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Decisions: God's Will (HS)

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God's will is living wisely

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Have you ever wondered what God’s will for your life is? The most clear time for me was when I was trying to decide where to go to college. And I narrowed it down to three and I liked all of them. And I prayed and prayed. God, what is your will for me? And I never got anything. So, here’s what I did: I made a list of all the things that were important for me in a college, and then I weighted them. So, like the golf program was weighted heavier than the academics (just kidding). And then, I rated each school on a one-to-ten scale, and created this mathematical formula to decide which school was the best: And Cedarville got the highest score. So I went there. Straight up. But is that how we ought to make decisions? based on math? What about God’s will? That’s what we’re gonna talk about tonight, and throughout this series.
Adjustment Bureau Video
The whole plot of this movie is that there is a specific PLAN. This is how your life will work out. You’re going to go to this school and do this job and marry this person and have this amount of kids. And, this is a common belief in Christianity. It’s not some weird behind-the-scenes creepy dudes in hats; it’s God who has the plan. And for everyone of us, God has this plan, this little book that has your life written out for you. And, as we begin our series on decisions, I felt it was important to talk about this issue. Because, how do you make a decision will depend on what you think God’s will for that decision is. We all should desire to follow God’s will—that’s the whole point of being a Christian!
So, let’s look at a few passages.

Survey of Biblical Passages on God’s Will

NLTMay your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
NLTDon’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
NLTGod has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan.
NLTGod’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.
NLTBe thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
NLTThe Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
So, what do all these passages tell us about God’s will? When the Bible talks about God’s will, it basically never talks about this really specific life-plan where everything is laid out exactly the way he wants it and you have to do exactly that. It talks about things like holiness and being made new in Jesus.
PREFACE: Opinion vs. Bible - confidence in interpretation, etc. etc.
Okay, so what I’m about to show you is a diagram that you will NOT find in the Bible. But I think it is based on scripture. (And it is loosely based on this book from John MacArthur: FOUND, which I would recommend if you want to know more about this.) So, I could be totally wrong about this, but I have found it super helpful in my own thinking.
God has a sovereign will. (You can see this in & .) Sovereign will simply means this: God’s in charge, and he has a plan for the universe that cannot be stopped. The Bible is a story about how God is rescuing and remaking the whole universe through Jesus, and eventually all will be made right. God has promised that this will happen, and he can promise it, because no one can stop him.
God has a salvation will. (You can see this in .) This is pretty simple: God wants you to be saved. Right.
God has a moral will. (You can see this in and .) This basically means that God wants you to do the right thing, and not the wrong thing. There are two sides: God’s commands on what to do and God’s commands on what not to do.
So, here’s what this means for trying to find God’s will: Does this fit with God’s sovereign will? (Yes.) Does this fit with God’s salvation will? (If you’re not saved, the rest of this doesn’t matter.) Does it fit with God’s moral will? (Read the Bible, Pray & be led by the Holy Spirit, know God’s character.)But there are a bunch of things that the answer to all of these is yes: Should I play football or do band? Should I take Spanish or French? Should I volunteer for homeless people or single moms?This is where I would suggest to you that we need wisdom.
Break
How have you heard the will of God explained? How have you tried to know God’s will in the past?
What do you think of the diagram on God’s will? Is that helpful or confusing? Do you agree?
What are some Bible stories/passages about wisdom? How do you grow in wisdom?

God’s Will for Your Life is Living Wisely

If you have a Bible, open to . It says this: Be careful how you live. Earlier, in verse 10, Paul writes; Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Now, I think we’re living in this realm the realm of freedom. If Paul were talking about the moral law, he would just say, You know what to do. Do it. But he’s talking here about being thoughtful about our decisions. Listen to how he goes on:

God’s Will for Your Life is Living Wisely

NLT So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He says, hey! Be careful how you live—do it wisely. Don’t just run around doing stuff without thinking about it. My parents called this “Ready Fire Aim.” That was like their nickname for me growing up. Because I would just do stuff, and then afterward be like, oh, yeah, that wasn’t very smart. He says man it’s bad out there, so you gotta think carefully about what the best use of your time is.
Here’s what I want to propose:
What are some Bible stories/passages about wisdom? How do you grow in wisdom?

God’s Will for Your Life is Living Wisely

So, let’s go back to .

Live wisely by thinking about God’s good character

He says here that the times are evil. And they are. There is so much evil and darkness in the world, it seems like we’ll never get past it. We cannot act thoughtlessly, but we have to think about the things going on in the world, and the decisions that we make, and what the consequences will be. He says to make the most of every opportunity, and what I think he means is that we ought to be trying use every opportunity to counteract the evil in the world. So, think about this: What does it mean to act thoughtfully about what activity you choose? You have to think about your gifts, and how they fit with the world around you: So, maybe if you’re a trash singer, like me, you shouldn’t join choir. Maybe, instead, you think strategically and in patterns, and you love chess. And, let’s say that the chess club has some really good people in it who are Christians, and let’s say that they do this regular thing where they visit the elementary school and hang out with kids after school. That sounds like a great thing that is making the most of your opportunities. It would be wise for you to join chess and foolish for you to join choir.
As we read Scripture, I think we see three main ways for thinking about God’s wisdom: through prayer and the Holy Spirit, by thinking about God’s character, and by being in a Christian community. And, interestingly, I think we see hints of all three of these here in this passage.

Live wisely by relying on the Spirit

The second way to live wisely is to rely on the Spirit. The point here of this verse is that when you fill your life with other things, things that control you and drive all your decisions, it leads to ruin. But when you rely on the Spirit, and you allow the Spirit to control you, then you are led toward wisdom. So, sometimes, I’ve heard people tell stories where they say, “God told me to go speak to this person” or “The Holy Spirit directed me to give this amount of money to this person.” And I think that’s awesome. But I have never experienced that. So, that may not be how the Holy Spirit works in your life. What I have experienced (and even this only a few times), is like a deep, burning conviction that I need to do this thing. Like I felt that for foster care. I felt like there was no way we could not do it. Just because you feel like you should do something doesn’t always mean it’s the Holy Spirit, but don’t discount it. God could be leading you.

Live wisely by thinking about God’s good character

He says here that the times are evil. And they are. There is so much evil and darkness in the world, it seems like we’ll never get past it. We cannot act thoughtlessly, but we have to think about the things going on in the world, and the decisions that we make, and what the consequences will be. He says to make the most of every opportunity, and what I think he means is that we ought to be trying use every opportunity to counteract the evil in the world. Because that’s what God is doing! God’s character of goodness and justice are leading him to fight against evil in the world. So we should too. So, think about this: What does it mean to act thoughtfully about what activity you choose? You have to think about your gifts, and how they fit with the world around you: So, maybe if you’re a trash singer, like me, you shouldn’t join choir. Maybe, instead, you think strategically and in patterns, and you love chess. And, let’s say that the chess club has some really good people in it who are Christians, and let’s say that they do this regular thing where they visit the elementary school and hang out with kids after school. That sounds like a great thing that is making the most of your opportunities. It would be wise for you to join chess and foolish for you to join choir.

Live wisely by worshiping in a church community

The final thing here is where Paul talks about singing together! Which seems weird. Like how did we get here from talking about wisdom 3 verses ago. Because, in the Bible, nothing in Christian life can be done outside of community. And I think what he’s getting at here is that your worship of God, in community, builds your spirit-filled life and you encourage one another to live more in line with God’s will.

Conclusion

So, here’s why all this matters. I want to give you a way of thinking about God’s will that helps you move past this just general hope that somehow you can get a peek at this secret plan that God has, and really think about what it means to make decisions in the world. Because the world is complicated. So, our series is going to follow this structure: salvation will, moral will, & most of the time, wisdom, and how to make wise decisions according to the Bible.
Because
Why do you think we don’t act wisely?
Which is the hardest for you: relying on the Spirit, acting according to God’s character, or worshipping in community? Why?
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