This video segment is one of five presentations in the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Decision Making” seminar. There will be four more seminars in this series covering the subjects: foundations, communication, finances, and intimacy. As those presentations are ready they will be posted on this blog.
NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at firstname.lastname@example.org (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).
Plumb Lines: These are the “sticky” statements that capture the core messages of this chapter.
- Heaven is where God’s sovereign will, moral will, and individual will are finally in harmony again.
- Finding God’s will is not pressure-based, target practice at a tiny center point in a Bull’s Eye.
- God is not a passive-aggressive deity punishing you for things He didn’t say but you were “supposed to know.”
- God gives His most personal guidance through His personal design of you.
Memorize: Ecclesiastes 12:12-13 (ESV), “My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:
- “Beware” – God warns us to be cautious in how we approach decision making; it touches every area of our life.
- “Weariness” – God recognizes our tendency to exhaust ourselves by trying to make things too complicated.
- “End of the matter” – The author of Ecclesiastes had tried every approach to pleasure and fulfillment he could find.
- “Fear God and keep his commandments” – These are the two guard rails the Bible gives for decision making.
- “Whole duty of man” – If we ask God, “What’s going to be on the final exam?” this verse reveals God’s answer.
“’The will of God’ is one of the most confusing phrases in the Christian vocabulary. Sometimes we speak of all things happening according to God’s will. Other times we talk about being obedient and doing the will of God. And still other times we talk about finding the will of God. The confusion is due to our using the phrase ‘the will of God’ in a least three different ways, typified in the previous three sentences (p. 18).” Kevin DeYoung in Just Do Something
“In the progress of His revelation, God moved from a highly structured system of regulations governing a wide range of specific behaviors to a system where behavior is to be determined by principles and governed by personal relationship (p. 86)… If the believer is free to choose, he is also required to choose (p. 181).” Garry Friesen in Decision Making and the Will of God
“‘What is God’s will for my life?’ is not the best question to ask. I think the right question is simply ‘What is God’s will?’ Once I know God’s will, then I can adjust my life to Him and His purposes…. The focus needs to be on God and His purposes, not my life! (p. 18)” Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God
“God’s positive commandments are open-ended… For this reason there will never be any system for discerning the will of God that reduces obedience to a set of behaviors and procedures for every situation (p. 137)… We sinners do not like open-ended commands. We can’t be in control with them, especially when the commands are hard to fulfill because of our sin (p. 138).” James Petty in Step by Step
“God does have a specific plan for our lives, but it is not one that He expects us to figure out before we make a decision (p. 24)… What I am saying is that we should stop thinking of God’s will like a corn maze, or a tight-rope, or a bull’s eye, or a choose-your-own-adventure novel… Many of us fear we’ll take the wrong job, or buy the wrong house, or declare the wrong major, or marry the wrong person, and suddenly our lives will blow up. We’ll be out of God’s will, doomed to spiritual, relational, and physical failure (p. 25).” Kevin DeYoung in Just Do Something
“When we need guidance; it usually involves a situation in which the basic alternatives are all legitimate – legally and biblically (p. 90)… In other words, in this area [Christian liberty] God has revealed no preference about our choices between this and that, but he is not indifferent to our motives about which one we choose… Our motives for everything we do are always deeply and spiritually relevant to our relationship to God (p. 129).” James Petty in Step by Step