My daughter was showing me something in her Youthwalk Devotional Bible the other day. They had a little sidebar topic called “Inner C’s for Inner Peace”. It gave three C’s to find the will of God. For the most part, I thought it was bunk.
(By the way, that seems to be how things have been going recently. I’m finding a lot that I disagree with nowadays — and these are things that I’ve been believing for some time. But I digress.)
Here are the three C’s:
1. Common Sense
Regarding Common Sense, the authors make this statement, which I’ve often heard elsewhere: “Christianity is a rational faith. God is a logical God.” I agree with the latter, and disagree with the former, and here’s why: I’ve made a distinction between what is “rational” and what is “logical”.
I really don’t think that Christianity is a rational faith at all. One dictionary defines the word as “agreeable to reason; not absurd, preposterous, extravagant, foolish, fanciful, or the like.” Yet how many times has God asked this very thing of his followers? Those familiar with their Bibles can easily think of times when God has required the absurd and preposterous (Moses standing up to Pharoah), the extravagant (sell everything you have), the foolish (Peter getting out of the boat), and the fanciful (the hope of heaven). Christianity is anything but a rational faith, and those who present it as such are draining it of its power.
By contrast, I do believe God is a logical God. That is, his actions are consistent and predictable, at least on a large scale. For example, he has claimed that he wants to redeem a people that he can call his own, and we see that this is just what he is doing. His actions may not be rational (as defined above), but they are definitely logical.
The authors’ second point is Contentment, and that’s what my daughter disagreed with. She pointed at this statement: “Being in God’s will should result in an inner peace in your life.” She laughed and said, “I believe God has told me not to date. But I’m sure not happy about it!” I couldn’t help but think of the many, many saints before her who did the will of God, whether they felt contentment or not. Moses is a great example again. I never read that Moses prayed about what God told him at the burning bush, and when he “had a peace” about it, he proceeded. No, I can imagine that Moses had anything but peace in his heart as he walked toward Egypt. Of course, there are any number of other examples of people obeying God whether they felt contentment about it or not.
So the third point, Compulsion, seems to be the one that is most consistent with how God has dealt with us in the past. Whether the compulsion is an inner impression (Acts 20.22), a decision made after prayer and counsel (Acts 13.2, Acts 15.22), or supernatural encounter (Acts 9.10), God tells us what he wants us to do, and expects us to obey, regardless of whether we are peaceful or believe it to be rational.
To be fair to the authors of this sidebar, they said that these guidelines don’t hold true for every situation. However, I am leery of advising anyone that their own inner state is the rule for measuring whether God is speaking. My own inner state is much too conflicted, weak, and unreliable for any such measurement.