I closed last week talking about the couple who were ready to break their engagement because of an argument on how to load the dishwasher. Today is about when the Lord might insert Himself into a decision that is ours to make, to reveal His will.
"Thus saith the Lord", about a dishwasher?
"Dishwasher couple" wanted me to give them a prophetic word from the Lord on who was right - how God wanted the dishwasher loaded. You could have knocked them over with a feather at my response that He didn't really care. They mistakenly thought He had a perfect will for everything in life.
I told them His only interest would be if loading it a particular way might result in someone's injury or violate love, then He might impress one of them not to load it that way or reveal something was wrong with the machine. As we talked about how doing something different isn't necessarily doing it wrong, it is just different than they would have done it, and the important thing was not to violate love, they forgave each other and compromised. They remain married to this day, over 15 years later.
Notice what I said - He won't tell them the natural order of how to most efficiently load the dishwasher, but He will enter the conflict IF love is violated. The Lord didn't care that the groom thought his fiance' loaded the dishwasher the wrong way, His concern was that love was being violated by their immaturity.
Very often the Lord doesn't have a perfect will for decisions in the natural, but He always has a perfect will for decisions of the Spirit - love.
When Barb and I were first married I remember a similar conflict. Barb was in the kitchen making dinner and said, 'The trash can is full'. I said something brilliant like 'So?' It escalated from there - "So empty it! Please." Without thinking I uttered another brilliant response which only escalated the conversation to just short of nuclear war: "You're the one who topped it off, so you empty it! Sweetie!", as if adding 'sweetie' hid the passive-aggressive stubbornness in my voice - and I said it as I continued reading my Bible - I was being spiritual after all and couldn't be bothered with such unimportant things like emptying the trash.
Somewhere just short of pushing the button to a nuclear conflagration Barb said with volume raised to 8 out of 10, 'Well, I grew up with my dad always emptying the trash, so I expect you to do that." I responded with volume raised to 9 out of 10, "Well, I grew up with the one who topped it off emptied it!!!"
(To avoid being the one who topped it off, no matter how full, you could always cram just a little bit more into it if you stood on top of the trash container and pushed it down below the rim thus claiming it wasn't yet full.) So I got up to stomp on it so I could claim it wasn't full any more.
The Lord really didn't care who emptied that trash can...
He didn't care about our trash can unless and until the qualities of love were about to be violated. And that is when scriptures started coming to mind like a pesky mosquito buzzing my face: "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it" and "So too should men love their wives as they do their own bodies; he who loves his wife also loves himself." and "Husbands assign honor to your wife...so that your prayers aren't hindered..." from Ephesians 5:25-28 and I Peter 3:7.
THAT is how the Father revealed His will about the trash can - He didn't care who or how or when the trash got emptied, His interest in our trash can only went as far as love was about to be violated. And I've got to tell you who won that fight: Love. Over 36 years of marriage later I am still Trash Man!
The Lord may not have a perfect will whether you choose to live in apartment A or apartment B. That is your decision and He will remain silent in terms of telling you A or B. His interest in helping you decide will be in terms of love - does apartment A or B make you feel more peaceful, safe, at home? He will give you a peace and settled feeling in your spirit as it pertains to love and all the attributes of love - peace, security, safety, and then to convenience - which if not convenient to work and shopping for instance, you might be stressed which violates love, so His interest is in revealing to you which apartment would produce the least stress in you - which choice least violates the attributes of love. And once He reveals those spiritual elements THEN He leaves you to make a decision on A or B.
A mate: He will reveal to you issues of your heart and qualities within potential mates while letting you decide what you do with those insights. He won't pick 'that person' or 'that person' but He will reveal each person's heart to you in your spirit, and then let you decide which one to get to know better. Once you know their spirit then you can get to know their soul and see if you both want to work that through to marriage.
Food: That is why Paul wrote about meat sacrificed to idols in I Corinthians 10:23-33 and Romans 14 - Paul didn't tell them it is God's will to eat this or not eat that, he said if you are having a meal with a brother or sister who think eating meat that had earlier been sacrificed to an idol is a sin, then for their sake don't eat it. God doesn't care what you eat, but enters the event only if love is about to be violated, THEN He becomes involved and THAT becomes His revealed will. So Paul said if you are going to offend by eating meat when with that brother or sister, eat the vegetable dish instead.
So much of modern church culture spiritualizes everything. They won't tell you whether they will make it to your event but they'll "pray about it." (Translation, no, they won't be there) Does God have a perfect will whether they accept your invitation or not? If they are violating love by not going because say, they are upset with you over something you said 6 months ago, then He will often actually lead them to go so they can grow in Him. (But often they go against Him and don't show up) But otherwise, He doesn't really care.
We have all been frustrated with the Lord when we have important decisions to make, yet He is completely silent in that arena while at the same time dealing with us about forgiving a family member who made us angry, or some other such thing completely unrelated to the prayer we need answer over THERE! Why is He silent on important natural decisions we must make while being so adamant about us dealing with our heart in other areas?!
II Peter 1:3-4 reveals "ALL THINGS that pertain to life and godliness HAVE BEEN PROVIDED to us through the knowledge of Him who called us to glory and virtue...that by this is given to us exceeding great and precious promises that we might be partakers of the divine nature..."
Notice what he says - the promises are given to us so that we might partake of the divine nature. WE see promises as answered prayer. HE sees the promises as opportunities for us to partake of His nature - everything is about growing up in Him. Every promise given has an expectation of growth attached. Every decision you make is expected to be one which will grow you in Him. That is why so often His will is the most difficult decision of the two before us.
When Barb and I were members in a church some 35 years ago, someone took things we said out of context, twisted them to their own use, and told the pastor. We heard the pastor was angry with us and our fate at that church hung in the balance. Was it now God's will we leave the church? That would have been easy, just start going elsewhere - surely that was the Lord's will. But no, we knew His decision would be always towards growth, so we humbled ourselves, sat down with the pastor and his wife, admitted to what we'd said, and asked forgiveness, and the relationship was restored. Too many just up and move to another church claiming it is God, but they are lying. They just don't want to grow up in Him. But that is their choice.
Colossians 3:15 says "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts..." The word 'rule' is brabeuo, which means 'to act as an umpire'. An umpire is neutral. The Spirit of Truth will bear witness to the truth, but He won't pick sides. He is an umpire, watching us and with us and in us walking through life - but most decisions are ours and the Umpire only enters into the decision making process if we start to do something that violates the attributes of love. But like any umpire, He will let the 'team' make stupid mistakes if they insist.
How the dishwasher is loaded or who empties the trash isn't God's concern, He enters the picture as an Umpire, the Spirit of Truth, to intervene only when love is about to be violated.
Next week I close out this series talking about money decisions. Until then, blessings,