Back on track. I have had so many revelations the past few weeks it's crazy. I wish I could verbalize all of them in some nice bullet point list for everyone so that we could all grow together. Unfortunately, everything is already all jumbled in my mind again. I always think ah-ha! Lord, I UNDERSTAND - and then I'm onto another thought and another ah-ha moment. That's why I need to start writing things down again. I journal but this is just easier. Typing - much less tiresome and it seems it comes out more detailed.
Okay, if you are still reading this blog I applaud you because I probably would have given up on me along time ago because this is just a mess of sidetracks.
WELL, I just want to say that I really enjoy friendship. Just thinking about friendship - old friends and brand new ones - truly warms my heart. It's so clear to me that the Lord designed us to be in community. It's an inherent comfort for all of us to be genuinely loved and cared for by another human being. I love the friendships that just immediately click. The unique people that just bring out the best in you and who you feel you are better around. Last night, as I sat around the table with new friends Carrie and Dave on our new weekly dinner tradition I realized that they are true gifts! People who I am able to comfortably talk about discipleship and evangelism - who can question together what that looks like - and genuinely listen and respect each others' viewpoints. It was just beautiful y'all! Such a wonderful moment of experiencing the body of Christ in that little kitchen in Warsaw, IN.
So I realized that I have been chewing on something for the past several weeks and I finally feel compelled to share because...well, I just do. In the midst of major life decisions - career, relationship, recovery, location...okay wow basically any major decision you have to make I had to make the past few weeks so no wonder this was on my mind. So I was thinking about my ministry class and our discussion on the three different approaches to discerning God's will.
Okay friends. Yes, the topics of predestination and free will are messy topics. So does that mean we should never talk about them? Definitely not. On the contrary, I think it's really important that all believers actively evaluate what they believe on this topic because it influences your daily life and your major decisions A LOT. I also realized that majority of people don't necessarily get the opportunity to sit through a ministry class that challenges them to think through these things, so here we go - welcome to class.
Three Approaches (generalized definitions don't quote me on these):
1. Wisdom Approach - Basically leaves us on your own to make God-honoring decisions based off of the Bible and seeking wise counsel from others.
2. Specific-Will Approach - A popular choice of modern churches, this shifts the workload to the Lord who has determined our precise path - and all we have to do is find it.
3. Relationship Approach - This recognizes that God is intimately involved in our lives and yet limits his control in such a way that requires us to take responsibility for decisions. He provides us guidance while in relationship with us to be able to make decisions that will be God-honoring.
So what do you believe?
The tricky part: all of these approaches have Scripture to back them up. The other tricky part: certain ideology has been engrained in those of us who grew up in the church. In fact, our Sunday School lesson for the pre-schoolers this past Sunday was "God has a unique plan for your life." I sat there and watched as all the kids repeated that lesson. Unfortunately, I couldn't repeat it with them.
I think of it in regards to the crucifixion - God's sovereign plan was to send His son to die on the cross and be raised from the grave the third day. That was going to happen, that was set from the beginning of time. But was Peter chosen before birth to be the one who walked on the water? Was Paul pre-destined to oppose Jesus only to be transformed later on the road to Damascus? Or did the Lord allow those things to happen as circumstances unveiled and He saw that the Kingdom could be glorified through that?
I'm not telling you to think either which way. To be honest, I have at one point in my life believed all three of these approaches. Either way though, it is good to pray and discern what you believe because it will majorly influence your decisions and how you respond to others' advice as well. Unfortunately, when others tell me "If you guys break up it's okay because the Lord is just bringing you closer to the person He has chosen for you," well I'd have to disagree...because I don't think it works that way. I could tell you all my beliefs, but let's face it this blog is already long and jumbled and most of you are probably already lost.
Moral of the story is - don't run from the things that scare you. Yes, theology can be overwhelming - but does that mean we shouldn't seek to grow in our understanding? Yes, evangelism can be scary and uncomfortable - does that mean we shouldn't spread the Gospel? Yes, vulnerable relationships can hurt you but does that mean we should never let others in? We will never understand everything, and at some point or another we will probably stand more as barriers to the Gospel then pathways - but that doesn't mean God wants us to stand paralyzed. Keep on keeping on, challenge your mind, and seek His face - for those who ask it will be given and for those who seek will find.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7.