If you want higher education and live in Denver, fall on your knees now because you have plenty of options. You could attend DU or UCD, ACC or CCA, Aspen or Metro State, and CSU is just an hour or so away. The Art Institute has a campus here, as does Regis and Westwood and JWU. Christians should also consider CCU or Denver Seminary or Iliff School of Theology.
Unless you have an idea about how you want to use your degree, though, paying so much for school might prove worthless.
Countless people similarly work hard their whole lives with no real handle on where they’re going. Things fall where they may, and if God has any suggestions He keeps them to Himself. At the other extreme, many believe God’s will leads everyone to do everything they do. (In fact, God decided what color of socks you put on this morning!)
Christians seek to live God’s will for them, whether or not they know what it is. Like Jesus said, “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother,” (Mark 3:35 NIV), and John the Evangelist agreed, “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever,” (1 John 2:17). They don’t really elaborate, but they do lay out the benefits quite nicely.
- Commit to do God’s will: check.
- Discern God’s will: ummm…
Divination attempts to do just that, to discern the will of God; and yet more than a few passages—Deut 18:10-12; Lev 19:26; Acts 16:16-18, for instance—look down on that practice, so no soothsayers, tarot readers, or astrologists. Christians instead seek God’s guidance a different way. By taking the Bible and prayerfully opening it at random, the resulting passage becomes a message from God about your specific situation (theoretically). Come to think of it, though, that process does sound a bit like bibliomancy, another form of divination. Oops.
In 1 Thess 5:16-18, Paul has just listed several things the struggling, yet united community needed to keep in mind.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
If the Thessalonian church sent him a reply, it has been lost, but might have asked the questions on many Christians’ minds after reading that statement.
“That’s great advice, but what does God suggest I do about my rotten job?”
“I’m still looking for a godly spouse, and ‘pray continually’ hasn’t worked for getting results.”
“Thanks, Paul, but I really needed some more-personalized divine guidance instead.”
God, as is often said, designed humanity with a hole only God Himself can fill. Often, we look for ways to fill that hole with a tailor-made slice of God, and reassure ourselves that where we are in life and where we are going came about by God’s direction. We read stories about Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Samuel, David, Isaiah, and the apostles, about God’s active role in their lives, and then insist God must also work the same way in ours and direct us in every single action we do.
In reality, we know how to live God’s “general” will—“Always rejoice, keep praying, never be unthankful”—but assume we need more than that to be whole and happy. We need a decent job, a functional family, trustworthy friends, and an uplifting church.
Oddly enough, Jesus left his job, seemed estranged from his family, hosted friends that betrayed him and berated him for his teachings, and heard only flack from his hometown community. He had exactly zero of those things. He must have been miserable!
That, or he realized God’s “will” for his life had nothing to do with achieving a perfect life. By living out Prov 3:5-6, fully trusting God despite his own hesitations, and submitting to Him, Jesus allowed the rest of that proverb to play out:
“He will make your paths straight.”
Get Kevin Walker’s next articles emailed to you