You know those times when you’re trying to figure out what to do...
Do I choose this job or that one? This school or that one?
Should I commit myself to join that group?
Which car should we buy?
When should I make that trip I need to take?
Should I speak up and say something to him or not?
And, for those who are Christ-followers, at the root of all of them is the question:
What does God want me to do and
how will He let me know?
how will He let me know?
At one far end of the spectrum are those who would say that God gave you a brain and He expects you to use it – it’s up to you. At the other end are those who want to know God’s will for every decision, right down to what socks to wear. The fancy words for those two extremes are ‘indeterminism’ and ‘fatalism’. I know because I looked them up. Religious thinkers have been debating this for centuries.
I know that decision-making isn’t always so… theological. But haven’t all of us wrestled with those thoughts at one time or another? Especially when the decision we have to make is going to have some ripples into our future and into other people’s lives?
Jeff and I have been listening to many of Timothy Keller’s podcasts – sermons from his church in NYC – and we’ve loved them and been very 'stretched' by them. For a recent car trip, I sort of randomly picked one that sounded interesting: “Your Plans; God’s Plans”.
It was so incredibly helpful and enlightening and mind-blowing in many ways. As is so often true about God, two seemingly opposite things can both be true – we have free wills to make our own choices and God is completely in control. Knowing that is a huge relief. As Rev. Keller says “The biblical understanding is utterly practical. It doesn’t say that your choices determine your destiny or that your choices have no impact on your destiny. God, in His sovereignty, relates your choices to your destiny but He is the One who fixes everything... You have every incentive to do right and live wisely since there will be consequences for your choices but since everything is under the control of God, who is working things together for good, you can relax.”
I also loved his challenging words about how God gives us help in making decisions. It starts with a radical, unconditional trust in His choices for us – in His way not mine.
Rather than trying to recap it here for you, I’ll just give you the link to the message and you can download it yourself or listen online. It’s also available on iTunes.