Should we buy a one-acre plot here, or a three-acre plot there, or a townhouse in a small town? How many weeks or months of food should we store up? Should we sink a well? What if we’re poor and we can’t do any preparing? Should we buy a gun or two, and if so, what type or model?
These kinds of questions may have crossed the minds of those who are preparing for the hard times to come.
Then there are the big life questions like should I marry this person or that person or not marry at all? Which school should I go to, and what degree should I get?
Many of us are driven like this because we want to do God’s will for our lives, but many times it seems like we are deaf to the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit. We want to please the Lord, and we want what He wants for our lives.
Many in Christian churches ask, “What is God’s perfect will for my life?” In Protestant and Pentecostal circles it’s probably safe to say this is a question many if not most of us have been taught to ask.
And yet that whole idea of seeking God’s perfect will for your life, according to Christian author Garry Friesen is not even biblical.
The Book: Decision Making and the Will of God
A reader of my books recommended to me a book by Friesen titled Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View.
Having read it, I can recommend it to any Christian struggling to know what to do in his or her life.
The book is divided into four sections.
The first section presents the traditional teaching of God’s will: His sovereign will for the universe, His moral will from the commands given from Scripture, and His individual will for each person.
What is central is the illustration from page 29, shown below. You see a circle. Outside the circle is God’s sovereign will. The circle and its contents is God’s moral will. The dot is God’s supposed individual will for our lives.
In Section 2 the author shows why this whole teaching about God’s individual will for our lives is wrong, using Scripture for his argument.
In Section 3 the author presents the biblical view, showing us there is no dot in the center and that as long as we, the children of God, obey the Scriptures, the words of Jesus, Paul, and other apostles, we are in God’s moral will and that’s good enough. Our job is to stay in the circle in the picture, and to know what the boundary is.
Section 4 is the complete biblical argument as to why this new way of looking at God’s will is indeed supported by the Bible. The idea is that as long as we remain in the circle of moral will, and there is no prompting by the Spirit, we are free to choose what we think is best. God works with that.
The author recommends one of the best things you can do is read the New Testament over and over and become familiar with, and remember God’s commands, reflecting on God’s word, so in day-to-day life you can know what the Bible tells us to do morally. As the author wrote, in doing this you learn the boundaries of the circle of God’s moral will.
To me this way of looking at God’s will makes sense. Not only do we stop beating ourselves up for not being able to hear the Spirit, but God is big enough to work with any situation we find ourselves in as long as we follow his moral will.
Not only that, but “His perfect will for MY life” does sound like western Christianity, doesn’t it? As servants of Christ, and having been born again, we died to this life (Rom. 6:8, Col. 3:3, Gal. 2:20). God’s “will” for our lives is to live in Him.
My Own Experience
The book reminded me of the things I experienced from the very start in my walk with Christ.
I can remember when Christ first grabbed me—I felt the great need to go through Scripture again and again and again and again to memorize all the important things said for our lives such as Philippians 4:6 and James 1:22, so I could learn how to please this great God who had just saved me from hell.
I also remember the book Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby, which taught that if you want to know what to do in Christ’s body (and you are not being told directly by the Spirit), just look around you, see what is being done or needed, and jump in.
Even regarding the Signpost message and ministry, the Spirit got through to me in two ways. The first was that the Spirit’s direct promptings set me on a track of research that He knew would cause me to discover the Signposts. The second was that, having discovered it, the dire warning it contains in the form of the Second Signpost caused me to write and publish Daniel Revisited not because of any word from the Spirit directly, but from Habakkuk 2:2-3 and Ezekiel 33:1-6. I believed from the Bible I had a moral responsibility to warn the Church at large.
This whole topic of God’s will can be a hot topic of debate. Take from this post what you will. The bottom line is I do recommend Decision Making as I found it made a compelling argument. Some people may indeed find this helpful for living through the end times.
Categories: Book Review, teaching, The Signpost Perspective
Many years ago, Dr Friesens co author, Robin Maxon, was my pastor, back in Oregon.
That decision aged well. Did they try to get her out because the germ was already on the loose at that time?
On September 15, a group of Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, and Druze musicians in Israel, in celebration of peace between UAE and Israel made a video of their performing a song by an Emirati composer on the top of a building in Tel Aviv, Israel. https://english.alarabiya.net/en/life-style/art-and-culture/2020/09/25/Israeli-orchestra-Firqat-Alnoor-plays-arrangement-of-Emirati-Hussain-al-Jassmi-s-song On September 25, the day Al Arabiya English enthusiastically shared the video with its readers, it also reported that USA may be about to close its embassy in Iraq due to “continued attacks against US targets by Iran-backed militias.” https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/09/26/US-threatens-Baghdad-with-sanctions-over-Iran-backed-militia-attacks-in-Iraq-Sources Whatever might please God for people to do before peace is taken from Earth should be done without delay.
So a basket is still a basket, whether it’s from the three point line or not. God wants us to pull together as a team.
A subject very near and dear to my heart! The “DOT” doctrine caused me to miss some of the greatest blessings in life. Oh how I wish that I had read this book one year before my pastor had told me about!
Idahobob: I visited your church once in the mid-1980s when it was renting an abandoned store front in downtown Klamath Falls, near Hwy. 97 I believe. No address on building or on any neighboring businesses for that matter, so that made it hard to find. I was in KF for one day of work when I thought why not attend a church here (it was sunday evening). From the book’s credits I knew Maxson was a pastor in KF so I called directory assistance and got the address. I walked in and the first thing I saw was a nursery. I asked the attendant “Is this a church?”
“Yes, just keep walking down the hall and walk through the doors”. I did. Church was in progress. Not many people there. Maxson was showing his pictures of his trip to Israel. Knowing that all things work together for them that love God, I just happen to sit down next to…………………..Dr. Garry Friesen, who was also visiting! We had a good conversation!
Were you a member at that time?
On Saturday, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri “derided the Zionist regime’s idea of ruling over regions from the Nile to the Euphrates, saying Israel is struggling to survive and would fall apart if the US halts its economic support for a moment.” https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2020/09/27/2357517/top-general-uae-to-be-treated-as-enemy-if-israel-hurts-iran-s-security
“From the Nile to the Euphrates” is a misleading phrase used by enemies of the State of Israel to incite animosity against it. Back in 1994, a painfully detailed examination of the misuse of the phrase was published by Daniel Pipes, an expert on the Middle East: http://www.danielpipes.org/247/imperial-israel-the-nile-to-euphrates-calumny For a simpler explanation of where the land promised to Abraham is, see Joel Richardson’s 2015 “When a Jew Rules the World,” chapter 3, in the section titled “Where is the promised land?” https://joelstrumpet.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/When-a-Jew-Rules-the-World.pdf Bottom line is that “the river of Egypt” is not as far west as the Nile, and “the Euphrates” referred to a portion of it in Syria, not to where it flows into the Persian Gulf.
General Baqeri mocking the lie that Israel wants to rule “from the Nile to the Euphrates” is ironic. The activities of the Iranian military organizations he coordinates are gearing up to invade and rule over larger areas of the Middle East than even false ideas about “the promised land” would encompass.
I was not attending that church, we were at another one in Klamath Falls. I also met and visited with Dr Freisen when looking at attending Multnomah Bible College.
It’s been a while since this topic was address, but I ran across this book and interview and share it with you and your readers. I hope it edifies everyone.
Book: God Does Not Whisper
God Doesn’t Whisper part 1,2,3 Answering Objections