Not everything that happens is God’s will for our lives.
By believing God is sovereign, many Christians have turned off their brain to understand God’s sovereignty and humankind’s free will are held in tension and where humankind opts to exercise his (or her) freewill apart from God, they will be operating outside of his will. This is related to Lies Christians Believe #1, where I wrote God does not intend for us to hit rock bottom before we return to his protection.
My Boy always seems to be in a growth spurt. He loves clothes shopping so it’s not hard to convince him to come with me to pick up new clothing. This past weekend, I had planned to take my Boy to lunch and then to a few stores to buy him some new clothes. That was my will, but my Boy had another option to hang out with some friends. He chose the latter, so although he needs some new clothes, it will have to wait until a more opportune time. My Boy stepped out of my will to do his own thing.
My example is fairly innocuous but you can see how we do the same thing to our heavenly Father. He has a will for us but if we don’t inquire what is on his heart to do, we assume he isn’t going to do anything and we make decisions based on how we’re feeling in the moment. My Boy could think because I didn’t stop him from going with his friends that he was in line with my desires for him. Yes, I want him to have a full and abundant life but sometimes we need to take care of business.
The danger for Christians to assume we are always in God’s will is our God becomes small, powerless and just like us. Under the new covenant we live under grace, not law. If we don’t understand grace is a higher standard, then we run risk of abusing it. Grace is not carte blanche to sin. God’s grace allows us to be in an intimate relationship with each member of the trinity. We have free access to the Holy of Holies.
When priests entered the Holy of Holies, once a year, they ceremoniously cleaned and prepared themselves and sprinkled themselves with the blood of a sacrificed animal. In the new covenant, we are covered by the blood of Jesus, a once and for all sacrifice. We have free access, by grace but when we have step outside his will, we are uncovered and the relationship is blocked until we repent and realign ourselves with his will.
Another danger in believing the lie is to think the Lord actually plans for calamity in our lives. Jesus is clear about the Father’s nature – if a child asks for bread, who would give him a stone. Jesus relates this to our heavenly Father who will give good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:9-11). Our Father’s will does not put us in circumstances or situations where victory is not possible (2 Corinthians 2:14 or 1 Corinthians 10:13). God is a good God (Nahum 1:7) and will be a stronghold for those who trust him.
When we are out of his will, God can use the circumstances to be a teachable moment, as a way to drive the point home. For instance, when my Boy was a pre-schooler he was a runner. My Boy did not have a healthy respect for potentially unsafe situations so I recall one instance (probably many) where I let him wander off until such a time when he realized he was alone and he then he was afraid and called out for me. Of course, I was not far behind him and was always watching and when he called, I answered but he needed to know what it felt like to be away from me, so he would remember next time he wanted to wander away.
Romans 8:28 says all things work out for good – it’s a great verse but the latter portion of the verse is not as well quoted as the former – for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose. God can and will redeem us but this verse makes a distinction about what things will work out for good – if you are walking in his will and purpose.
Clearly, some things are outside of God’s will. We cannot and should not believe anything different.