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I've tried writing this post twice already. It gets really long. Let me try one more time to be as brief as possible.

NKJV Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

I heard a radio show this morning. The message was this: once you're in God's grace, all things are of His will.

A young woman might say, "Well, God really worked this miracle for me right out of college and gave me a great job, working in my local church as a youth director. I loved working with those energetic kids.

Then, I blew it. I left that job for one that paid much better, working as the government grants director of a secular nursing home chain. I needed the money for my school loans, I knew I could also tithe more as our church was going through a badly needed expansion. It wasn't a bad job by any means, but still, I hated it there! I wanted so badly to quit, and so I prayed. I committed to go wherever God led me.

That's how I wound up here, doing God's will by providing hot meals to invalid elderly shut-in people around town, and in this nursing home for poorer retired Christians. I don't make much money, but I know this is where God has placed me, and you know, I really love the work! I make ends meet, I've paid off my school loans, and I'm truly fulfilled! Amen!"

Where was God's will for this imaginary woman's life manifest? Most might say in the first and third jobs. The second was clearly a mistake caused when she failed to listen to the will of God and acted in her own interest first. She later gets back in line with God's will when she comes humbly back to the Lord and listens again for God's call to service. The fulfilment and success in the job is evidence that she's doing God's will.

However, rereading the Romans passage, and remembering that God doesn't temporarily forget his children; that the Good Shepherd doesn't leave His sheep to the wolves;* that no one and no thing can take the sheep away from the Good Shepherd;** we can reexamine the story above and realize this truth: God's will is always at work in the young woman's life. There is no "stepping outside" of God's will in the second job. In spite of the self-centered motives in her heart as she made the decision to leave the youth director position, she was still acting according to God's will. It seems obvious as she winds up in the third job. She would have never consciously left the first job to take the third, but leaving the second to take the third was an easy decision, and one she did in submission to God's will. At least, that's how she viewed it.

In reality, it's all God's will. You can't step in and out of it like a room. God's will is in every breath you take. It's in every decision you make. This is the essence of the Romans passage. Once you're born again, and called according to His will, His will is at work in every thing you do. To think otherwise is to diminish the absolute power of God's will as something subordinate to yours.

I hope this discussion won't get too sidetracked in the "free-will" v. "predeterminism" debate, because I think that's a discussion more appropriate to the period leading up to a person's baptism by the Holy Spirit. This is intended to focus on the period after that has already occurred. I believe the "P" in the Reformed's TULIP relates to the discussion. I'm anxious to hear how the rest of you see it.


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