Outline of our passage
NOT like this: But like this:
foolish--unthinking understanding what the will of the Lord is (v. 17) -->
finding out/analyzing/focusing on what is well- pleasing
to the Lord (v. 10)
drunkenness--leading to increasingly filled with the Spirit--leading to
unwise, undisciplined, destructive --communicating with each other with
behavior psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
--singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts,
--giving thanks to God the Father at all times and
for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord's will for individuals is in harmony with the Lord's will for their communities and for the whole universe. See, for example: Ephesians 1:9-11; 5:17
St Ignatius on how to discern God’s will (based on Jim Manney 142ff.) :
--Get your priorities straight: “People are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save their souls. And the other things on the face of the earth are created for people and that they may help them in work towards the goal for which they are created.” (Ignatius)
Manney: “Much of the time we have it backward.We make the decision first and then ask God to bless it. You might decide to marry your boyfriend, and then turn the marriage over to God, praying that it will be successful. You might decide to take that attractive new job, and pray that it will turn out as well as you hope.
--Know what you truly desire. Problem: “We’re attached to all sorts of things that obscure our deepest desires.”
--Trust your feelings, your deepest ones, based on your core values.
--Discuss big decisions with others known for their wisdom and compassion.
--Use your imagination:
If I do X, what will a typical day be like, how will my gifts be used, what will I like most? Least?
If I do Y, “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ " " " " "
--Weigh the pros and cons
--Ask God to confirm the decision
--Know that it might not work out as you had envisioned. "The decision isn’t the most important thing. It’s the means, not the end. The end is to live a life that please God and satisfies our deepest longings” (143)
Richard Foster Celebration of Discipline (p. 37):
“When [Jesus] prayed for others he never concluded by saying ‘If it be [your] will.’ Nor did the apostles or prophets when they were praying for others. They obviously believed that they knew what the will of God was before they prayed the prayer of faith. They were so immersed in the [life] of the Holy Spirit that when they encountered a specific situation, they knew what should be done… [W]hen praying for others there was evidently no room for indecisive, tentative, half-hoping ‘If it be thy will’ prayers” (Foster 37).
There is, of course, a proper time and place to pray, ‘If it be thy will.’ First, in the prayer of guidance it is the great yearning of our hearts to know the will of God. ‘What is your will?’ ‘What would please you?’ ‘What would advance your kingdom upon the earth?’ This is the kind of searching prayer that should permeate our entire life experience. [In another kind of prayer]…we are committed to letting go of our will whenever it conflicts with the will and way of God… We all have times when our human desires get in the way [of thinking God’s thoughts]. At such times we must follow the lead of our Master who in the garden prayed ‘Neverthelesss not my will, but thine, be done’ (Luke 22:42).