I recently wrote a blog post which discussed how to ascertain the will of God in one’s life by coming to know His will which He has proclaimed to us in Scripture. However, there are certain situations which come up in life about which we must make decisions which are not covered in the Bible by either direct command, inherent principle, or divinely-approved example.
For example, the Bible gives no guidance on what God’s will for me would be concerning the type of house I decide to purchase (condominium or two-car garage?). It does not direct me to specifically choose Olive Garden and shun Fazoli’s for lunch, or whether to go to Florida or Europe for vacation. It also does not, in most cases at least, give me direct guidance on what career path to take.
So how do I know God’s will for me concerning questions like these?
Well, one thing to keep in mind is that there are some things about which God actually cares very little. There are some things which are very indifferent to Him. For example, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to inform the church at Rome that God did not actually legislate on the matter of whether one should abstain from meat or not.
Romans 14:2-4 (ESV)
2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.
3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.
4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Paul would later say under inspiration, “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself…” (Rom. 14:14). Combining that with verses 2-4 shows that the controversy in Rome on whether or not it was a sin to eat meat was the epitome of making a mountain out of a molehill, because God had not said that either was right or wrong. Both were fine as far as He was concerned. A study of the entire chapter reveals that all God cared about was that it not divide the church; towards that end He told the meat-eaters to give up their freedom to eat meat if it would keep a brother in Christ from stumbling, and He also told the vegetarian crowd that He had not actually condemned eating meat and so they should stop condemning their meat-eating brethren.
What can we learn from this? The pro-vegetarian crowd would have been well served to study what the apostles had taught them about the doctrine of Christ both orally (Acts 2:42) and via the Scriptures they were writing by inspiration (1 Cor. 14:37). If they had, they would have seen that God had not actually condemned eating meat, and they would have seen that God was indifferent about the entire matter.
In like manner, we should study God’s Word in great detail so we can know what God has revealed that He actually does care about, and thus also come to know the matters about which He has not revealed His will. By doing so, we can ascertain what decisions of life are of indifference to Him. This will not only help us to see that God has not ordained that we eat only at Chick-Fil-A and shun McDonald’s, or that we vacation in Florida and avoid the Northeast…but it will also help us to avoid judging other Christians when we see them doing something which we might personally disagree with, but about which God has not in fact given His will in any way in the Bible.
There’s another factor which we must take into account, and if God wills (see what I did there? That’s actually a big hint) we will discuss it next week. Thanks for reading!