One popular counsel I heard in my early days of walking with the Lord was that the best way to know whether I am doing the will of God is when I have peace of mind. In other ways, if I am walking in the will of God, I will always have peace in my heart. If I am not, my heart will always be restless.
But this counsel was challenged recently when I was preparing to preach from Jonah chapter one. Jonah received clear instructions from God to go to Nineveh and preach. However, he blatantly disobeyed God and boarded a ship to flee to Tarshish. Evidently, Jonah was not walking in the will of God. Because of his defiance, the Lord hurled a huge storm on the sea. The mariners were extremely afraid and tried every tool in their box to weather the storm. But it was all in vain.
While everyone in the ship was on the edge, Jonah was fast asleep. In Jonah 1:5b we read, “But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep.” One can’t help but compare this with Jesus sleeping in the midst of a storm (Mark 4:35-42). The major difference being that Jesus was doing his Father’s will while Jonah wasn’t. Then the captain of the sheep came to Jonah and said, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish” (Jonah 1:6). Jonah could afford a peaceful sleep while on the run from God’s will. If peace of mind is the barometer for determining God’s will in our lives then Jonah would get a very high score.
However, peace of mind is not an infallible assurance of God’s will in our lives because sin can also sear our conscience to the extent that it doesn’t bother us even when we are walking in disobedience to God (1 Tim. 4:2). Feelings and emotions can deceive. However, the only infallible assurance is God’s own word, the Bible. We need to constantly examine our motives and actions in the light of God’s word. The Westminister Confesssion of Faith is right when it asserts, “The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture” (chapter 1, paragraph 6). So, if one wants to know whether they are doing God’s will they don’t have to look at their inner sense of peace but to the word of God.
3 thoughts on “Peace of Mind is Not an Infallible Assurance of Being in God’s Will”
This is an excellent point and well made. I especially like how the message refers to Jonah and contrasts his situation with Jesus’. And I like that the article is very direct and not long-winded. Some preachers tend to think that using many words makes their preaching better. Sometimes this is true, if the subject needs very thorough explanation. I’ve sat through 45 minute sermons that might have been able to be shortened to 30 minutes and not lost effectiveness. But this was just right. Thank you Pastor Confex.
Thank you, Bill for the kind words. I really appreciate all the support you render to me and my ministry. You are a blessing, brother. May the Lord continue to bless you.
It has become popular in the US to use Christainized versions of ancient spiritual disciplines in order to get relied from stress, anxiety, and depression.
Quiet Waters or Stream exercise (casting burdens away)
Two Screen Method
But the psalmists say it is good to be afflicted!
Do we want the Great Physician, or hospice care?
As you mention at the end of your wonderful article, it is not my state of mind or heart that is the indicator of right and wrong or anything else. We need God’s word.