Introduction

In our previous post, we have discussed that the bible contains 2 types of will of God. One type is known as the Laissez Faire  type. Where God allow a person to do whatever they want. Basically it means that God had given up and will not choose to stop a individual from offending him and sinning against him.

The second type of will of God is the predestined will of God. It is set within a certain boundary where God grants man autonomy to do all that he wants. In this will only the boundaries are defined. This means that out of the many options that are available for choice. All of them are in the will of God. Some of the options may carry with it consequences but all of them leads to the general direction of the will of God.

The previous post left us with a question that in our mind. “How then do we make the best choice?” This is important as all the options seems right and we need to choose the one that give the best outcome.

So how should we choose? Paul once talked about the principle for choosing in the book of Romans

“I beseech you therefore,
  brethren, by the mercies
  of God, that you present
  your bodies a living sacrifice,
  holy, acceptable to God,
  which is your reasonable service.
 
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.” – Paul (Rom 12:1-2)

Here Paul describes the will of God. He also gave the standards that are used to determine the will of God. We know for sure that we must make our choices within the boundaries of the Lord. For we know that it is dangerous to go beyond the boundary of God. Therefore we need to base our decision on the 3 standards listed here by Paul. Let us consider the 3 standards we see here.

Pt 1 :  What Is Good?

How do we know what is Gods will? What should we base the standard on? Paul once talk about this standard of goodness of God

Therefore the law is holy,
  and the commandment
  holy and just and good.” – Paul (Rom 7:12)

This law of God contains the will of God that is good. Knowing the commandments of God and understanding the law of God help us understand this standard of goodness that is defined by God.   That is why Paul said that the will of God is just and good.

The modern word “Ethic” was taken from Greek and it means customs or traditions. It often refer to the acceptable practices that is local to the region . But we know that the standards of man keep changing over time. What is regarded as “unacceptable” ethics is now being legalised all over the place

That is why Christians ought to understand that the customs and tradition from Christ never changes. It transcend time and it holds more authority over the customs of man.  We know that the bible spans between 2 periods of history. The Old testament talks about the Law, The Prophets And The Commandments. The New Testament records the words of Jesus as well as the teaching of the Apostles.

Even though the bible spans across thousands of years, but the moral standards found in the Old Testament And The New Testament are constant. It must be use as the base for the understanding of goodness and righteousness. For Jesus once told the rich young ruler

“Why do you call Me good?
 
  No one is good but One, that is, 
  God. But if you want to enter into
  life, keep the commandments.” – Jesus (Matt 19:17)

Making A Good Choice Within Gods Boundaries

So today, if we were to encounter choices, how can we determine that we are within the boundaries of God?  We ought to compare the choices against the standard of the commandments of God. By understanding the moral standards of the bible we are able to tell our boundaries correctly. We need to make our choices base on the standard of his goodness

Just like What David once said

“Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
  For You are the God of my salvation;
  On You I wait all the day.” – David (Ps 25:5)

David asked God to direct his way and lead him. He pray to God to guide him into understanding the truth in the bible.  David knows that scriptures are the best guide for men. Likewise Paul mentioned of the importance of the bible to Timothy

“and that from childhood you
  have known the Holy Scriptures,
  which are able to make you wise
  for salvation through faith which
  is in Christ Jesus.

  All Scripture is given by inspiration
  of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
  for reproof, for correction, for instruction
  in righteousness,  that the man of God
  may be complete, thoroughly equipped
  for every good work.” – Paul (2 Tim 3:15-17)

Paul is saying that the scriptures are inspired by God and that can serve as a guide to make us wise for salvation. It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. If we choose to use the scriptures to direct us in life, it will lead you to do good and be righteous before God. If you keep the words of God in your heart and mediate on it daily , God will use them to guide us to understand his will. Your experience will be similar to what David experienced

“Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law” – David (Ps 119:18)

David trust in the word of God all his life and he tried his best to make sure he lived within the boundaries of the word of God. He compared his actions to the standards of the goodness of the word of God. Today if we focus on the word of God and we try our best to understand it.  Our eyes will be open as well and we can see the wondrous things from his law.

On the contrary if one were to ignore his words, it will be like him cutting off his communication with God.  It will be difficult for him to understand the will of God. His knowledge of God will be superficial. If one is unwilling to learn the word of God, it is like knowing someone without talking to him. If we attempt to know God through feelings alone, it will result to shallow knowledge.

That is why if we want to know the will of God, we must put in effort to understand the standards that he had set. If we stay within that boundary we will always make choices that are according to his will. If we go beyond that boundary, we will enter his wrath and we would grief the spirit of God. Finally God will give up and allow us to do whatever we want.

Pt 2 :  What Is The Perfect Will Of God?

In Rom 12:2. It tells us that the will of God is one that is perfect. The Greek Word for Perfect here is Teleion (G5046). In its original language it a also means that it is matured or Matured into perfect condition. So what does it mean to be perfect?

It means in order to make the best decision, you will need to progress and mature. To achieve that one need to enter the trial of the Lord. Within the trial we will learn slowly about the perfect will of God. Sometimes God put us in a difficult situation to help us mature and to learn to make a better decision

Misconception That A Smooth Sailing Way Indicates The Will Of God

Many Christian had the misconception that as long the way is smooth and easy, as long as they encounter no opposition, no divine intervention then it must be the will of God. People who hold this concept will also think that as long as they encounter trouble, it is God who stopped them from doing it. And they judge whether a matter is the will of God base on it

This is  dangerous thinking for it is not necessary the case every time. Imagine a poor student who had straight As and he wanted to go overseas to study. His immediate surrounding is poor and he cannot afford the trip. But yet sometimes in our testimonies we hear  how through much prayers and struggle, God reveals his will and allowed him to get scholarship.

Having  a good surrounding and not having opposition doesn’t necessary mean that one is according living according he will of God. The reserve is true as well, adversity doesn’t necessary mean God is opposing you and you are not doing the will of God.

Sometimes the will of God could be contrary to the current situation we are facing.

Lets take a few example from the scriptures

In Exodus, all of us know that the will of God is for the Israelites to leave Egypt and return to Canaan. For God had sent Moses to Egypt and he went to talk to the Pharaoh.  Lets look at the response of the Pharaoh

“Who is the Lord, that I should 
  obey His voice to let Israel go?
  I do not know the Lord, nor
  will I let Israel go.”- Pharaoh (Ex 5:2)

Here Pharaoh said that he will not obey the Lord and will not let Israel go. We know that soon after that Pharaoh added trouble to the children of Israel, they are told to produce the same amount of bricks and they are no longer supplied with straws from the Pharaoh. Moses had failed at that time, it result to more opposition from the Pharaoh. Many of the Israelites blamed Moses for making life difficult for them.

But we know for sure that Gods will is for Israel to leave Egypt, it is just that it was not possible at that particular point of time. Even after God sent the ten plagues and Israelites left Egypt, they continue to face the opposition of the Pharaoh and they were pursued by the armies of Egypt. We read of how they were stranded between the Red Sea and the chariots Of Egypt.

Gods will may be contrary to the current situation

Now let us consider the story of Jonah.

We know that the will of God is to send Jonah to the city of Nineveh and to preach against it. But yet Jonah came to sea port of Joppa and he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. Perhaps today we do not find it miraculous for we can fly to anywhere anytime. But during those days there is no boat schedule in ports for no sailors can ever be sure when they will arrive at any seaport

Therefore it is a “miracle” that Jonah found a ship heading to Tarshish and  he did not meet with any opposition. The process of finding the ship is smooth sailing. But yet it is not the will of God

Even though we all desire an ideal surrounding as well as a smooth sailing life. Let us not allow it to cloud our judgement.  For success and failure in a certain matter do not determine the will of God. Having a smooth sailing process with no opposition doesn’t indicate the will of God.  Similarly being in a bad situation does not necessary mean you are going against the will of God.

We need to understand that a good and perfect will of God must be well pleasing at the same time.

Pt 3 :  What Is The Acceptable And Well Pleasing Will Of God?

So today whenever we encounter many options, we must first determine which of them are good based on the standard of Gods word. This is the first step because any option that went against the word of God will never be good. 

At the same time, it must be perfect and mature. We can make such choices if we are experienced with the trials of life.

But what if we encounter many options and they are all acceptable in sight of the will of God, how do we pick the best option among them?

Paul reminds the church in Ephesus

“See then that you walk circumspectly,
  not as fools but as wise,  redeeming the
  time, because the days are evil
  Therefore do not be unwise, but understand
  what the will of the Lord is.” – Paul (Eph 5:15-17)

Firstly we must not walk in the path of evil, let us not be foolish within the way of the Lord. We need to know what is pleasing before God, what is within his boundary and that which is perfect.

Sometimes in order to choose the best will, we need to pray often. For prayer is like a wrestle between our will and the will of God. Paul once describe that when he talks about someone

‘’Epaphras, who is one of you, 
  a bondservant of Christ, greets
  you, always laboring fervently
  for you in prayers, that you may
  stand perfect and complete in all
  the will of God. “ – Paul (Col 4:12)

The Greek word of laboring is agonizomenos (G75). It could mean contending and struggling. Therefore the prayer of Epaphras is just like wrestling, this wrestling is similar to the time where Jacob wrestle with God as he pray.

Prayer is the time when your will is struggling against the will of God. At the same time the devil may want us to make the wrong decision. Therefore we need to pray hard to find the best decision when face with choices.

Sometimes the moving of the Holy Spirit is like fire within us . That is why Paul once reminded the church in Thessalonica

“Do not quench the Spirit.” – Paul (1 Thess 5:19)

He means not to extinguish the moving of the Holy Spirit, it is just like someone blowing out the candle. To extinguish is to stop something as it was already burning. Paul describes the Holy Spirit like a fire burning within us. Therefore to quench the Spirit is like pouring cold water onto the burning fire.

Whenever we encounter a problem or when we are faced with multiple decisions the Holy Spirit will guide and move us. But we need to discern through prayer. Those who had experienced the guidance of God will know what it means to be moved by the spirit of God.  The moving of God is clearest when we are calm and peaceful. It comes when we choose to draw near to God and listen to the moving of the Holy Spirit.

If one makes a decision when his heart is in turmoil and when he did not entrust the matter to God. The decision he makes is most likely hasty. Even if it correspond to the direction of God’s will it will most likely not be the best choice available.

When your heart is not at peace within you, it is usually difficult to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. The calling of God is one that is peaceful and soft. It begins like a still small voice and slowly as time grows it become louder bit by bit. God usually do not speak out suddenly and order you to do this or that, 

For God once spoken through Prophet Isaiah

“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
  In quietness and confidence shall be your
  strength.”- YHWH (Is 30:15)

So when it comes to choosing the best decision it should be make after we pray and entrust the matter to God. We need to be calm and composed. This is true especially when we make a decision that is not in direct opposition to the word of God.

Therefore when we are faced with tough decision and all of them seem good and within the boundaries of Gods word. We need to face the problem with prayer and entrustment. God will use his still small voice to guide us, but a man who is emotional will find it hard to hear it.

A Practical Example : Paul’s Macedonian Ministry

Now lets take a practical example of this from the scriptures.

“Now when they had gone
  through Phrygia and the
  region of Galatia, they were
  forbidden by the Holy Spirit
  to preach the word in Asia. 
  After they had come to Mysia,
  they tried to go into Bithynia,
  but the Spirit did not permit
  them.

  And a vision appeared to Paul in
  the night. A man of Macedonia
  stood and pleaded with him, saying,
  “Come over to Macedonia and
  help us.”” – Luke (Acts 1:6-7,9)

Paul wanted to preach in the place known as Phrygia but over here we see the Holy Spirit stopping him. As far as we know, preaching the word of God is definitely a will of God. We know that God desires all man to be save therefore Paul is doing something good and perfect in the will of God.

But it seems that God had other plan for Paul to preach to Europe. It is good and proper for one to plan in his service to God. But in order to fully understand the will of God frequent prayers are needed.

So therefore when we encounter obstacles and obstruction or if our plan fail, we need to consider if it is the Holy Spirit preventing you to act. It is important to pray to God to reveal his will to us. But we must also need to entrust the matter to God.

To entrust the situation to God does not mean sitting there and doing nothing. We see Paul and his team continue moving as they were praying. They did not force their plan unto God. There is something we ought to learn about entrusting to the Lord.

As we pray to God about our problems and make our decisions known. We need to let go of our own will. We need to remember that prayer is like struggling with God, it is our will verses the will of God. We can tell God our plans and ask him to guide, but we also need to let go of our own will and allow God to guide us. Only then can we see the direction God wanted us to take.

There are times our decision may coincide with the moving of God. But there will also be times when our decisions may not be the one with the best outcome. Therefore we need to be patient, we need to pray and entrust the matter to God.

We need to learn to let go of our will and allow the spirit of God to guide us.

Conclusion

Indeed, sometimes it is difficult to make the right decision, we need to trust that no matter what decision we make. God is on top of it and he will guide us. Even if we encounter oppositions and troubles as a result of our choices. Let us not be too quick to doubt and to think that we are going against the will of God.

As long as the choices we make are within the boundary of the words of God. As long as we make the decision base on the perfect will of God, as long as we learn to entrust the matter to God. God will definitely guide us to find the best solution to our issues.

Not long ago I have shared a series of blog article about the decisions made by the saints in the bible. Perhaps now when we re-read them we will have new insights when it comes to making the right choices.

The articles are here for your references

1. Choice Of Oprah And Ruth
2. The choice Of Mary And Martha
3. The Choice Of Abraham And Lot
4. The Choice Of Joshua
5. The Choice Of Agur

May God guide us in all the choices we make.

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