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A Simple Principle for Discerning God’s Will

Carolyn Arends is a Canadian Christian musician, author, and speaker. In an issue of CT magazine, she writes:

Years ago, I toured as an opening act for Rich Mullins. I loved overhearing conversations at the autograph table; they often turned serious and urgent.

More than once, a fan asked Rich how to discern the will of God. Rich would listen and then offer an unexpected perspective. He’d say, “I don’t think finding God’s plan for you has to be complicated. God’s will is that you love him with all your heart and soul and mind, and also that you love your neighbor as yourself. Get busy with that, and then, if God wants you to do something unusual, he’ll take care of it. Say, for example, he wants you to go to Egypt.” Rich would pause for a moment before flashing his trademark grin. “If that’s the case, he’ll provide 11 jealous brothers, and they’ll sell you into slavery.”

When I find myself wrestling with life decisions, I think of Rich’s Egypt Principle. It makes me laugh, and then it asks me to get down to the serious business of determining which of my options allow me to best love God and other people.

Maybe that’s why Rich could claim that loving God and others takes care of most of our discernment questions. After all, the psalmist assures us that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our heart (Ps. 37:4). God can be trusted to teach our hearts what to desire, and to lead us—by jealous brothers, burning bushes, or quiet inclinations—to the places where our own unique giftings meet the movements of his kingdom. There we find consolation and joy.


Carolyn Arends, “Consolation Prize,” CT magazine (June, 2013), p. 64

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