We all need to be attuned to the will of God. We all fail sometimes; the important thing is to (humbly) keep self-checking and re-orienting our walk – if we dare. (That’s what this blog is all about. Subscribe?)
Now that the election results are in (contested by some, yes, but honestly not gonna change), we can begin to settle into our new surroundings and get ready to be about the Father’s business during the next four years.
Of course, we can’t be about the Father’s business if we don’t know what he wants us to do.
We can not assume that our task will look the same as it did before the election. The world is different, and we ourselves are different from who we were a week ago.
It’s a good time to test our old assumptions about what God desires us to do for the Kingdom.
Hearing from God
Below are a few verses from the Bible on knowing the voice and will of God, and some thoughts to ponder.
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:21)
Wisdom and understanding are not a given – they take real striving, real effort. The answer we seek may be hidden, and may require soul-searching. In the next four years, we can expect to walk through uncharted territory, and we may not know which way to turn until the moment of turning is upon us. We might even have to do a 180 degree turn.
The map has changed. If we’re too set in our ways, we can get lost.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. (Psalm 25:4-5)
Finding God’s will requires intentionality – and perhaps a bit of patience and commitment. Don’t rush into this new time.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
If we truly want to discover the heart of God, we must never be complacent or assume we already know. As the world around us is in constant flux, our mission and methods must always be recalibrated – we need to keep hitting the Refresh button. Our very minds need ongoing reawakening.
And Romans reminds us again to “never assume,” but rather, when we believe we have an answer from God, we must “test” it (Amplified: “prove it for yourselves”).
Not going there
Sadly, I’ve found most (tbh, all) of my conservative friends to be unwilling to venture into such spiritual self-scrutiny – I mean the kind where you lay it all out in the light for interrogation.
I understand how the mere thought of questioning one’s deeply-held beliefs can cause deep anxiety. I put it off myself, thinking I could never stand to discover a problem with my theology.
But ultimately, in order to be true to God and myself, I went for it. What I lost that day was nothing compared to what I gained. (More about that another day.)
Conservatives that I know have been absolutely resistant to any form of dialogue in which their understanding of God’s will is put to the test.
This should be a giant red flag for anyone, but especially for anyone bearing the name of Christ. If you only interact with like-minded people and materials – if you are across-the-board unwilling to engage with people or materials that challenge your stance – then you can’t know for sure whether you’re really in God’s will.
I have to be honest, I sense that they are unwilling to be introspective because they don’t want to find out they’ve been backing the wrong horse (or as we in spiritual circles say, they built their house on the sand).
(I know this is a very unsettling time to be a conservative. Four years ago, it was very unsettling to be a progressive. But we found each other and created a movement.)
But really, what’s the worst that could happen if you test your paradigm? You discover that you’ve been outside God’s will, and you make the needed changes to get to the center of God’s will? That’s a good thing. Or you find out that you’re spot-on. That’s a good thing too.
Instead, though, many conservative Christians that I’ve seen are in denial about the direction in which the world is moving. In the reality that has become mostly virtual, they are migrating en masse to alternative social media platforms – echo chambers where they won’t have to confront dissenters.
Some who have stayed on mainstream social media are posting (and then defending) information that is known to be false – using claims like, “Truth is found ONLY in Scripture, but some news sources say this is true.” Others post controversial statements, and then forbid anyone from disagreeing.
They deem all of these actions more reasonable than simply making sure they are in God’s will.
Jesus was perfectly clear about God’s will. Matthew 25 spells it out:
Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
It’s not rocket science. Are you caring for those in need?