Sometimes it’s hard to discern God’s will.
Every Sunday I post something from my perspective as a Christian, because in my life, my faith is very closely related to my frugality. If you’re not a Christian, you are always welcome to read, of course. But if you’d rather skip my Sunday posts, know that I will be back to my normal posts on frugality and personal finance every Monday.
I think I’ve been watching too much TV lately. Last week an episode of Oprah caught my eye, and Friday I just knew I had to blog about an episode of Dr. Phil. The guests on Friday’s episode were parents of 7 children. They called themselves strong Christians, they homeschool, and they say they rely on the Lord. So far I’m with them. Though I don’t homeschool myself, I have many friends who do, and I respect that choice.
However, the husband didn’t have a job. Their electricity had been turned off. Their water had been shut off. They had no money. Their home was in foreclosure. But instead of looking for a job, the husband was insistent that the Lord was leading him to be an entrepreneur. He said that getting a job was the easy way out, because you get paid whether you work hard or pick your nose. He insisted that being an entrepreneur was the way to go.
The problem is that every business he had tried to start had failed. Another problem is that one of the products he was trying to sell came very close to breaking the law (it was a spray to put on your license plate, so the numbers wouldn’t show up if you got caught running a red light by an intersection camera).
The husband kept falling back on Psalm 37:4:
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
My opinion is that he took that verse way out of context. The husband’s view was that he was trying to follow the Lord’s will, and therefore he was certain that God would give him what he wanted….self-employment, provision to keep their house…you get the picture.
I think he’s wrong. I think when you delight yourself in the Lord, your desires are transformed into His desires. Instead of continuing to insist on your own way, the nearer you draw to God, the more you don’t care about your own desires anymore. You want God to use you in whatever way He pleases.
My other problem is that the husband thought selling red light photo paint was God’s will. Yet, how could it be God’s will when it’s a product that assists people in getting away with breaking the law? In 1 Peter 2:13-17 we read:
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
The red light photo paint is in direct conflict to submitting yourself to authority. And since God cannot contradict himself, selling the paint couldn’t have been God’s will.
So how do you know what God’s will is? I can’t answer that for every person, but I do know this. If what you’re thinking about doing is in contradiction to what God says in the Bible, it’s not God’s will.
I also know that you have to take the opportunities that are brought your way. I said after I cut up my credit cards that I wanted to wait on God to provide for an emergency, rather than rely on credit cards. I stand by that statement.
However, I do believe that doesn’t mean waiting around for God to write a check. I believe God provides us with opportunities, and our job is to work hard at those opportunities.
Last week I told you about our unexpected tax bill. I still don’t know exactly how we’ll pay that bill. What I do know is that a friend of ours called this week and asked if I’d be willing to pet sit for them while they’re out of the country. Pet sitting is a pain, but it’s money that I can use toward the tax bill. And I thank God for the opportunity to make a little extra cash.
One final thought. God is very good at closing doors when you try to take the wrong path. I look back at my husband’s attempts to find a decent job when he was unemployed. He kept applying for jobs that he was well qualified for, and he kept getting turned down. We couldn’t figure out why, and in the end, we just came to the conclusion that God was trying to move Jim out of sales.
I think when you’re trying to discern God’s will, you need to pray, search the scriptures, and then take available opportunities. Ask God to shut down the opportunities that aren’t right and throw the doors wide open for the things he wants you to do. In my experience, that’s a prayer He answers.
Photo by .Milan.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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