The Permissive God
The last few days, I’ve really felt God speaking to my heart about the nature of His permissiveness. Many think of Him as a strict, tight, unbending God, but He’s not. He’s so not.* There are so many choices that I, as a Christian, can make that are unwise, hasty, with poor motives, without prayer, with too many assumptions, etc. And yet, He still brings me back to Himself. He doesn’t squash me under His thumb, kick me out of the Body of Christ (that is, excommunicate me from Himself), or punish me.** It is His continual drive to pull me in, closer to Himself.
BUT, His permissiveness and His best are not the same thing. His best path is found via that set of choices, made with humble submission to His will and His ways, which lead to blessing***, to fruitfulness, to peace, to fulfillment, empowerment and anointing. Him just allowing me, permitting me to do whatever won’t get me to the place I actually want to go, which is that path of blessing***.
There are so many things He allows. But I believe it’s God’s desire for me to seek His BEST, and to follow that — to apply my efforts in that direction, wherever it may be, and wherever it may take me (or not).
I think I’ve turned a corner in my understanding of prayer: It’s not just for hopes that He says, “YES!” to my requests, but for Him to reveal His best path to me, and that I’m wise enough and strong enough to recognize it and take it.
Now that I’ve ruminated on this for a few days, I seem to remember, in the deep recesses of my mind, hearing some teaching on the permissive will vs. the perfect will of God. That’s probably the same thing. But, as so many of His teachings and principles, it takes a personal revelation, a personal enlightenment, for it to truly sink in, which this has, now, for me.
This also brings to mind the angst of my mid-teen years to early 20s, when I really took on Christianity as my own. I was immobilized by the fear of making any decision that wasn’t “just right.” In that sense, I’ve come to understand that God isn’t a perfectionist like that; He’s not just looking at me with a clipboard in His hand and saying, “Oops! She took a left, and not a right! Her future’s blown now.” I think there’s so much to be said for the motive of the heart: Am I really attempting to stay within the protection and blessing of God? Or am I trying to get away with as much as possible while still labelling myself “Christian,” still just trying to get into heaven??
IOW, there’s sort of a fine line there: I believe God does have a perfect will, a perfect path. But perhaps he reshapes it a bit when, in our honest, unintentional failings (IOW, not out of sneakiness or rebellion), we’ve rendered His first choice for us nonoperative. I’m not sure about that. Or, maybe, for each new situation, He has a “new” best for us. I’m not sure about that, either…. Though, I’m confident He is God of both the Big Picture (the overriding, grand perspective of the world and my place in it) and of the Tiny Picture (the minute details of each day). Somewhere in there, there’s a balance. I really don’t have all that figured out, and I’m unconvinced that it needs to be figured out. What I do know is that it’s important for me to be listening to Him, to be making decisions submitted to what I believe He’s saying, and to follow where He’s going, to the best of my ability, but w/o listening when the enemy speak lies, accusation or curses about my trippings and failings in that area.
I just want to be as close to God as I can, and to live in the green pastures of His blessings, and under the protection of His shepherding hand. I have come to trust that His plans and intentions towards me are tender and magnificent, and He does nothing that’s not out of love for me, His daughter, even if I don’t understand all of what He does and why He does it, and why He wants me in the deserts of Arizona, and not the lush mountain meadows of Colorado. 😉
So. That may be as clear as mud, but lemme tell you, I feel a billion times better about the general state of Karen’s Life than I did last week at this time, and I feel closer to my God, and that’s a really good feeling.
* However, He is HOLY, which is another topic in itself.
** However, He does DISCIPLINE me, which isn’t the same thing.
*** I’m not necessarily referring to material blessing, like a good job and a nice home. I do think, though, that often, those things can be byproducts of a life that is wholly submitted to God and His principles. Not to say, though, of course, that everyone who is living with material wealth is submitted to God, nor to say that every poor person isn’t. My definition of “blessing” is not bounded with dollar signs; it’s wider than that.