God’s Will: Reconsidering Christian Lingo
- February 06, 2018
- Meg Rodriguez
If you’re like me, and you’ve spent a decent amount of time in church circles, you’re probably already familiar with the standard Christian lingo.
It must be a heart issue. Have you prayed the prayer? I want to love on people. God put it on my heart. I feel so broken. It was a nudge from the Spirit.
If you’re a Christian and you’re reading this, you probably tackled those six sentences with ease, hardly giving much thought to the deeper implications or interpretations of those words. The task isn’t quite so easy for everyone else. In fact, the widespread use of these kinds of phrases has faced criticism in the past several years from both within and outside of the church.
It is clear how such vocabulary could be both perplexing and isolating to non-believers, but often overlooked is the potential repercussions of this terminology for Christians themselves. The more routine that phrases like It’s a god thing and I echo your brokenness become, the more we are separating our spiritual conversations from the goodness and truth of Scripture. Our words become hollow platitude, and in the end, they might leave us further from their true meaning than we started.
Consider the following example. As Christians, we pray for God’s will, we try to follow God’s will in all things, and we assure others that what is happening in their lives must be a part of God’s will. However, when was the last time we even considered what we mean when we say those two little words…God’s will?
Many of us envision the will of God as some definable action—to take the job or not take the job, to be married or unmarried, to attend school for nursing or for education, to live in Philadelphia or Miami, to attend Hope Church or Grace Church. The list could go on. But it seems that we have a tendency to define the will of God as just one thing, as just one of the roads diverged in a yellow wood. Yet, what if our Christian lingo has taken us far off course?
I admit that I myself am guilty of chasing after God’s will as if it were a leaf to be caught in a gust of wind. Recently, as I was reading 1 Thessalonians, I was overwhelmed with the reminder that maybe God’s will is not so elusive after all.
“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-18, added emphasis).
What if God’s will is not for us to find the right answer, to choose precisely the correct path, or to discern to which career He is calling us? What if God’s will is simply to live in a manner that is praiseworthy and glorifying to Him?
According to Scripture, it appears that God’s will for us is to respect our coworkers and our leaders. It seems that God’s will is to seek after peace and love, to value hard work, to speak encouragement to our brothers and sisters, to help those who are in need, to exhibit patience. God’s will is to do good to one another—to treat one another with the respect that is due to God’s own people. His will is to rejoice forever in His name, to pray in every moment, and to overflow with thankfulness.
How lovely are these words. Unfortunately, when we spend so long talking about God’s will and trying to discern it, we end up passing over the very truth of the Bible that reveals it to us plainly. His will is to bring glory to His name in how we live, how we work, and how we relate to one another.
As we seek to grow in our relationship with Christ, and as we enter into spiritual conversation in our homes and our churches, may we be challenged to reconsider our so-called “Christian lingo” and seek to replace it with God’s lingo—the truth that He has revealed to us in His word. May we always be brought back to the roots of our faith—free of generalizations and free of empty words—and come to the foot of the cross, in great awe of the depth of the words of Scripture in which we believe, which define everything that we say and do.