This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible (one I have shared with you all before, but who is to say that we cannot or should not visit it again?), because it reminds me that the will of God is easier to discern than we may at first realize. However, I think we must first have a pretty clear understanding of what we mean by “God’s will”. Here are my thoughts on the matter:
The Lord has a specific will for each person, and then provides us with some guiding life principles and precepts that He desires all of us to follow (and they are not unique to the individual). It is my view that the principle found in 1 Peter 2:15 reflects that latter understanding of God’s will — a life principle to cling to, rather than specific guidance for a particular situation that I may be facing.
Put another way, it is my opinion that God’s will for us is like that of any other parent’s — to see a child grow into a mature adult who makes wise choices, and whose actions reflect lifelong commitments to compassion, personal excellence, discernment, and wisdom.
So, were you to ask me, “Do you think the Lord wants me to do A or B,” I would not be able to give you a direct answer — only the Holy Spirit can do that. However, were you instead to ask, “Should I make life choices predicated on what the Bible tells me and seek to honor God with my words and actions, even if I will face opposition and doing so may be unpopular?” My answer would, of course, be “Yes.”
Some things we need not pray about when the Lord has, through the Bible, already given us principles and precepts upon which we can make our choices. Other times, we may be seeking specific guidance on a matter, but the Lord may want us to step out in faith — so long as the thing we seek to do honors Him and is a blessing to others — and watch what happens next with excitement and expectation. And other times, it is evident that we should simply walk away from a situation or opportunity, because while it may appear to be a blessing, it may not be our blessing at this time in our lives.
Either way, when others who do not know the Lord see the fruit from our lives that reflects the wisdom, discernment, and compassion given to us by our Creator, I believe that they will be rendered nearly speechless (or “put to silence”). In fact, this happened to me just the other day.
Quite unexpectedly, my supervisor sent me an email telling me how amazed he was that our organization was doing well, and he couldn’t explain it, but he believed that it started when I arrived. He mentioned seeing our numbers increase, things running more smoothly, and that his stress levels have gone down appreciably (before I arrived, he had to do all of the work himself). You could tell that he was utterly confounded because he could not explain the turn of events in logical, human terms, but he was still very, very appreciative. By the way, I work for a very good man, even though he ism’t a Christian — still, a good man nonetheless.
I replied to his email and let him know that I enjoyed working for the organization, but closed the message by saying something like, “I find that prayer helps.” Because it does.
I have been praying for my place of employment since day one. We are not a big organization by any means, and we run our operations quite leanly. What I do is core to the health of the organization, so if I am not successful in my work, then everyone else is affected in a big way. i started praying right away when I began working there, and asked the ladies in my Bible study group (they are all prayer warriors!) to do the same.
So here we are, eight months later, and we are getting by. We still run a lean operation and no one has talked about layoffs, budget cuts, etc. In fact, we are seeing an uptick in interest, even though we have done nothing formal to stoke that interest. We also have not lost any clients, which is remarkable to me (and Lord willing, that will not change!).
Even I cannot explain it apart from Jesus! 🙂
Remember that “ignorant” people aren’t necessarily people who lack knowledge — they simply may be ignorant of our way of life, including the favor and peace that can come to the one who places his/her trust in the Lord. I can attest that this journey has been far from easy, but God has been faithful, and His favor — not due to anything I have done, but only because of who He is — has indeed covered us like a shield.