Jim, I found your website through a search for decision making and the will of God, the book written by Gary Friesen. I was wondering if you have read this book. I am in a bit of confusion. If you havent read the book, just disregard this message. In Him, Ryan
Hello Ryan, It has been many years since I read Gary Friesen's book, but I do remember it quite well. I did learn a lot from it as it helped to shatter much of my misconceptions known as "Finding God's Will". As much as I enjoyed it, my responses will be based upon what God has taught me and not what the book says. I hope you don't mind.
First know this: NOTHING is truly wasted with the Lord. Maybe our expectations and our false hopes might not pan out as we had thought they should, but our God works ALL THINGS for our good. Consider this: WHY are we so obsessed with finding God's will? Isn't it because we think we NEED to be told what to do? Aren't we really very afraid to make a decision because we are so sure we will probably mess it up? Is it really any different from the way we seek confirmation and assurance from people all during our day as an attempt to validate ourselves and our decisions? Very simple bottom line: FEAR.
In Christ, we have been set free. Free from the fear of messing up, because we know that God is pleased with us. Yes, that impression that God doesn't communicate with us - I know it well. Do you know why we feel this? It's pretty simple really, but as we are so complex it comes across as being so difficult, and the simple reason is that from having ASSUMED that personal communication with God is contained in the realm of "direction" we have overlooked the on-going non-stop communication from God that is happening RIGHT NOW!!
As an example, consider how often we have been asked about our day, or if anything happened at work or at school, and we have said, "No, nothing much happened today." Truth be told, something happens EVERY DAY, but because it is not what we were HOPING would happen we have convinced ourselves that nothing did. Because we have certain EXPECTATIONS of what we think God's Will SHOULD look like we have concluded that if God doesn't communicate like our expectations demand then we have no other possible communication with God in a real way.
Are you following? The fact is that the real living Father speaks to our hearts ALL THE TIME, and I DON'T mean by reading the Bible (though this doesn't leave the Bible out of the picture in any way). His Spirit WITNESSES with our spirit of the reality of our union with Him. His Spirit witnesses together with others who are born of God so that we KNOW where this life comes from.
We are free, but we have been intimidated to seek a "relationship" with God that is based upon bondage and condemnation by looking for mystical signs or impressions. We will run to these things as if there is real communication from God, but all we end up finding (after the initial giddiness is over) is that we are left with a dead will that usually becomes a drudgery. And that is why we make sure we keep telling the story of how we found God's Will, for we must keep convincing ourselves that it is still valid. And if we ever let our fears surface that remind us how much of our story we simply made up or elaborated upon then we will become devastated by the facade of our own testimony.
Your new friend, Jim Minker :)
First question I have had a hard time dealing with. Where does "waiting on the lord" fit in with Decision Making? (psalm 33:20; 38:15 for example) Ryan
Okay, first take a look at those verses. Notice the first one in context.
Our soul WAITS for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart REJOICES in Him, Because we TRUST in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, According as we have HOPED in You. Psalm 33:20-22
See how the verbs have a similarity to them? Waits, rejoices, trust, hoped. There is no real sense here of the so-called decision-making process proclaimed by many. It says, "Our SOUL waits for the Lord!" This is the expectation of our very beings that God is the one who delivers us. Look at the context leading up to this point.
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance. The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works. The king is NOT SAVED by a mighty army; A warrior is NOT DELIVERED by great strength. A horse is a FALSE HOPE for victory; nor does it DELIVER anyone by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who FEAR Him, on those who HOPE for His lovingkindness, to DELIVER their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine. Psalm 33:8-19
It is a real shame how our attention has been snagged and twisted when we read words like these: "The counsel of the LORD" and "the plans of His heart". I say "shame" because we read the words and yet miss the reality of GOD in them, and instead, find our thoughts wondering how we will DISCOVER these plans or counsel of God for our own lives. But look at the whole focus of the passage and it should become clear that this has nothing to do with an INDIVIDUAL plan or blueprint, but with the FACT that GOD'S will or desire or mind or thoughts are way, way, way beyond anything comprehended by the mind of man!!! We have been so duped by this whole charade that we have become afraid to claim our inheritance in Christ in the reality that we HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE MIND OF CHRIST!!
You see, this teaching of trying to find God's will through steps and principles, etc. is not only misguided, it is insidious! Why? Because it hangs in the back of our mind and nags at us that there is no real way we could ACTUALLY have the mind of Christ, but that we must try to find it. It is no wonder that we believers fear to believe that we have ALREADY been brought into FELLOWSHIP with the living God, and that we have ALREADY been given ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS, and that we have ALREADY been put into Christ so that we have NO need for anyone to teach us!! No, this teaching DEMANDS that we are STILL on the OUTSIDE trying to find our way IN. This teaching only has the ILLUSION of godliness. Consider the next verse in three different versions:
I WAIT for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God.Psalm 38:15 NIV
For I HOPE in You, O LORD; You will answer, O Lord my God. Psalm 38:15 NASB
For in thee, O LORD, do I HOPE: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. Psalm 38:15 KJV
Now, I didn't quote these different versions to try to get around the word "wait", but to put it into its real meaning. Just as in the other verse, here we see the same sense of hope in the word "wait". We have learned to separate that wonderful word "wait" from its whole meaning and turn it into some kind of formula by which God might give us some clues as to what to do next. This is so utterly BOGUS!! Also, consider the fact that everything in the Old Testament writings are written in EXPECTATION of CHRIST!! In other words, CHRIST is the wisdom of God the heart has waited for!! And guess what? Christ has become to us wisdom from God!!
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, 'LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.' 1 Corinthians 1:30
Waiting on the Lord is not connected with decision-making as much as it is connected with US!! Our very beings HOPE in HIM. Why? Because His Spirit has been put within our hearts.
For we through the Spirit, by faith, ARE WAITING for the hope of righteousness. Galatians 5:5
What is the hope of righteousness? Simply stated, it is CHRIST. In rubber-meets-the-road terms, it is the working of the Spirit of God within us in producing God's fruit through us. The illustration that Paul used to express this was Abraham and Sarah and the two different kind of children they bore: Ishmael (of the flesh), and Isaac (of the Spirit). Ishmael was born because Abraham and Sarah wanted to help God fulfill the promise, not because they were trying to be disobedient.
It is the picture of how the flesh thinks it can perform godliness. It is the religious mentality that causes us to keep trying to perform for God, or to keep trying to make our lives count for Christ. It sounds wonderful, but it is of the flesh, it is fleshly wisdom.
The fact was that they had waited for God to fulfill His promise for many years, but when it seemed there would be no way for the promise to happen by waiting any longer they probably discussed how they had been expecting God to do this thing ALL BY HIMSELF, when He probably expected THEM to play THEIR part.
Well, they made plans to go ahead with the most obvious — as well as culturally legitimate — course, which was for Abraham to take Hagar and produce the promise. They got a son born of the flesh and NOT the heir promised by God ... but this was all in GOD's plans!!
Now, realize that BOTH sons were born by Abraham having sexual intercourse with a physical woman, and then consider that only Ishmael was said to be born "after the flesh". Hmmm!! You see, it was the decision-making wisdom of Abraham and Sarah that produced a child after the flesh! And you can be pretty sure they prayed about it and were seeking God's WILL!
Waiting on the Lord is so simple and so basic, but the simple understanding has been trashed by the piling high of religious BS upon the words of life. But God will NOT be hidden by the religious mind of man, for Christ has revealed the Father to us!! All these games only serve to make the miraculous more and more obvious by forcing the fleshly wisdom to expose its own futility. People are abandoning this empty and lifeless religious mentality in droves because of the increasingly obvious insanity preached under the name of God!!
Hope you dont mind me bugging you! Ryan
Ryan, It is my privilege to listen to you and share any thoughts I may have. What an excitement I know it is to discover FREEDOM instead of the bondage you grew up with. It is not at all surprising that you eagerly desire others to experience this same freedom for it blows away the old facade of "life" (actually, just existence).
Be (not become, you already are if you are IN CHRIST) the person you desire in your heart to be! Ryan
Wow! What a statement that testifies of real life. Yes, for since HE is IN us EVERYTHING has changed. :) Jim Minker