August 11, 2010

To Live is Christ — following what I know and trusting Him for the rest

A Bible study book sits on my shelf. Its title is, “How to Know the Will of God.” I’ve not read it yet. It seems like too large a topic for such a small book, but this might not be as complicated a topic as it sounds.

I remember a sermon by John MacArthur. He based his message on the passages in the Bible that talk about the will of God using several “S” words in his outline. For instance, it is the will of God that I am saved, sanctified, saying thanks, serving Him, etc. He ended the sermon using Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

This verse does not mean God will give me whatever I want. It means that if I delight in Him, my “I-wants” will be in line with His will because He will put them into my heart. That is, if I am delighted in God and within the known will of God as spelled out in Scripture, then I can do whatever I want.

Not only that, when I live to please God, He can make His will known to me. Near the end of the sermon MacArthur said that I should not sit around waiting for God to reveal His will like clues in a mystery. I need to get busy with what I know and, as MacArthur said, “It is much easier to steer a truck when it is already moving.”

This came to mind as I read the following verse from Genesis. Abraham sent his servant a long distance to find a wife for Isaac, his son. The servant knew a general location and had the name of the people he was to look for, but otherwise had little idea of how to find these people or a wife for his Master’s son.

Yet he set out and kept moving in obedience to his master. As he neared the destination, he prayed. God then brought him to the right place. He found Rebekah, God’s choice and God’s will for Isaac. The servant said,  

Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren. (Genesis 24:27)
This story also reminds me an art class I took umpteen years ago. I wanted to paint some elk beside a stream. I knew how to draw the elk and I had some elements of the landscape in mind. Otherwise I was totally unsure of what to do. The teacher said, “Start with what you know. As you do that, the rest will come to you.”

How similar this is to an important spiritual principle — again, the unknowns about the will of God are discovered by doing what I already know. The unknown wife was discovered as the servant did what he knew to do. The painting was finished by starting on the parts that I knew how to paint.

Related to this, I tend to procrastinate when I am unsure of what to do next. However, God is teaching me how to get past this by pushing to start with what I know. It might be to just lift up the phone when someone needs encouragement, but I don’t know what to say. It might be to draw a single line when I don’t know how to draw the entire picture.

It is as my husband sometimes teases — God does not leave notes on the night table, but He does put desires (and burdens)  in my heart. If I begin action, I’m very likely going to hear more from Him about what to do next. This means I don’t need His specific will for me spelled out in detailed instructions. If I just get moving, then He will lead me. In the end, like Abraham’s servant, I can bless Him for showing mercy and truth to me, and for leading me in the way he wants me to go.

No comments: