Tuesday, November 8, 2011

God's Will for Our Lives, Part Two: The Bondage of Trying to Paint Before You Put Up the Drywall

You can't paint the walls of your house until you put up the drywall.

Many Christians spin their wheels, circle after circle, because they want to know God's will for their life and they feel like they aren't hearing anything. They pray and pray and pray to get some sort of vision for their life. They want to know what they were uniquely made to do and what course of action they should take to get God to bless them the most. They feel like they are wandering adrift in the ocean and don't understand why God hasn't set them into a current that will sweep them to the place they are meant to go.

I am 99% certain that in almost every one of those cases, the person is trying to paint the walls before the drywall is hung.

What I mean by that is these people are searching for some great plan for their life, but are ignoring the work that needs to happen inside of them before they can even think of trying to do what God made them to do.

There are two kinds of "God's will for people" that we see in the Bible. First is the generic will of God, which is the same for all people. It is to admit we are broken, accept Jesus as our Savior, then practice obedience and submission to God through the commands of His word and the leadings of the Holy Spirit. The second "God's will for people" that we see is what most people are talking about when they speak about God's will, which is the specific commands for specific people to live out.

The problem is that we need to be pretty secure in God's general will for us before we can even think of God's specific will for us. And most people aren't honest enough with themselves to see how little they have fulfilled God's general will on their life.

It saddens me when I talk to people who I refer to as "lifers", meaning they have considered themselves as Christian their entire life, and after just a few minutes of talking with them, I realize that they have never accepted their brokenness and made Jesus their Savior. And, honestly, it isn't entirely their fault. Many churches have made themselves a Hall of Fame for the saints instead of a hospital for the wounded. They have made their culture all about looking good instead of a culture where God's light can be shined on all the dark spots people need to expose. The admission of brokenness in some churches is enough to get thrown out. And if you never reach that level of brokenness, it is impossible to accept Jesus as your Savior.

Or, there are the people who realize they are broken, but are still fighting to save themselves. They go to church and admit that they are a flawed person, but rely on their coping mechanisms to save them instead of admitting helplessness and letting Jesus save them. They may say they accept Jesus, but the truth is they do not accept all of Him. They only want the Jesus who carries lambs on His shoulders, not the Jesus that calls the pharisees out for being hypocrites. There are some dark places in their soul that they will let Jesus shine on, but other places are under lock and key and will never be exposed to the light if they have anything to say about it.

Neither group of people should even be thinking about God's specific will for them, until they fully participate in God's general will for His people. God knows this and knows that these people aren't ready to live out His specific will for them. And the more time these people spend fretting about God's specific plan for them, the longer they neglect the basic heart transforming work in God's general will.

So, if you are one of these Christians who is spinning their wheels trying to find God's purpose for your life, go back to the basics. Pray that God allows you to feel your full brokenness. Pray that God helps you to see just how helpless you really are. Spend time committing your life to Christ and fully allowing Him to save you. Read your Bible. Alot. Get to know the God who loves you, the Jesus that saves you and the Holy Spirit who comforts and guides you. Seek God's face before you seek blessings from Him. Seek His face. Then seek it some more. Seek God's face like a drug addict seeks their next high. Forgive whoever you carry bitterness against. Open your soul to God. Deepen your Christian friendships. Live as a servant to all around you. Remove every fear and false idol from your life. Begin stepping out in faith, making sure to rely on God's power not your own.

After all that is in place, then start asking God for His specific will for you. And if you still don't hear anything, go through the basics again. God may have a lot of drywall for you to hang before He ever lets you put a drop of paint on to the walls.

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