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“GOD’S WILL--GOOD, BETTER, BEST?”

 

Some fine words and reflections from Stan Mooneyham, President, World Vision International:

 

I recall hearing a famous preacher say, “To find the will of God is the greatest discovery; to do the will of God is the magnificent achievement.”

 

That it was good theology I had no doubt.  But no one could tell me for sure how to know the will of God and how to be sure I was doing God’s will and not my own.  Pointer, I got.  And hints and suggestions.

 

However, it was communicated to me subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, that God had two wills for me.  One was His perfect will, which I was urged to seek, find and do.  But (and this was said almost in a whisper), if I aimed for the top and fell short, God would reluctantly grant me His permissive will.  The implication was that beneath His perfect best for me are ranked His less desirable second best, third best, etc.

 

I had no reason to question that concept at the time, but I do now for I see what it does.  It shifts sovereignty from Creator to created.  If that view is right, I can, by my disobedience, obstinance, or ignorance, force God to fall back to a second or third line of action and maneuver within whatever leeway I have left Him.  Furthermore, because “the will of God” in a given circumstance often cannot be precisely defined (we have inherited many of our problems and any solutions will be less than perfect by our measure) many fear they may miss the will of God simply because they don’t know the formula for finding it, thereby cheating themselves and handicapping God.

 

I don’t think “best” and “next best” describe the way God works.  I have found nothing in the Bible nor in my experience that validates this multi-will concept.  It pushes out of shape both God’s sovereignty and God’s grace.

 

To be sovereign, God is not dependent upon my ability to make right choices.  Ted Engstrom, a colleague of mine says, “A Christian is the only person I know who can choose any one of four different directions and have it be right!”  In my heart, I know he’s right.  It isn’t that a “wrong” choice may accidentally turn out to be “right.”  It’s that the grace of God redeems “wrong” choices.

 

Indeed, in the light of Romans 8:28, one must ask if there is such a thing as an unredeemable choice for one who loves God and is called according to His purpose.  All things work together for good--wise decisions and unwise ones.  Who, in fact, can be certain at the time which are which and who at the time of decision making can discern, except through faith, the good that is working together?  Good, as we tend to recognize it, means plenty rather than want,

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