Thy Will Be Done

‘”Thy will be done.’ For instance, when you wish, and by every means endeavor, to be well, and yet remaln ill–then say, ‘Thy will be done.’ When you undertake something, and your undertaking does not succeed, say, ‘Thy will be done.’ When you do good to others, and they repay you with evil, say, ‘Thy will be done.’ Or when you would like to sleep, and are overtaken by sleeplessness, say, ‘Thy will be done.’ In general, do not become irritated when anything is not done in accordance with your will, but learn to submit in everything to the Will of the Heavenly Father.”

FATHER JOHN

This was part of my daily devotional reading for today, and it makes me see how attached I am to my own will, and the way I want things to be or to turn out. It’s hard to accept sickness or failure or discomfort. Often I feel like Job, questioning God about why these things are happening to me. As the quote says, I need to learn trust and acceptance. Maybe you do, too.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

The Will of God by Leslie D. Weatherhead –Book Review

Following God’s will is obviously part of leading a pious life. However, many Christians feel this is easier said than done.  Is everything that happens, good and bad, part of God’s will?  If bad things are not God’s will, why do they happen?  How can we discern God’s will for us, personally.  In this short book, Leslie Weatherhead gives his insights into these questions.

He begins by discussing God’s will from three different perspectives:

  • God’s intentional will
  • God’s circumstantial will
  • God’s ultimate will

God’s intentional will is always good; for example, tragedy, illness and death are never God’s will for us. Adam and Eve were created to live eternally with God.  However, sin came into the world and now affects all that we do and are.The Will of God by [Weatherhead, Leslie D.]  Because God allows us to suffer the consequences of sin, bad things happen.  The world, the flesh and the devil can temporarily thwart God’s will.  Even then, through His circumstantial will, God is able to bring good out of bad things.  A person who experiences suffering may go on to grow in their faith, to reach out to others in similar circumstances,  to found a program, write a book, or undertake other activities which turn that suffering into blessing.  God’s ultimate will will always prevail.  God is omnipotent, and His ultimate plans for our lives cannot fail.  The Book of Revelation tells us that in the end all evil will be defeated and there will be no more “death or mourning.” (2:14)

Weatherhead’s advice for knowing God’s will?  Know God.  The more we worship, pray and study, the more we walk with Him daily, the more we practice our piety, the better equipped we will be to understand and do His will.  Other suggestions include:

  1. Listen to our conscience
  2. Use common sense
  3. Seek good advice from friends
  4. Read great literature and history
  5. Heed the voice of the church
  6. Pray for “inner light”

This book was originally published in 1944 so some of the examples and anecdotes are a bit dated;  however, I think most Christians would find it logical,  easy to read and full of helpful thoughts and suggestions.  I give it five stars!

 

The 4 Wills of God — Book Review

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:

  1. John 6:40 — Believe in Christ
  2. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 — Abstain from sexual sin
  3. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 — Give thanks in everything
  4. 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?

The 4 Wills of God: The Way He Directs Our Steps and Frees Us to Direct Our Own by [Eggerichs, Emerson]

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”

and

“(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:

http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/products/the-4-wills-of-god

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.