“Finding” God’s Will by Obeying Him One Day at a Time
Spoiler Alert: I sometimes don’t take myself very seriously when writing…I like to think that me and English have a “mutual understanding”. I’m passionate about the content, but the formatting is business casual at best.
Swiftly climbing the ladder of personal favorite O.T. Stories is that of Jonathan and Armor-Bearer (capitalized because that’s his name). If you prefer inspired text over cliff-notes, read 1 Samuel 14. Throughout his abbreviated life, Jonathan is steady, sacrificial, and has unassuming faith in Jehovah. The differences between him and his biological father, King Saul, are starkling (a word I just created by combining “stark” and “startling”). Saul is manic, constantly grasping at every available straw to tip the scales his way (mixed metaphor #1).
The specific verse that doesn’t come to mind when considering Saul’s character is:
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalms 46:10
Now contrast that with this story of Jonathan. He has what can be best (top four at least) be described as profound “bro” faith. He looks over at Armor-Bearer one day and casually says,
“Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work with us: for it is not hard to the Lord to save with many, or with few.” – 1 Samuel 14:6 (Have you ever laid eyes on a manlier verse?)
What proceeds is a God-glorifying, miraculous, pwning of the Philistines by a strategically derelict Israel. It’s faith-fueled, dude-perfect bliss.
An aspect of this story that stands out to me is Jonathan’s character. He isn’t cocky; he’s confident in God. “Let’s go up and see if our incredible God will do something incredible through us.” He doesn’t hatch a plot; he doesn’t even assume that God will do it. He simply puts himself in a position for God to do something great, then, in faith, follows through as God clarifies what’s next. That’s how I want to live my life. Often though, I live like Saul and expect Jonathan results. Let me attempt to illustrate with an oft-misapplied verse.
“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” – Ephesians 5:17
It’s fairly common for a young person, or a grown person, or a me person, to live their life manically grasping at every available straw to find God’s Will. Or, meticulously planning out how they’re going to accomplish God’s Will. Both of these common responses to life are very “Saul”. Yet the person employing them is almost always hoping for a “Jonathan” result. But we shouldn’t live life stressed about “finding” God’s Will or “accomplishing” God’s Will. We should live life obeying God’s Will…for today. That’s what the verses preceding Ephesians 5:17 point out.
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16
God’s Will is for me to redeem today by doing what I know is right…today. As I live that way, God will clarify what the next step should be. Sometimes it will be a God-glorifying, pwning, miracle; more often it will be obeying again today. It’s a very freeing, faith-fueled way to live. It produces the kind of steady, unassuming character Jonathan had. Christ once told a multitude of people:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
He wasn’t implying that following Him was a breeze, but that taking up his yoke was a whole lot easier than trying to live life with a home-made yoke. Christ’s yoke is one where we find peace in following Him. He provides the daily direction. Home-made yokes have us plowing in mad circles hoping we’re doing it right. His yoke has us redeeming today.
That’s my 2 cents anyways, but I sincerely believe they’re Biblical pennies. Hopefully my spare change held some common cents (Mixed Metaphor #2 + Pun = Bonus Points). Let me end by putting some original words in quotation marks.
“Let God be God Every Today then Trust Him to Direct Your Future.” – Me
P.S. Admit it, you expected me to reference Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives didn’t you? Well, I didn’t… until now.
Riley Barrett and his wife Whitney (along with daughters Wemberly and Arden) live in northern Illinois, where he serves as the missions intern at Heartland Baptist Church.