I noticed that evangelicals felt they had to “find God’s perfect will”.  They had to find exactly the right college or exactly the right spouse or exactly the right car or home to buy, and if they made the wrong decision, they would miss “God’s perfect will” and not be in “God’s will.”

During my college years I learned the theology behind this.  It was so complex and confusing that I felt it bordered on ridiculous.
The belief was that God had three wills:  His sovereign will, His permissive will, and His moral will.

God’s moral will – what God wants us to do – biblical thou-shalts and thou-shalt-nots – was always a no-brainer for me.  We always want our decisions to be in obedience to that.

But people “seeking God’s perfect will” weren’t looking at that.  They were getting caught in a morass that weirdly combined the other “two wills”.

Let’s say you’re buying a car and are looking at three different cars.  These people were convinced that one of them was God’s “perfect will” for you – and you had to figure out which one it was, or you’d be “out of God’s will” and (I guess) all sorts of horrible things would then happen to you!

Some agonized over such decisions– fasting, praying, seeking signs, looking for divine direction – lest they buy the wrong car.  I never understood any of this.

First, regarding God’s sovereign will, I was told that God is in control of everything and His sovereign will is always done.  Whatever happens is God’s sovereign will.

This doesn’t complicate decision-making; it makes it simple.  Just make your choices.  Whatever choice you make will be God’s sovereign will.  How could it be otherwise if God’s sovereign will is always done?  Whence all this hand-wringing?

Second, if you’re looking for God’s permissive will – i.e. God’s decision to permit us to make our own choices – then there is no “will of God” to “find”.  There is only divine permission granted to make a free choice.  Whatever I choose will be God’s will and that sets up my next set of decisions.  Again, why worry?

What I’m left with on a practical level are the moral commands of the Bible.  As long as I’m not stealing the car or using immoral means to obtain it, it doesn’t really matter which car I buy.

My responsibility is to make a moral and wise (within God’s prescribed commands) decision.

Do this and you will always be “in God’s will”.




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