Thus far, we’ve talked about God’s will as a solo endeavor, following God’s will for your own life. And this is really important, but it’s not all there is to it. Because God doesn’t just have a plan for individuals; he has a plan for groups as well. He has a plan for couples. He has a plan for families. He has a plan for churches and clubs and friend groups and all kinds of other units made up of more than one person. Following his will as a unit is important, too. And it comes with its own set of complications.
Let’s face it: Dealing with other people isn’t always easy. We have trouble just getting along sometimes, let alone working together to follow a divine plan that we never fully understand. It’s one thing to give up control to God, but in many cases, we have to trust other people with some control, too. And that’s scary. How are we supposed to work with other people to accomplish the goals that God has for us? It’s not always easy, but it’s certainly possible.
Much of what we’ve already learned about following God’s will as individuals still applies in groups, and it forms a solid foundation for us to start on. The most important thing is that the group be concerned with and committed to following God’s will in the first place. He blesses those who earnestly seek him, so simply making it the group’s goal to follow God’s will is a huge step towards living it out.
A nice thing about groups is that they don’t have to rely too heavily on any one person’s intellect. When we’re trying to follow God’s will on our own, we can feel overwhelmed and even lost because of our lack of information. But in a group, we have others to rely on to help fill in the gaps and clarify what it is that God is saying to us. This is why discernment in a group setting is so important. God can use the expertise, passions, and experiences of multiple people to come together to create something that none of the individuals involved could have done on their own.
And it does sort of take the pressure off, doesn’t it? Making decisions as a group puts a lot less responsibility on any one person. We can rest easy knowing that no matter what decision was made, it was made by multiple people who worked together to come up with what they believe to be the best solution. It’s not all on us. We bear the responsibility, consequences, and rewards together. We aren’t alone, and even though that makes things a little messier, it also makes them a little lighter, too.
Of course, there will be times in any group setting when things don’t go the way we think they should. We feel like God is leading the group in one direction, but everyone else feels a different way. The group may even make a decision that we feel goes against God’s plan. This can be frustrating, even disheartening. What do we do in cases like this?
I think this is where a dynamic understanding of God’s will comes into play. As we learned before, God works with us to bring his intentions into existence. It’s not a one-way path that gets completely destroyed if we take one step out of line. He’s willing to adapt, to collaborate, to accommodate us and our shortcomings even as he moves us towards his ultimate plan for us and for our group.
So what do we do in cases like this? We trust that God is working it all for his greater purpose, even if we don’t understand it. We also acknowledge that we aren’t infallible, that we can make mistakes, that we very well could be wrong in any particular instance. God’s will isn’t always easy to understand, and it’s perfectly possible for two sincere, well-meaning people to come to two very different conclusions about what God’s will is in any given case. And so, we have to trust God and give people the benefit of the doubt, hoping that they’re as sincere in their desire to follow God’s will as we are.
This doesn’t mean we don’t ever try to have a say. God puts us in the groups we’re in for a reason. We each have something to contribute, and if we aren’t, then we’re shortselling ourselves and the groups we’re a part of. When the Holy Spirit convict us, we’re called to move, and often, that means exerting influence in the groups God has placed us in. And as we each seek to follow his will individually as well as in our groups, I believe he’ll bless our efforts.
So that’s my advice: Trust God, believe the best in people, and be diligent to follow God’s will in your personal life. If you’re doing that much, then you can rest easy knowing that he’s going to take care of the rest, and that includes guiding the groups you’re a part of. And with God as your guide, you know you’ll go far. Thanks for reading, friends! I’ll see you next week.