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Thread: Room within the will of God?

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Room within the will of God?

    I've been convinced that like Stuart Briscoe said, the will of God is like a playing field, with boundaries, and within those boundaries, free choices are allowed. Or like the garden of Eden, with one tree fenced off, and from the rest "you may freely eat." (Gen. 2:16) But recently I've been considering the various "not on my own accord" sayings of Jesus in John, perhaps the clearest being:

    "So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.' " (John 8:28)

    So if Jesus, our example (and the Holy Spirit, see John 16:13), would not even speak of his own accord, how much more should we imitate this, and not choose our own way, even in allowed matters?

    "The self is given to us that we may sacrifice it: it is ours, that we, like Christ, may have somewhat to offer--not that we should torment it, but that we should deny it; not that we should thwart it, but that we should abandon it utterly: then it can no more be vexed. 'What can this mean? we are not to thwart, but to abandon?' It means this: we must refuse, abandon, deny self altogether as a ruling, or determining, or originating element in us. We are no more to think 'what should I like to do?' but 'what would the Living One have me do?' " (George MacDonald)

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    I like to think of it as....

    There are some things God specifically told us not to do. Don't do those things.
    There are some things God specifically told us TO do. Do those things.
    There are a bunch of things that don't seem overly concerning to God.

    Focus on those first two things, and ask God to guide through the rest.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  3. Amen Sparko, Thoughtful Monk amen'd this post.
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    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    "Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will." -Ayn Rand
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

    "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    This is where prayer comes in.

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    "Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will." -Ayn Rand
    But is there is room for free choices within the will of God? That is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko
    This is where prayer comes in.
    Yes, and Jesus prayed "Not my will, but Yours be done." (Luke 22:42)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke
    There are some things God specifically told us not to do. Don't do those things.
    There are some things God specifically told us TO do. Do those things.
    There are a bunch of things that don't seem overly concerning to God.

    Focus on those first two things, and ask God to guide through the rest.
    And I have believed this for most of my Christian life. Yet one of the things God told us to do is "Be imitators of God" (Eph. 5:1), or as Paul said it, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1).

    "So Jesus answered them, 'I tell you the solemn truth, the Son can do nothing on his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.' " (John 5:19)

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    I've been convinced that like Stuart Briscoe said, the will of God is like a playing field, with boundaries, and within those boundaries, free choices are allowed. Or like the garden of Eden, with one tree fenced off, and from the rest "you may freely eat." (Gen. 2:16) But recently I've been considering the various "not on my own accord" sayings of Jesus in John, perhaps the clearest being:

    "So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.' " (John 8:28)

    So if Jesus, our example (and the Holy Spirit, see John 16:13), would not even speak of his own accord, how much more should we imitate this, and not choose our own way, even in allowed matters?

    "The self is given to us that we may sacrifice it: it is ours, that we, like Christ, may have somewhat to offer--not that we should torment it, but that we should deny it; not that we should thwart it, but that we should abandon it utterly: then it can no more be vexed. 'What can this mean? we are not to thwart, but to abandon?' It means this: we must refuse, abandon, deny self altogether as a ruling, or determining, or originating element in us. We are no more to think 'what should I like to do?' but 'what would the Living One have me do?' " (George MacDonald)

    Blessings,
    Lee
    Regarding John 8:28, Jesus speaks as the message or logos of God to communicate to us the way of salvation. In the approach of John 8:28, Jesus spoke as a prophet and within his humanity. These words of Jesus are conveying that he has not arrived at his message by human intellect ... it is not a message of man's wisdom. I think that situation speaks of his unique situation of how he was taught by the Father. So it does not seem plausible (or, at least, not typical) for us to be taught by the Father in a similar fashion. Beyond this analysis, CowPoke makes a decent breakdown of the way we should live.

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    These words of Jesus are conveying that he has not arrived at his message by human intellect ... it is not a message of man's wisdom. I think that situation speaks of his unique situation of how he was taught by the Father. So it does not seem plausible (or, at least, not typical) for us to be taught by the Father in a similar fashion.
    "Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing from himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19)

    Jesus here gives us the reason he does nothing from himself, it is because whatever the Father does, the Son also does. Not because he is being uniquely taught by the Father. The Son imitates the Father, and we are to imitate the Son.

    "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children..." (Eph. 5:1)
    "... we have the mind of Christ." (1 Cor. 2:16)

    Note also that all through the Bible, God's people are described, are describing themselves as servants or slaves of God.

    "You shall strike the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel." (2 Ki 9:7)

    "James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad..." (James 1:1)

    Blessings,
    Lee
    Last edited by lee_merrill; 06-26-2020 at 10:45 AM.
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

  9. #8
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    "Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing from himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19)

    Jesus here gives us the reason he does nothing from himself, it is because whatever the Father does, the Son also does. Not because he is being uniquely taught by the Father. The Son imitates the Father, and we are to imitate the Son.

    "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children..." (Eph. 5:1)
    "... we have the mind of Christ." (1 Cor. 2:16)

    Note also that all through the Bible, God's people are described, are describing themselves as servants or slaves of God.

    "You shall strike the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel." (2 Ki 9:7)

    "James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad..." (James 1:1)

    Blessings,
    Lee
    We should always strive to align our will to God's. God always has the best interest in mind. The problem is we don't always KNOW what God's will is. We can get a general idea of what to do or not do from the bible, but many times we are faced with situations where we simply don't know. That is where prayer comes in, and talking things over with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Jesus was unique in that he always knew exactly what the Father wanted, because he was the Son.

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    We should always strive to align our will to God's. God always has the best interest in mind. The problem is we don't always KNOW what God's will is. We can get a general idea of what to do or not do from the bible, but many times we are faced with situations where we simply don't know. That is where prayer comes in, and talking things over with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
    I agree, and we need to seek God, to seek to know him better, and to know his will better.

    Jesus was unique in that he always knew exactly what the Father wanted, because he was the Son.
    I believe the closer we get to God, the more we will know of his will. Those in heaven know and do his will perfectly:

    "Bless the LORD, you His angels,
    Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
    Obeying the voice of His word!
    Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
    You who serve Him, doing His will." (Ps 103:20–21)

    So the question is, is there room within the will of God? If we were to know the will of God perfectly, would we be able to still act on our own, within the will of God?

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

  11. #10
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    I agree, and we need to seek God, to seek to know him better, and to know his will better.


    I believe the closer we get to God, the more we will know of his will. Those in heaven know and do his will perfectly:

    "Bless the LORD, you His angels,
    Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
    Obeying the voice of His word!
    Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
    You who serve Him, doing His will." (Ps 103:20–21)

    So the question is, is there room within the will of God? If we were to know the will of God perfectly, would we be able to still act on our own, within the will of God?

    Blessings,
    Lee
    I am sure there is room. God is pleased for us to have free will and wants us to use it to glorify him. The problem is when we use it to sin instead.

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