Most of us at some time or another ask the question, “What is God’s will for my life?” According to author Emerson Eggerichs, the correct question, the one we should be asking, is simply, “What is God’s will?” He asserts that there are four statements in the Bible which specifically identify a behavior as God’s will:
- John 6:40 — Believe in Christ
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3 — Abstain from sexual sin
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18 — Give thanks in everything
- 1 Peter 2:13-15 — Submit in doing right
Dr. Eggerichs asserts that as long as we are keeping these four “foundational” commands we can be assured that we are acting within God’s will and are free to make other decisions based on our best judgement. He also believes that:
“As the apostle John told us in 1 John 3:21-22, when we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight, then whatever we ask–as individuals in specific circumstances– we receive from Him.”
I have several issues with this book. First, I’m not convinced that Bible verses which include the phrase, “this is the will of God” should be singled out as the only, or even most important instructions concerning God’s will. Paul, in his letters to the churches, lists many examples of appropriate and inappropriate behavior for Christians. Aren’t these God’s will for us as well?
Second, original sin renders us unable to perfectly or completely follow God’s will, no matter how good our intentions. If we could do that, we wouldn’t need a Savior. Our decisions will always be tainted. Doing our best, or trying, won’t cut it, and doesn’t insure that our motives for decision-making will be pure.
Third, I feel that Dr. Eggerichs comes close to saying we can manipulate God. If we follow these rules, we’re pleasing to God, and He will give us the things we want, often in surprisingly miraculous and unexpected ways. Although he is careful to point out:
“Our omniscient God knows what is wisest and may countermand our conclusions”
“(we don’t) receive miraculous interventions like this every time (we) pray…”
he gives example after example of God supplying the right amount of money or intervening miraculously to fulfil the need of someone who has prayed and who is “within God’s will.”
The bottom line is, this book may actually damage the faith of some who are disappointed by decisions that don’t work out as they hoped or prayers that seem to be unanswered. It also promotes a legalistic view that assumes our failures stem from insufficient faith and obedience.
If you would like to learn more about this book and author, follow the link below:
P.S. In case our readers are wondering why I would post a review of a book I do not recommend, the Lutheran Ladies became reviewers for B&H Publishing some time ago. We receive free books to review in return for posting the reviews on our blog and on other venues. This is my first negative review.
Has anyone read Leslie Weatherhead’s book The Will of God? It is a collection of 5 of his sermons on determining God’s will for our lives, written in London after WWII to try to make sense of the terrible things that had happened. There is a new, updated edition with a preface by Adam Hamilton.
I haven’t read it, but I will try to get it. It’s a topic that interests every Christian. Readers? Authors? Have you read this or another particularly good book on the topic that can be recommended?