In-Sight: The Simple Will of God

Today, I want to connect two ideas:  simplicity and the will of God.

I am not doing so to “dumb down” either concept, but rather to share some emerging thoughts I’ve been having.

I am increasingly convinced that “the will of God” is to be found in the “simple” acts of every-day living—the very routines which have become so second-nature to us that we may do them without hardly realizing what we are doing, much less that what we are doing is, in fact, the will of God.

I have often thought of the will of God as something “out there”—something I must “find.”  But what if the will of God is something which has “found” me?  What if the will of God is that I live today consciously for the glory of God and the sake of Christ?  What if the will of God is coming to me, rather than asking me to go to it.

There is a stream in historic Christianity that viewed things this way.  You’ll sometimes find it described as “ordinary holiness.”  It’s the conviction that the will of God is happening all the time—all around us.  We do not “find” the will of God, so much as we “enter” the will of God.  That is, we accept the flow of our life as the stream of God’s call to us to be holy.

Jean Pierre de Caussade, a 17th-century priest, put it this way, “Holiness is doing the next thing you have to do, and doing it for God.”   Ordinary holiness.

I realize this does not cover all aspects of the will of God, nor does it make the will of God clear at every turn.  The need for discernment still exists, and the wisdom of community counsel is surely necessary often.

But I do not think this rules out the “simple will of God”—the will in which God says, “My will is for you to live this day for me.  I will give you the people, places, and things in and through which this can happen.  Receive them.  Live them as a disciple of Jesus.  This is my will for you.”

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to In-Sight: The Simple Will of God

  1. Judith Warren-Brown says:

    This message was God speaking to me today in a real way. Thanks.

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