Its Satan I tell you!

Satan made me do it! Satan caused me to go work in that soup kitchen so I'd miss out on that Bible study!

If that comment sounds confusing, it should be. But that comment very well could have come out of the mouths of some very close people to me.

okay okay - I've gotten pumped up enough about something that I'm going to burn some brain cells here.

So I had a recent experience with a church member that really got me fired up (its a pun, haha, satan?). Basically I got angry because there is this worthless question that has been bouncing around in my mind lately, and I *know* its causing me grief. The question is...

Can we be so worried about Satan/worrying/theworld/ourselves that we hesitate and miss our "best" purposes? C.S. Lewis, Frank Pereti (sp?) and a bunch of others would LOVE for you to ask them this question, but its not a question I want to consider. Why? Because. Its one of those arguments that feels like it goes around and around and around. I think you can definitely know God's will, and so it can be reasoned that you can know what is NOT God's will, but really? Why would that even concern me if I'm focused on God's will?

See what I mean? It sounds like a worthless argument. It comes from a good place, but I don't really care if that counseling session with that grieving couple was "of the devil" because I was really supposed to be out on a street corner with some homeless guy (there it is again hehe).

I think some people get so wrapped up in proper discernment they become paralyzed. They THINK they are comparing apples and oranges, when really they are asking which is more an apple? The green one or the red one?

And does God even care? Obviously the Church needs to look at itself and say "This is where God wants us". But we can't beat ourselves over the head and say "Oh my! What a bad Church we are! We were ministering over here when we should have been over there!" The most important determining factor on the importance of a particular action is how well it lines up with God's will. Some things are "more" God's will than others, I'll grant you that. But some are a lot closer to God's will than others too... for example... God presses upon a pastor that her Church needs to minister to old folks. Compare with me...three apples and an orange. (the orange comes first)

1.) The pastor sells the church and retires to St. Kitts. and just so you know, this could never happen in the UMC.
2.) The pastor shares the vision with the congregation and they decide to pay for/open a nursing home.
3.) The congregation and pastor share a vision with each other and decide to make visiting shut-ins a requirement for membership.
4.) The pastor hires a retired minister to care for the elderly in the congregation because she's always wanted to be a youth director. (so she works with the youth)

Now see....I look at my hypothetical list and I see three apples and an orange. But SOME people have me fired up because they see three oranges and ONE apple. The apple of course, being the correct "God's Will" action that is straight from divine intervention.

See? What the mizz? Sure, you want to get better, but how can you fault a church for reaching out to youth? Its easy to fault a church for poor management and misplaced programming. But faithful planning? How could that not be as good as something else?

I'm not saying we can't discern God's will, I'm just saying you can be SO wrapped up in trying to determine it that you NEVER get off the ground in the first place.

I'd love your thoughts...


  1. I used to be afraid I'd miss God calling me to...something important. So I waited around for something important. Then I realized I wasn't doing anything so I started doing everything. When I recovered from the burnout, I decided to do what I can. So now I just do what I can. And I'm happy with that. I'm pretty sure that God is, too.

  2. You're so right Carl (old Auburn/Shug Jordan reference). We spend so much time trying to discern the perfect way, or to define the sin that would make us unworthy to proceed, that we don't go anywhere. I see a comical scene starring many of us had we been Peter, Andrew, James and John. We would never have gotten untangled from our own nets as we tried to drop them and follow Jesus (theme of one of my books to come, so don't steal it). I think Jesus thought He was setting us free from this kind of torturous consideration. I often hear Him saying to me, "just come on, we'll deal with that on the way." How bout them apples (or oranges, I'm never sure)?

  3. And you know - to stick to your analogy Bob, (and don't worry, I won't steal your book hehe)

    my friend feels that God has thrown him a net...maybe even a few...but he can't decide which net is the right one to use. It wasn't the net he had before, that much is clear. But satan might be throwing extra nets for him to use in fishing for people. Why? Because thats what satan does...he tries to mess us up. The theology behind determining God's will and determining satan's will are both drastically different and dangerous.

    I really like the fact that Lyn's comments and your comments share a similar theme: just following Jesus. Cmon! lets go! :)

    I like them apples.


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