Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion?

Bruce K. Waltke, Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion? Eerdmans, 2002. 187 pages. ISBN: 0-8028-3974-6

Bruce Waltke begins his book by asking the question, Is finding God's will a biblical idea? This might sound like a crazy question. However, Waltke's point is that many people seek for God's will in a way condemned in Scripture. Early on in his book Waltke defines the term, the will of God. Waltke states, "The will of God can refer not only to His immutable decrees and His pleasures but also to His general providence" (9). It also refers to "His specific choices in perplexing situation" (10). This idea relates to the title to finding God's will. It is in perplexing situations that people seek God's guidance. One of the problems is that people fear of making a mistake. He shows how many Christians search for God's will is similar to practices of pagans described in the OLD Testament.

Finding the Will of God can be divided into two parts. In the first part the author discusses whether seeking God's will is a biblical idea. In the second part Waltke shows us how God guides us through His Word, godly desires, the counsel of others, circumstances, and good judgement. The chapter on good judjement provides five principles for discerning God's guidance. First, you are to make your decision "in the light of Scripture." Our decisions must not contradict the teachings of scripture. Second, we are to make our decision in "light of our giftedness." We are to pay attention to our gifts and abilities. I have seen this point in many books about God's will. Our decisions should not go against our giftedness. It is wise to make decisions in line with our "gifts and talents, our temperament and circumstances." Third, we are to make our decision in light of "according to our ability." We need to know who we are. Waltke believes "Christians must know who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and they must be content within those limitations." It is sad when Christians do not accept themselves and try to be something that they are not. Fourth, make your decision in light of your circumstances. Circumstances should not make our decision for us, but it is foolish to ignore them. God is often at work in our circumstances. Fifth, we are to make our decision "according to an overall strategy." We need to evaluate decisions according to our priorities and our long-range plan. How will this decision help us to accomplish our overall plan? Usually we have a sense where God is directing us and how He has directed us in the past.

These are excellent principles that will help us in making good decisions. We should not allow fear to hinder us from making decisions. We learn from our mistakes and failure. Even when we make bad choices God is able to work through them. We can trust that our lives are in God's hands. Overall, this book guides us to apply God's wisdom to make decisions.

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