Making Big Decisions (Part 3): Letting Life Pass You By…

Letting Life Pass You By: This is the third post in a series on God’s will. Here, you can read Part 1 and Part 2.

In his book, Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung identifies several problems with the conventional approach to discerning God’s will (i.e., searching the corn maze for the hidden path of God’s plan for our lives): (1) It focuses most of our attention on non-moral decisions, (2) It implies that we have a sneaky God, (3) It encourages preoccupation with the future, (4) It undermines personal responsibility, accountability, and initiative, and (5) It enslaves us to the chains of hopeless subjectivism.

 

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Could Indecision Be Disobedience?

Haddon Robinson on our tendency to avoid personal responsibility and initiative:

“If we ask, ‘How can I know the will of God?’ we may be asking the wrong question. The Scriptures do not command us to find God’s will for most of life’s choices… We seek relief from the responsibility of decision-making and we feel less threatened by being passive rather than active when making important decisions.”[1]

In other words, we are afraid of failure or undesirable consequences and so we abdicate the responsibility that God has given us to actively make decisions.

Pass-Me-Not: Waiting on God or Fear of Man?

Kevin DeYoung adds some convicting thoughts: “We imagine that our inactivity is patience and sensitivity to God’s leading… When we hyper-spiritualize our decisions, we can veer off into impulsive and foolish decisions. But more likely as Christians we fall into endless patterns of vascillation, indecision, and regret. No doubt, selfish ambition is a danger for Christians, but so is complacency, listless wandering, and passivity that pawns itself off as spirituality. Perhaps our inactivity is not so much waiting on God as it is an expression of the fear of man, the love of the praise of man, and disbelief in God’s providence.”[2]

In our passivity and indecision, we often make foolish “counter-decisions” while avoiding active decision-making. Instead of evaluating and actively choosing the best course, we often decide (passively) to remain comfortable and complacent in the status quo so as to avoid any risk or change. We feel that there is too much to lose, and yet we risk nothing and gain nothing in the very moments that we should risk everything to gain something that would make our lives more fruitful and result in greater levels of godly joy.

Inner Peace: An Infallible Hallmark

We have all heard—and many of us given advice—about not making an important decision unless you first have an overwhelming sense of peace. Such advice, while well-meaning, is not biblical. In most cases, feeling “at peace” with a decision before making it is 50-50, at best. While God can certainly give us peace, He generally helps us to trust in Him no matter what route we choose to take. He wants us to trust Him while being wise and active.  Some of the most necessary and worthwhile decisions can be daunting and unsettling. Peace should not be the measure of whether or not a decision is “the right decision.” Otherwise, we would never have to take risks and live by faith in God’s sovereignty. We could rely on our own subjective sense comfort and guidance—self-sufficiency rather than divine dependence. “The fact is, most big decisions in life leave us feeling a little unsettled.”[3] That doesn’t mean that they are wrong decisions. It just means that we should learn to trust God.

Unbelief vs. Trust and Obedience

Worry, anxiety, and fear are the fruits of unbelief. They reveal distrust in God’s goodness and sovereignty. He has called us to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33) as we believe that He will provide everything else that we need. God’s will is not about figuring out what job to take or where to live or whom to marry; it’s about “running hard after Him, His commands, and His glory.”[4]

 God’s will is that we live holy lives that are set-apart and focused on His glory (1 Thess. 4:3). “He wants you to buy a house that will make you holy. If you marry, He wants you to get married so you can be holy. He wants you to have a job that will help you grow in holiness.”[5] He also expects us to rejoice always as we pray and give thanks (1 Thess. 5:16-18). As we know God’s desire for us (Scripture), we are able to bear fruit and know Him better, which helps us to make wise, God-glorifying decisions (Col. 1:9-12). He desires that we are filled with the Holy Spirit and grow in Christlikeness (Eph. 5:17; Rom. 8:28-30).

The Bottom Line: Just Do Something

Kevin DeYoung challenges Christians to actively make decisions:

“So go marry someone, provided you’re equally yoked and you actually like being with each other. Go get a job, provided it’s not wicked. Go live somewhere in something with somebody or nobody. But put aside passivity and the quest for complete fulfillment and the perfectionism and the preoccupation with the future, and for God’s sake start making some decisions in your life. Don’t wait for the liver-shiver. If you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you will be in God’s will, so just go out and do something.”[6]

God has not called us to risk-free living. He’s called us to die to self and walk by faith. We should not make impulsive decisions, but neither should we be passive and avoid making decisions. Letting “fate” decide through passivity reveals an unbiblical view of God’s sovereignty that is closer to fatalism than the biblical ideas of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. We don’t treat our physical needs that way, we generally take responsibility through the means that God has provided to us. What aspects of God’s provision are you failing to appropriate to your life as a result of fear or pride? The bottom line is that we should, “Be holy like Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God,” and that happens as we die to self and stop being passive. Life is too short to let it pass you by…

 _________________

[1] DeYoung, Just Do Something, 51.

[2] Ibid, 51-52.

[3] Ibid, 52.

[4] Ibid, 57.

[5] Ibid, 58.

[6] Ibid, 61

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