Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | September 23, 2020

If God Wanted . . .

(4 Minute Read. 23Sep2020)

If God wanted dogs in the house . . .

Recently my wife read to me from the website of a nearby cat rescue group. This stern warning appears before even showing pictures of the myriad kitties needing a home:
“You will not be allowed to adopt a cat unless you can assure to our satisfaction that it will never be allowed outside.”

Astonished, I exclaimed, “Why would they do that?”

With a straight face my wife answered, “If God wanted cats to live outside, He would have given them sharp teeth and claws.”

Have you heard any of these
“If God wanted . . .” expressions?

“If God wanted man to fly, He would have given him wings.”
“If God wanted people to be vegetarians, He wouldn’t have created bacon.”
“If God wanted women to drive, He would have given them a sense of direction.”
“If God wanted people to be thin, He would have made chocolate low calorie.”
“If God wanted men to do yard work, He wouldn’t have invented TV.”
“If God wanted people to eat healthy, He would have made broccoli taste better than pizza.”

NFL Hall of Fame football player and coach Mike Ditka said,
“If God wanted us to play soccer, He wouldn’t have given us arms.”

Comedian Joan Rivers said regarding her dislike of exercise,
“If God wanted me to bend over, He would have put diamonds on the floor.”

What other
“If God wanted . . . He would have . . .”
expressions have you heard recently?
Are any of them true, or are they only humorous?

Where Did “If God Wanted . . .” Come From?

Today the only way this “If God wanted . . . He would have . . .” format is still used is in humor and parody. But the underlying foundation is still God’s authority as the Great Creator. The very fact that the phraseology still exists — quoted and recognized — demonstrates something significant: not that long ago, the mindset this phrase reflects was the obvious, ordinary approach. Certainly ridicule has been its use for decades, to sneer at some who misuse the concept: “If God wanted man to reach the moon . . .”

Whether misuse was spoken from backwardness or arrogance, the only reason it could be recognized as humor is because at one time it was being said a great deal. Spoken in earnest sincerity, it was the default. For decision-making, for determining what was right or what was wise, the obvious approach would be to ask, “What would God want?” This is the natural jurisdiction of God the Great Creator in our lives.

Secondly, even in sarcastic usage, what is the common thread? Usually the speaker is referencing the created order to determine God’s preference or God’s intent.

Today, people are freely using a similar paradigm, but they are basing it on a godless foundation, usually on some fabricated evolutionary situation: “Humans are not meant to . . .” An utterly distorted view of man’s origin warps the decision-making process.

I have personally known Christians whose fundamental answer to the self-directed query, “What does God want for me?” is: “God wants me to be happy.” Then it’s just open season — no wrestling with those pesky little moral dilemmas nor weighing Scriptural commands.

What Does God Want?

What God wants is not obscure or tricky. If we are in earnest about it, Jesus promised clarity:
If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” (John 7:17)

Okay, so what does God want? Scripture is abundantly clear. Here are a few clear examples:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:13-14)

It’s not surprising that misinformation abounds relating to various fill-ins for “If God wanted . . .” Thus it is important to heed Scripture’s warning:
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. (Ephesians 5:6-12)

Wrestling in prayer is a key step in ascertaining God’s will for less clear areas. The Apostle Paul commended Epaphras of Colossae for praying for his brethren to know God’s will:
Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. (Colossians 4:12)

And Paul himself prayed non-stop for believers to know God’s will:
We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (Colossians 1:9-12)

When a life is filled with these patterns and principles that are explicitly what God wants, most concerns regarding “If God wanted …” become sorted out like tetris blocks slipping into place.

Apparent results are not the litmus test for whether one has done what God wants. Peter’s first letter urges not to be the kind of person whose life is filled with trouble and distress resulting from immoral or foolish choices. He then notes that affliction is also acute for one who has genuinely embraced what God wants.
Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (1 Peter 4:19)

Pursuing what God wants requires an open heart of humility. That is why in the midst of much specific behavioral guidance, James tells sincere Christians this:
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” (James 4:14-15)

How to Complete “If God Wanted . . .”

Be immersed in Scripture to find out “If God wanted . . .”
Be diligent in prayer for oneself and others to know and do what God wants.
Be humble regarding details of daily application.

Question Mark Cufflinks

Questions to Ponder

1. How can humility help you realize a blind spot in your thinking about “If God wanted . . .”?
2. What segue can you prepare to honor the Great Creator graciously when someone says sarcastically, “If God wanted . . .”?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday September 23, 2020 A.D.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

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