Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Decision Making and the Will of God - Part 1

In the first chapter of Decision Making and the Will of God, Friesen presents us with a fictitious account of a student just months away from graduation. In this account the student met a girl that he loves dearly and is not sure whether she is the one for him or not, since she feels called to minister in Africa, and that was the last place he was thinking of.

The student, Ted, just knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had one perfect will for him and the young lady, Annette. Was it God's will for them to spend the rest of their lives together? What if they missed it and she was supposed to be in Africa, and instead she was married to him?

I must say, this is a very common scenario within Christianity. How many of us haven't approached marriage like this or even finding a job?

The second chapter presents us with an outline of what is called the Traditional View. This is the view that God has a Perfect Will for each of us, and when we do not hear Him correctly, we may miss that will and land up either in His Permissive Will or completely out of His will. Friesen felt that the Traditional View is so well known that it wasn't necessary to reproduce the lengthy "seminar" account that was initially in the first edition of his book.

In this outline Friesen shows how the Traditional View believes in an individual will for each of us, and if we do not discern and follow that will in our lives we will not have the peace of God, but rather experience anxiety and end up being frustrated in our lives. So, it is incumbent upon us to discover that will for our lives or end up being discouraged.

Friesen mentions 7 road signs in the Traditional View through which the believer can know the individual will of God:[1]
1. The Word of God.
2. Circumstances
3. Inner witness of the Spirit.
4. Mature counsel.
5. Personal desires.
6. Common sense.
7. Supernatural guidance.

Finally, Friesen gives a summary of the Traditional View's principles of decision making:

"A. Premise: or each of our decisions God has a perfect plan or will.

"B. Purpose: Our goal is to discover God's individual will and make decisions in accordance with it.

"C. Process: We interpret the inner impressions and outward signs through which the Holy Spirit communicates His leading.

"D. Proof: the confirmation that we have correctly discerned the individual will of God comes from an inner sense of peace and outward (successful) results of the decision."[2]

I have to admit, this is exactly what I have been taught at church over the years. This is what I was taught at Bible school.

However, I have started drifting away from this stance, since several of the Biblical passages used by the Traditional View to bolster their case, have started looking weak. Just recently I tackled a sermon that was preached at our church based on John 10. It was a typical Traditional View of this passage. Yet, the passage has nothing to do with finding God's perfect will for our lives!

Well, this is the end of part one of the book which is basically a presentation of the Traditional View of knowing God's will for our lives.

See you next time! Read my introduction if you like.

[1] Friesen, Garry, Decision Making and the Will of God, Revised and updated edition, Multnomah Publishers, Sisters, Oregon, 2004, pp32-33.
[2] Ibid., p35.

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