For all that the Bible is, it is not a prescriptive, step-by-step, manual on how to navigate every circumstance of life. For all that the Holy Spirit is, His is not to “call an audible” in every situation with a choice, nor to act as a perpetual GPS voice telling us when to turn left . . . when to turn right . . . when to make a u-turn. Now to be sure, God has, through His Word and through His Spirit, given us everything we need for living a godly life (2Peter 1:3-4) . . . and, to be sure again, God works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure (Php. 2:13) . . . but in that, we still need to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” (Php. 2:12) . . . we still need to figure out the details.
. . . and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:10 ESV)
It’s often said that “God has a plan for your life” . . . true enough. But it’s not like that plan is delivered to us in some script . . . our lines aren’t written out for us . . . we don’t really get to read ahead and know how the plot turns out . . . and there certainly isn’t some dude sitting in a director’s chair bellowing at us when to “enter stage left” and “exit stage right”. We know there’s a plan . . . we know generally how to “get in character” . . . on some matters we have some pretty explicit “thou shalls and thou shalt nots” . . . but beyond that, we need to discern what’s pleasing to the Lord.
We need to take the Bible’s principles for life and map them to the specifics of life. Through the help of the Spirit, we need to test, examine, and scrutinize, the paths before us and seek to recognize the way well pleasing to the Lord. Though God is Sovereign, we are to be circumspect . . . “looking carefully how we walk” . . . seeking to walk as wise and not as the foolish (Eph. 5:15).
How tragic when believers are doing life on auto-pilot . . . handing over the controls to whatever “feels good” . . . or merging onto the world’s “express lanes” and going with the flow in order to make good time.
Instead, we are to be discerners . . . we are to test our choices . . . we are to examine the forks in the road before us . . . and seek, through the Word of God in front of us and by the mind of Christ inside of us, to ascertain the best choice and to take the right road and so, “walk in a manner worthy of our calling” (Eph. 4:1).
It’s kind of exciting, actually (maybe exciting like an extreme roller-coaster sometimes) . . . to consciously submit our wills to His . . . to purposefully seek to have His mind be ours . . . to engage in the walk and the work He has prepared in advance for us . . . experiencing the reality of a living Word . . . hearing the inner voice of an ever-present Holy Spirit. Being discerning is interacting with the divine.
May not always get it right, but that’s when we trust in a Father who will bring us back to paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Ps. 23:3).
Figuring out the details . . . by His grace . . . for His glory . . .