Thursday, April 17, 2014

God's Will for College

You had better not go to college unless you are absolutely sure that it is God's will.

A little context

The speaker—an inspirational and encouraging man—was making the point that we should be very careful when we make plans during this life. We should always have room for God's will when considering our future. I completely agree. Not only should we have room for God, we should give him the proverbial best room in the house! In fact, he has dibs on every room in the house and should be welcome to roost anywhere he pleases.

That being said, I have a few grave concerns about the implications of this statement if taken wholesale with no discernment. I do not like some of the things that may be inferred about a Christian's mentality, a Christian's activity and how God's will is manifested. Let it be known that I am not saying that the speaker came out and said this, he most likely would never have intended for these three inferences to be made. However, I have seen this mentality in Christendom and statements like the quote above seem to reinforce it...

Christians are anti-intellectual

I have covered this topic before. There is a huge backlash within Christendom against The University. Granted, this quote does not stop at You'd better not go to college, and it does not say that it is never God's will for a Christian to go to college. Remember, I'm reacting to potential outcomes of this statement. And this statement could provide fodder for anti-intellectual sentiments.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Christianity was the only light in the Dark Ages. Christians are behind many technological marvels and brilliant pieces of literature. There are many intellectuals who provide lucid apologetic literature for the faith. In fact, a mark of Christianity is excellence in all fields of study and employment because we are to do all things as unto the Lord. The sign of a good Christian is not incessant preaching, the sign of a good Christian is superb service—even in the classroom. They say that God can use the cart that's in motion, but not the one that's stagnant. While that statement begs to be qualified, it illustrates that the last thing a Christian should do is nothing...

Let's do nothing

Again, I know for a fact that the speaker did not want young people to get discouraged and do nothing. However, I know that sometimes believers contract a disease known as Paralysis-by-Analysis; classically, the patient over-analyzes their situation and ends up doing nothing because the uncertainty overwhelms them. Listen, most kids who are considering college are 17 or 18 years old. This is a time of growth, maturation and uncertainty. Heck, college took me 5 years to complete (the first time) and I went in as a biology major (certain to get go on for a PhD in Marine Biology) and left with a degree in English (certain to return for more education). If we were going to only do those things that we were absolutely sure are God's will, we'd do nothing but preach the gospel all day.

Not that preaching the gospel is a bad thing, but we would only do so literally. We would not preach the gospel figuratively—through every day living because we would have no life. There is a reason why faith is often associated with leaping, which is why it is not wrong be unsure of God's will...

It's wrong to not know God's will

Too often, when preachers broach the topic of God's will, they make the listener feel like every Christian should know the exact will of God for their lives—physically: the Lord has made me a plumber, so I will plumb for the Lord. But is that really how God's will works? Further, are we supposed to walk by certainty in everything we do?

We have discussed ad nauseum the fact that God's will is for the Christian to glorify him in every situation. We can glorify him in good times and bad, positive situations and negative ones, rain and shine, high and low. Might I say that we can bring glory to his name even when we make mistakes? So maybe college wasn't the best decision, but did you learn from it? Perhaps what you consider a mistake might have actually been a training ground for your soul.

Mostly, my objection to the idea that we need to be absolutely certain is that it is contrary to the idea of faith; a cornerstone of Christianity. Faith implies doubt. It is trust in action and the trust is not in the perfect pathway but the builder of the path. If faith is a leap the trust is in the one who will catch you, not in your perfect landing. If these descriptions of faith are accurate (and I believe they are), then we can be certain that God's will is not concerned with your academic career, but with maintaining a healthy relationship with The Almighty. We don't need to know every answer, we must know the Creator of the test.


This is mostly a meditation that seeks to expand on a good thought. We need to stop and think about the will of God more often than we do. However, we need not be so concerned with the minutiae of what we are doing day-to-day and become more invested in the God who loves us and wants to provide the best for us.

What do you think about God's will?
How do you know that you are pleasing him?

Here are some of my other posts discussing God's will.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

Mailing List