There are so many Christian jokes floating around these days.
They are based on these cultural traps that we all fall into on a regular basis. They are traditions that have resulted from decades and centuries of people getting it wrong and passing their wrongness along to us. We see these ideas mistaken for something akin to doctrine, we laugh at them, and yet we do absolutely nothing to change them.
There are so many principles and understandings that may not be Biblically required per say, but they sure do appear necessary to modern Christian culture and daily life. In the last decade or so especially, Christianity has become more about culture than about closeness with Christ.
Every youth group name needs to evoke a desire to start either a revival or a war. Girls should only date a guy whose Bible is falling apart. We don’t practice a religion, we follow Jesus. Or the worst one of all, in my opinion: We must make the right decision at every moment or else we are not following God’s plan for our life – or worse, we may very well be falling away from His good graces and into a trajectory that is completely and irreparably contrary to His will.
This is an inaccurate view of our own place and God’s power. Whatever you believe about the will of God and our own role in deciding the way our lives play out, we do not (thank God!) have any power to get in the way of what God wants to do.
The Bible is clear on that, using the word “sovereign” 296 times to describe Him. In the Greek, the term “sovereign” refers to power without limit or to absolute domination. I want to make sure that you read that correctly in order to understand the full extent of what this means for the Christian clich√© that our right or wrong decisions play a defining role in God’s plan for our life. It doesn’t refer to absolute “dominion”, it refers to absolute “domination”.¬† It’s not just the ability to control situations, but the exercise of that control. God can do whatever He wants at any time, and He does.
The problem here is that of mistaken categories. We believe that God has called us to a certain person to marry, a specific career to choose, and a unique place to live. But the Bible says that we are called to glorify God. We are called to be holy. We are called to make disciples. We are called to suffer. We are called to love.
These things are not tied to or confined to a single relationship, career, or place. We shouldn’t worry about choosing the wrong path, because the right path is simply following, serving, and glorifying Jesus in all that we do.
We make terrible decisions all the time. We make decisions based on pride, selfishness, confusion, hatred, lack of information, and other terrible reasons to make decisions. And the good news is just that: The Good News. There is grace for our bad decisions. God works all things together for the good of those who love Him. And in this simple good news, we find the solution to our dilemma of not knowing what to do. We simply need to love God.
I’m not arguing that we should stop considering our decisions, stop praying about what to do, or stop trying to do the right thing. But we make far too big of a deal out of being right rather than righteous. We worry more than we wait on God to show us the way. We let the cultural clich√© of discerning the singular will of God for our life take the place of intimate closeness with Him and submission to Him. Let go of control and let trust take its place. If you love God and glorify Him, you are doing the right thing. And there’s grace to cover the rest.