Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Discerning Peace and Joy in Your Decisions

You shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace.(Isaiah 55:12)
Someone asked about how to know the will of God when it is not revealed in Scripture. For example, how do we choose between two or more options which are not prohibited?

My answer is basically this: Where does the peace of God rest? “Let the peace of God rule in your heart” (Colossians 3:15). Along with that, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (v. 16). In Isaiah, God gives us this promise: “You shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace”(Isaiah 55:12).

Where does peace and joy rest in your decision-making process? If you have a few options before you, which one brings you a divine sense of peace? Perhaps His peace rests on none of the options, in which case, perhaps you need to look for more options.

It could rest on more than one option. If they both (or all) lead you into a sense of His peace, it may be that they both (or all) will bring you to the results He wants to produce in you. God has given you an open hand, and the choice is yours.

What should we eat? What should we drink? What clothes should we wear? Jesus taught us to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things would be taken care of (Matthew 6:33). Sometimes God gives us a specific provision or a specific guidance concerning those things, but I think that God often gives us a general provision and guidance, and as we orient ourselves to His kingdom and righteousness (or His rightness — God’s way of doing and being right), everything else will generally fall into place without us having to give much though to them.

In regard to divine guidance, here is something I find very interesting about Adam's first assignment: naming the animals. God gave Adam the authority to name the animals, which was more than simply being a clerk and categorizing the inventory; it was more a matter of establishing the identities, purposes and functions of the animals — a pretty significant task. But God did not tell him what to call them. Rather, He simply brought the animals to Adam and observed what he named them. Operating in the authority of God, in the likeness of God, with the breath of God in his lungs, and with the general purpose of “subduing” the earth (that is, bringing it into divine order), Adam named the animals as he desired. God did not micromanage, but supported the decision he delegated to Adam: Whatever Adam name each creature, that is what it was called!

God leads by peace and joy. If we are dwelling in His presence, in His presence is fullness of joy, and we can trust that joy, because it is His. So if God's peace and joy rests on one option in particular, that is a pretty good indicator. If it rests on none of the options, that may also be a pretty good indicator. If it rests on more than one option, do as you desire.