On the back cover of my book on how to discover God’s will, The Trail, there’s a controversial question: “Is it possible to miss God’s will?” Many of those who initially read the manuscript reacted against that idea.
“If God’s sovereign, how can anything but his will actually occur?”
“I don’t want to live in fear of missing God’s best for my life!”
As you might imagine, a lot of personal study preceded the actual writing of the little allegory that is contained in the book.
I do, in fact, believe that it’s possible for a Christian to miss God’s will. It’s not that I want believers to live in fear, but the exact opposite. I want followers of Christ to live with hope, that they’re living the life God planned for them to live when He gave them eternal life.
Here are three reasons I believe it’s possible to miss God’s will.
The Commands to Christians: In Galatians 5:16 we’re exhorted to live, or walk in the Spirit. When we live in the Spirit we display the fruit of the Spirit. In similar passages we’re commanded to put on Christ (Galatians 3:27; Romans 13:14), be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and to cloth ourselves with Christ’s character (Colossians 3:12). The multiplied exhortations of the New Testament to believers to pursue Christ seem to obviously allow for the other possibility. I believe that there are masses of Christians living outside of God’s best for their lives because they are refusing to access their resources in Christ Jesus.
The Connections Between Intimacy and Guidance: I won’t get into all of the verses I discovered and wrote into the book showing the connection between intimacy with God and guidance from God. The most obvious is Romans 12:1-2:
Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God – which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
After eleven chapters on the mercies of God, Paul calls on the Romans to give their lives to God in sacrificial worship to test and approve what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God. This is only one of many passages I discovered that connect our willingness to trust God enough to give him our lives with our capacity to discern his will.
My Personal Experience: As I worked my way through the passages and verses that were the bedrock to the story of The Trail, I couldn’t help wishing that I would have heard this message years ago. Even though the general trajectory of my life has been to follow Christ as his devoted disciple and his grace has overwhelmed my mistakes and sins along the way, I believe that I spent months and sometimes years of my life sidetracked from God’s best for my life. It wasn’t even that I was doing something horrible and wrong, it was just that I allowed my heart to drift from his love. And when that happened, I know that I drifted from receptivity to his messages and guidance.
These are only three of many reasons why I believe it’s possible for believers to miss God’s will. If I developed every reason I’d have to write a book.
Oh wait, I did.
I hope this helps you in some small way.
Question: How can I help you in your quest to discern God’s Will?