of judgment, but not of the lunch menu. And if some contend that it's not with such mundane things, but only the spiritual matters, I can safely say that they themselves have drawn those lines, for the Scripture surely does not—and in that case their lines are arbitrary and based in opinions and liver-shivers rather than the revealed Word and the work of the Holy Spirit.
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Re: Does God have a blueprint for our lives?

Postby Shamrock » Sun Oct 04, 2015 7:16 pm

Another thought to consider: The problem with the belief that God has a blueprint is that it opens the door to erroneous way.

Some of us look for signs, divine coincidences, & open doors that supposedly show us God’s leading. We want to see happen in our lives what happened to Gideon...

“So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.” Judges 6:36-40 NKJV

Others look deep within, seeking a supernatural insight or a sense of inner peace to show the way. However, sometimes doing God’s will makes us very nervous and unsettled because operating by faith means being obedient—whether or not we know the outcome.

Still others play Bible roulette, flipping through pages of the Bible until they find a passage that seems to speak directly to their situation. That can be a dangerous process...

But God’s will isn’t that hard to find. Most of God’s will is spelled out in black & white. It’s not hidden.
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Re: Does God have a blueprint for our lives?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Oct 20, 2015 3:37 am

I agree with what you said, Shamrock.

Dallas Willard: "We find such a pervasive and often painful uncertainty about how hearing God’s voice actually works today and what its place is in the church and in the Christian’s life. Even those who firmly believe they have been addressed or directly spoken to by God may be at a loss to know what is happening or what to do about it, as poor flustered Gideon here."

John White: "Gideon’s fleece-setting involved a kooky kind of faith, for he demanded something against the law of creation as a sign. Most modern fleece-setters are less venturesome. But in any case Gideon had far fewer resources when it came to knowing God’s will than we have. He probably didn’t have a copy of the Pentateuch. His home was the center of idolatry. We, on the other hand, have the whole range of Scripture as well as the constant illumination of the Holy Spirit.

"Gideon was probably thinking that a miraculous sign would make him sure. The problem was: it didn’t. As he lifted the wet, heavy fleece, was he thinking, 'Was this a coincidence? Or perhaps someone wet it.' So he asked for a repeat sign.

"This kind of experiment is both semi-pagan and inappropriate. If you ask for a phone call by 9:10 as a sign, does one at 9:11 count? How about 9:20 or 9:30? If the Word of God is not enough for you, fleeces will also leave you in doubt."

You end what you said with "God's will isn't that hard to find." It depends how you are defining God's will. If you mean God's INDIVIDUAL will (which I don't believe there is one [see my previous comments], but some people definitely do), that can be terribly hard to find, so much so that we generally say "That was it!" when we see what we want to see. Ouch. Not reliable. If you mean God's MORAL will, that's usually easy to find. God has revealed his moral will pretty clearly in Scripture. If you mean God's SOVEREIGN will, that can sometimes be impossible to find, for it just hasn't been revealed to us sometimes.
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Re: Does God have a blueprint for our lives?

Postby Garnet » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:37 pm

So I'm trying to understand. No, I don't believe that God has a blueprint necessarily, but He did know exactly what I would do, where I would be, and how my life would play out before I was even born. And it seems you are saying that when big decisions come up in life, like who to marry, where to move, when to start a family, what church to go to, etc, that we should not be concerned with God's will? That we shouldn't ask for him to help us with these decisions in life?

I ask because I have been confronted with a huge decisions that I have needed to make. I have been praying about it all summer, and not really hearing a for sure answer. The time to decide has come. I need to know what God would have me to do, and I need to know now. All I have to go on is that I don't have complete peace with making this move, so I have to assume that God does not want me to make this move.

With all the worry and prayer that I've spent on this, I'm reading here that God's will should not matter so much to me? I'm having a hard time with that. Am I interpreting what you're saying incorrectly?
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Re: Does God have a blueprint for our lives?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:45 pm

Good thoughts and good questions.

You don't believe that God has a blueprint necessarily, but then it seems like you're thinking there must be a blueprint somewhere, especially for the big decisions. Since God KNOWS everything, doesn't that mean it's all planned, and I need to find the plan? No.

It's not all planned. I usually say it this way: Knowledge is not causative. Let's say my sister just loves chocolate. Loves, loves, loves. When we go to a candy store, I know what she's going to pick: Chocolate. But my knowledge didn't make her pick it. My knowledge actually can't do anything. It doesn't matter how much I know, my knowledge doesn't cause things to happen. Things will only happen by some kind of power: I pick the candy for my sister, I pick the ice cream flavor for her, I don't bring home any chocolate donuts. I may know my sister inside and out, and that's how I know she'll pick chocolate. But it's always her decision, and occasionally (not often) she fools me. But suppose I'm 10 times smarter than I am. That still doesn't force my sister to do anything. Suppose I'm 100 times smarter than I am, and suppose I'm even clairvoyant. That still doesn't force my sister to do anything. She is a free agent. But suppose I'm all-knowing?? :?: Doesn't that control her actions? Nope. Knowledge isn't causative. No matter how much I know, it doesn't cause anything to happen. Only power causes things to happen.

Read Jeremiah 18.1-12. God changes his "plans" all the time in response to human decisions. God's plan isn't set in stone.

We should certainly ask God to help us make our decisions, but we usually won't get handwriting on the wall or even a liver-shiver to guide us. And we can't use the Bible as if it's a crystal ball. Interpreting our circumstances is often an exercise in failure. Instead we follow the way of wisdom.

Garry Friesen ("Decision Making and the Will of God") says:

1. God's sovereignty does not exclude the need for planning. Many of the believers in the Bible made plans.

2. Circumstances can be all over the map. We must be careful not to interpret them according to what we want to see. They are unreliable as roadsigns to God's will. Opportunities or obstacles are not necessarily guidance from God.

3. We must use our best resources, judgment, discernment, and wisdom to make good decisions. If we have prayed diligently about it, we can trust God to be involved in the situation and in our minds and hearts.

4. It may be that God doesn't have a preference which college you go to, as long as you live for Him there. It may be that it doesn't matter to God where you move, as long as you live for Him there. It may be that it doesn't matter to God which church you attend, as long as you continue to grow closer to Him there and use your gifts for the edification of the Body. And you can be sure that if God really really wants you somewhere or with someone, oh, He will make sure that happens (Ex. 3.1-4.17; Jonah 1-3; Acts 16.6-10). But if He doesn't give a clear sign, it may be that you are free to pursue the course of your desires, as long as you pursue God wherever or whatever it is. God's concern is your love for Him, not what city you live in.

If God has not made it clear after a summer of prayer, it may very well be that God doesn't have one preference over another. Make your decision, and don't worry about displeasing God. If you are truly seeking Him with all your heart, he will let you know when you have stepped in a wrong direction. And if he really wants you in a particular place, you can be confident that will happen. You have freedom. God has blessed you with several good choices. Make your best decision and step out!

But you don't have peace about it. The way of wisdom doesn't consider peace or lack of it as a direct message communicating specific guidance from God. Lack of peace could be because you're afraid to make a decision, you know it's a sinful decision, you are concerned that you can keep the commitment, anxiety over the importance of it, or a dozen other things. I would guess we all make big decisions with knots in our stomachs. And since there are pros and cons to almost every decision, some bad things may come about no matter what we decide. Welcome to life, y'know? Very few decisions are so clean that nothing bad is part of the picture. We can't go by peace inside. I've had people confess terrible sins to me, and then tell they have peace about it. I want to slap them! And then there are others, faithful people of integrity, who churn with every decision they have to make.

So we pray about it. We collect data. We makes lists. We weight pros and cons, We read Scripture. We talk to people. We consider our circumstances and our environment, our skills, resources, and desires. We think about possible results. We pray a whole lot more. AND THEN WE MAKE A DECISION. If God wants a specific direction, He will make sure that happens. If no such guidance comes, then make your most reasonable choice and go with it. And don't think that all will be well. That doesn't mean you've made a bad decision or gone on in a direction God didn't want. What it means is that life is hard and no life decision is without its problems.

Look at the Bible. Abraham obeyed God and ended up in a land of famine, war, and immorality. Joseph obeyed God and ended up in prison. Moses obeyed God and ended up with a nation of complainers and even a rebellion or two. Nehemiah obeyed God and had hecklers and problem-makers. Esther obeyed God and needed up having to make a white-knuckled decision. Jeremiah obeyed God and got thrown in a pit. Paul obeyed God and got flogged, imprisoned, and shipwrecked.

Follow God with every breath, and make your decisions. God will go with you.

Feel free to talk more.
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Re: Does God have a blueprint for our lives?

Postby Garnet » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:01 am

I thank you for taking the time. Though I still am having a hard time wrapping my head around everything that you're saying.

I've been talking to you over on another thread tonight. And knowing that, I've made some horrible decisions in my life. Upon my return to the Lord one of the first things I told Him was that I would never again make any decisions for my life without His blessings. I would need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was His will before I do anything. So of course immediately afterwards I am faced with one of the biggest decisions of my life! Lol!

I feel that the Lord knows what is best for us. What we may see to be a logical and good decision, the Lord may see a danger unseen to us, this being the reason that I think we need to seek Him first in everything. But I do see where you are saying that if the Lord does see danger then he will be sure to warn us regardless.

Well, I don't know. I think I'm just going to stick to seeking His will first. I've gotten myself into too many bad situations when I've failed to do that. ;)

Thank you for your thoughts tonight! I'm really glad to be here!


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