God’s Will and Our Choice
There are believers who think that finding God’s will is like looking for a strand of hair in a coal mine. And the hair isn’t even a white hair! There are others who think that God’s will is like finding out where He aimed the cross hair of His heavenly sniper scope. They search for the specifics like whom He wants them to marry or what college course to take. Either way, discovering God’s will seems next to impossible to them.
What makes the search daunting is that we are searching for His will that’s not revealed in His Word. We can’t (and shouldn’t) randomly flip through the pages of the Bible and then let our index finger fall on a page. You might have heard of the guy who did just that and his finger fell on Judas “hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:5) Dazed, he flipped through the Bible again. This time, it was Luke 10:37. “You go, and do likewise.” Thankfully, it doesn’t work that way.
Here’s how it works. For example, when it comes to choosing a spouse, we see this in 1 Corinthians 7:39,
A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. (NIV, emphasis added)
Though the verse is about widows remarrying, we see here the principle that we actually have a choice (“she is free to marry anyone she wishes”). It also teaches us that God had set boundaries (“but he must belong to the Lord.”) That means a single and available believer can choose any single and available woman as long as she is also a believer. It’s not a “bull’s eye” approach.
So, in finding God’s will for those matters that are not directly mentioned in the Bible, we still have to look for the guidelines indicated there. According to Charles Swindoll, we have to distinguish between principles and precepts in the Bible.
Precepts are clearly marked statements, such as “Abstain from sexual immorality.” That's like saying, “Speed Limit 35.” What is speeding? Anything over 35 miles an hour. That’s a precept.Then there are principles in Scripture, and these are general guidelines that require discernment and maturity if we are to grasp them. Paul writes of “the peace of God” guarding and guiding our hearts and our minds (Philippians 4:7). That’s like the sign that says, “Drive Carefully.” This may mean 40 miles an hour on a clear, uncongested road, or it may mean less than 10 miles an hour on an ice-covered curve. But it always means that we must be alert and aware of conditions . . . we have to be discerning. There is no sign large enough to list all the options you have when you’re behind the wheel. So you must know the rules of the road, follow the signs that are there, and use all your best judgment combined with discernment.
God does not micro-manage our lives. As we obey the principles and precepts in the Bible, we will be in the right frame of mind to make wise choices. If we obey what God has revealed in His Word, we can decide on those He has not revealed in it.
Brothers and sisters, we can find—and must obey God’s will—for us.