Excellent stuff, Robin. It sounds like I’ve come on a similar journey about how I’ve understood God’s guidance. Sine the age of about 18 I’ve felt God tell me that the most important thing is that I’m with him and vice versa, and that the individual decisions are of secondary importance. And so I couldn’t really agree with that youth group view that God has a particular ‘plan’ for us, where that was meant as very detailed steps for us to take through life. I then read Philip Jensen’s book “Guidance and the Voice of God”, and that said pretty much what you’ve outlined here. And that made me much relieved that someone else had that same, larger, view of God’s Sovereignty. And leaves us with more responsibility for our actions.
However it does leave the difficult question of what’s going on when people feel that God is directing them in the minutiae of life. Is this just an act of His grace, or might they be deluded some of the time. We all know how powerful wishful thinking can be …
That’s a really helpful question – obviously if those ‘directions’ are just making decisions based on what God has revealed, then I guess they’re valid, although it’s potentially unhelpful to others to describe them as such.
Certainly we need to be aware what our hearts are like… it doesn’t take much to go from ‘it feels good, so I’m gonna do it’, to ‘it felt so right’, to ‘it was so evidently of God’. I’d say of course God is directing us in the minutiae of life, but not in the way that many people expect, and not in a way unconnected with the plans, promises & priorities that he’s directing us with in his word.
Do you think we need to re-think some of our language?
Hello, my name is Robin. Welcome to That Happy Certainty, where I write and collate on Christianity, culture, and church-planting. I’m based in Barrow in South Cumbria, England, where my family & I are part of Grace Church Barrow.