Do We Really Seek God’s Will When We Make Decisions?
We Must Align Our Plans with God’s Will If We Expect His Blessing
King David desires to bring the Ark of the Covenant home, restore it to its rightful status, and put it in its proper place. He envisions a major celebration, one for all the people (1 Chronicles 15:28). Yet he seeks to build consensus before he acts. He gathers his advisers together and says to them, “If it seems right to you, and if it’s God’s will, let’s do this.” Everyone agrees with David’s idea.
Even though David is King, the nation’s sovereign ruler who can do anything he desires, he doesn’t want to move forward in isolation. He seeks input from his assembly of leaders and advisers. They agree with his suggestion.
Not only does David seek their approval, but he also adds a caveat that this must align with God’s will. The Bible doesn’t record God’s thoughts on the matter, so we wonder if David sought God in this issue. Perhaps invoking the God’s will condition was strategic rhetoric, an expected stipulation, even though David had no intent to pursue it.
No one knows.
If It’s God’s Will
However, how often does the phrase “if it’s God’s will” roll from our lips? (Consider James 4:15.) Is this an appropriate spiritual-sounding soundbite, albeit one that lacks intent or follow-through? Or do we truly intend to seek God and gain his perspective?
Sometimes claiming to seek God’s will is merely religious-sounding pretense. Other times it’s a comfortable biblical cover for what we really want to do, regardless of what God thinks—because we have already made up our mind.
Follow the Holy Spirit
A possible parallel passage occurs in the book of Acts. Here the disciples grapple with the issue of circumcision as it relates to salvation. When they reach their conclusion, they write a letter of explanation that includes the phrase, “It seemed right to the Holy Spirit and to us . . . ” (Acts 15:28)
Again, we don’t know how—or even if—they sought Holy Spirit input to know God’s will, but at least the Holy Spirit gets first billing, and they list themselves second.
It’s a difficult dance to balance God’s perspective with our plans. Yet we must try, because if we don’t, we could find ourselves misaligned with God’s will and fighting against him. (See Acts 5:38-39.) If we say we’re seeking God’s will, let’s truly do so, listen, and obey. Click To Tweet
Seek God’s Will
If we say we’re seeking God’s will, let’s truly do so. Then we must listen to what the Holy Spirit says. Last, we must obey. Anything else is mere folly, and we delude ourselves.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.