21st October 2020

When, through the activities of the Christian Union, I first encountered evangelical Christians in my early student days, I was horrified by all the chorus singing. This wasn’t how I’d been brought up in my parish church at home. Didn’t these people know the joys of Hymns Ancient & Modern or appreciate the occasional challenge of chanting the Athanasian Creed? And yet I was deeply impressed by their zealous commitment to Jesus Christ and their wholehearted desire to live for him. There was much talk about discovering God’s will for our lives, and this aim took root even in my hardened heart. Whether it was choosing a career, a life partner, where to live, which church to go to, it all became a matter of earnest prayer, though being able to justify our eventual choices as having really come to us from the Throne on High was probably less certain.

Discovering God’s will for our lives must surely remain a significant issue if our faith is to be anything more than a hobby, though my understanding of what’s probably going on has changed over the years. God would always want us to be Christ-like, to do the Christ-like thing, to reflect something of the life of the Risen Jesus in our modern context; and it may be that at certain times, in particular situations, some Christians are called to specific roles for the sake of God’s ultimate purposes. However, for much of the time, I’m fairly sure God allows us plenty of leeway to choose for ourselves. His will is that we simply use our hopefully sanctified inclinations for his glory.

Ken Stewart