“What do we do if we’re not sure what the will of God is?” This was the question that was brought up in our staff meeting this week at the church. I found this to be a fascinating question. We all want to do the will of God, but sometimes we simply do not know what that is. This leaves us with two options, do nothing or do something and hope for the best. Depending on the situation, either of these may be the correct choice. Sometimes the best thing to do is to wait until the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart and directs you. However, there are times in which we must act without the conviction that we are doing the right thing. As I thought about this, a Brennan Manning quote came to my head, which happens frequently. I have shared this line from his book The Furious Longing of God before, but I believe that it holds the answer to our original question; “Do the next thing in love.”
That, in a nutshell, is all that we should ever aim to do. We should strive to treat others, and ourselves, with love and kindness. There will be times in our lives when we feel directed by God to specifically do one thing or another. There are far more times that we are left to make the decision on our own. Even though we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we do not have a certain direction in which we should go. This is when we have to make our own choice as to what to do. In those moments, the best thing to do is always to default to loving the person. Afterall, Jesus did say, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). This is the only thing in which Jesus said would identify us to the world.
Loving people can easily get complicated because love can take many forms. You can love someone by supporting them, providing for them, protecting them, standing up for them, encouraging them, confronting them when you see them heading down the wrong path, etc. There is no one way to love someone that will fit every situation. So, how do we go about doing the next thing in love when the answer isn’t always obvious? This is where I believe that the intention is more important than the act. If you and the recipient of your love both know that your heart is in the right place, then I think that everything will work out in the long run. Although, it may get a little messy at first. Peter said it best when he wrote, “Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
If you desire to do the will of God, then the answer to how to do that will always be to love others. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” That is how that we know that love is the answer because that is how God treats us. Love is always at the center of the will of God. How that looks may change, but the reason never does. Whenever you are approaching a situation where you are not sure what to do, ask yourself, “How can I love this person?” Then, proceed from there. Loving others will forever be the right choice. Afterall, it was one of the two commandments in which Jesus said were the greatest.