Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Decision Making and God's Will

I appreciated last week’s article “Decisions Decisions, Part 1” by Thomas Jeffries. Jeffries’ insight on the role of prayer and submission in the process of making decisions was refreshing.

The article reminded me of a book called Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen. The book was first published in 1980 and recently revised. At first printing, Friesen’s premise was extremely controversial. He posited that God does not necessarily have one specific plan for the believer but allows for various options (based on human decision) within His stated moral will. Friesen challenged the traditional view that for each of our decisions, God has an ideal plan that He will make known to the attentive believer. Instead Friesen advocated the “way of wisdom” summarized in these four statements:

  1. Where God commands, we must obey.
  2. Where there is no command, God gives us freedom (and responsibility) to choose.
  3. Where there is no command, God gives us wisdom to choose.
  4. Where we have chosen what is moral and wise, we must trust sovereign God to work all the details together for good.

Friesen seems to recognize that the concept of God having one perfect will regarding choices such as which college to attend, what career to choose and who to marry, tends to paralyze believers, reducing them to passive, powerless bystanders. Jeffries expresses a similar sensibility in his conclusion:

For now, I can only say that worrying about the future only makes things worse (Matthew 6:25-27, Luke 12:22-25). Sure, it's a lot easier to quote Scripture than put it into practice, but as I've learned to trust in the Lord, He has indeed been a lamp to my feet (Psalm 119:105) and has made my paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). He proved faithful more than a decade ago, and I've endeavored ever since to never doubt Him again.

I think Jeffries’ article demonstrates that Friesen’s “shocking” view on decision making and God’s will is becoming mainstream for a generation more comfortable with relativism. We see God as offering us more choices, while protecting us from disastrous ones through biblical boundaries. While the concept of relativism has a bad reputation, Friesen’s view does not compromise God’s moral standards. As Friesen states: “Where God commands, we must obey.” The “way of wisdom,” in fact, frees the believer to walk down the paths God provides.


Blogger JubilationT said...

I wholeheartedly agree! I'm always disappointed to see Christian believers attempt to discern God's will by "laying down a fleece" or by seeking peace in their hearts. I think they forget that God was merely being patient with Gideon and his fleece-laying -- and that Christ himself had a tremendous lack of peace in the garden of Gethsemane!

11:27 AM  

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