So many options in the world today to do good.
I could start a business that organizes material for starting groups at churches to help with that post-college gap. I could go to seminary. I could climb the ladder to be an example in the workplace. I could be a missionary.
I could work to end slavery worldwide. I could start or join a non-profit to help people re-entering society from prison.
I could volunteer with the youth group at my church. I could be more aggressive talking about faith with my non-Christian gym friends. I could give more money to charity.
I could do…..something else other than what I’m doing. One of my biggest fears (plural) is that I’m not doing what God wants me to do.
Sins of omission are harder to determine than sins of commission. As we study faith and our heart is changed, it becomes easier for us to see sins of commission and act to remove them from our life. We make the fix. Keep going.
Sometimes, if you are afraid of failing God in the way I’m speaking of – doing the wrong good thing – it moves to the point of trying to know the will of God, because you start to see sins of omission. Things you haven’t done in the past, opportunities to share the gospel, opportunities to serve and give, opportunities to make a sacrifice for someone else and intercede – they all start to make you want to make the best next step. What about when the options are all “good” things?
Should you move? Should you quit? Should you take the risk? Should you go back to school? Should you start that company? Should you write that blog post? Maybe.
What if it’s not the thing God wants me to do? What will happen? Am I not in touch enough to know?
As much as there are warnings about a lukewarm faith in Revelation, this can cause us to be on our guard about having it all together. It can also make us run ourselves into the dirt. Where’s the balance?
Humans beings are bound to experience time linearly, which lends itself to anxiety, fear, nostalgia, and more. The Bible tells us that God has not given us a spirit fear but a Spirit of power, love, and discipline/sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). So why are we afraid of in failing?
We conflate our vision of being completely in line with God and our happiness with His good and perfect will. We fear if we don’t do the right things, God won’t let us be happy.
Would He want me to take the lower-paying missionary job that won’t allow me to support as many people?
Would He want me to stay in the corporate job where, as a good steward, I can’t mention my faith at times?
We ask those assuming that doing “it” will also mean we are without cares or wants. The truth is that we can do good even in uncomfortable situations.
We have to change the way we think (Romans 12:2). Two practical things someone can do when feeling anxious about a choice:
1) select people one at a time to do nice things for (love)
2) pick something in your life that’s messy or irregular and make it more regular (discipline).
Stop thinking about the choice and the impact on ourselves. This follows the 2 Timothy verse and removes the distraction of worry in many cases and helps redirect the heart. Community, prayer, fasting, mentorship, listening to the Holy Spirit, scripture, are all things to lean on and build up in life, as well.
There is one more thing – that I’m getting better at doing – when I encounter things that seem too big to handle after prayer and bringing it to God. Recently, when fearing about whether or not I’m finding the will of God in my life, I remember grace.
Grace that removes my fear. Grace that tells me to praise God in my confusion. Grace that reminds me of what He’s already done instead of asking Him what He will do for me. Grace to Noah. Grace shown to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. Grace to Daniel and Ruth and Esther. Grace to Naomi and Mordecai. Grace for a dead little girl and a woman bleeding for years. Grace to you and me. Grace foretold in the same book of Revelation.
He is good, gracious, sovereign. I can praise God when I don’t know what to do.
This response works for many situations. In those times you’re at a crossroad, no noticeable sin in the choices, don’t know which path to take, and you are worried He’ll be displeased at your decision, take time to remember who God is.
Even if you DO pick something that doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would in His plan. Remember, praise – He sees Christ. Act confidently for God in that fact. Confidence from the Latin “con fide” meaning “with FAITH.”