Item description for Step by Step: Divine Guidance for Ordinary Christians (Resources for Changing Lives) by James Petty & Petty James C....
Overview This is a book for all of those Christians seeking guidance. With passion and clarity, Dr. Petty argues that spiritual discernment, wisdom, and insight enable Christians to know God's will for their lives and for specific situations.
Publishers Description ?Step by Step is a fresh, up-to-date, biblical, edifying, and well-written approach to the old but important Christian question: How can I know the will of God for my life?? James M. Boice ??With passion and clarity, wedding to sound theology, Dr. Petty argues that spiritual discernment, wisdom, and insight enable Christian to know God's will for their lives and for specific situations.? Bruce K. Waltke
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Studio: P & R Publishing
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 9" Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 1999
Publisher NEW GROWTH PRESS #1265
Series Resources For Changing Lives
ISBN 0875526039 ISBN13 9780875526034
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More About James Petty & Petty James C.
James Petty has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Step by Step: Divine Guidance for Ordinary Christians (Resources for Changing Lives)?
If You Seek Wisdom and Discernment You Will Find Them Mar 28, 2007
This remarkable book explains how to find God's will for our lives. The author makes important distinctions between God's moral decrees which will reveal what outright sinful behavior consists of, and God's more general "laws" such as love thy neighbor as thyself or love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength. Here we are faced with tough decisions about marriage, career, housing, and relationships where we need to choose between options where neither choice is immoral in the decretal sense, but where we nonetheless are seeking a path consistent with God's will for our lives. Thirdly, there is another sphere called "Christian liberty," where there is even more latitude than in the second case. Our decisions, say, regarding what clothing to wear, do not have the same consequences as the more momentous decisions in the second area of life-decisionmaking noted above. Dr. Petty's main point is that God does not communicate his will for our lives directly through voices or other instantaneous communications as a rule. Nor do we pick our way through signs, circumstances, fantastic coincidences and powerful thoughts sometimes received in dreams (and sometimes waking). While these may come into play at various times in our lives, they must be subsumed under "wisdom." Wisdom leads us on a path of decision making based on Biblical understanding without our having to find an ideal plan for our lives that God has, and wisdom enables us to act in full responsibility for our actions as we discern for ourselves, based on our knowledge of Almighty God, the proper plan we want to take. There is no one plan for our lives that we either discover or miss out on. Rather, by growing in wisdom, we follow a godly path and that path with its setbacks, flops, disappointments, and confusions is the path God would have us follow, and...here's an important point: that path will bear godly fruit! I urge every Christian in the United States to read this book, and especially pp. 146-147 (I won't say what's on those pages so you will be surprised and challenged by what you read.) The case study in the last few chapters about "Don," an engineer seeking guidance from God about his career path (with many implications for his family life) is especially engrossing. As we go through Don's journey we see Dr. Petty's great kindness as he relates experiences that Don has in his charismatic church and other spectacular coincidences (which many Christians take as direct communications from God)and how these "prophetic" communications fit into the bigger picture of Don's Biblical walk in wisdom and discernment. I won't tell you how things turn out for Don, but I will tell you that I was gripped with suspense as I moved from chapter to chapter wanting to know what would happen next. I can only express great personal gratitude to Dr.Petty for having persevered in his search for wisdom and as a Christian administrator, pastor, and counselor to acquire the wisdom expressed in this book,and for taking the time and trouble to write this book. It's an incredible tour de force, but the humility of the effort shines through and I can see God's compassionate hand on every page.
Outstanding - the best book of its kind May 30, 2006
"What is the will of God for my life?" As followers of Jesus we all long for a clear answer to this question with which this book begins. While on one level the answer is clear - "This is the will of God, even your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3) - the application of such broad, general statements to the concrete, specific decisions of our lives can be challenging, even perplexing. How do we receive guidance about the big decisions of who to marry, what college to attend, what vocation to pursue, or what church to join? And what about the dozens of small everyday choices such as which shirt should I wear, where should I go for lunch, and how should I use my free time? How do we make connections between the will of God revealed in Scripture and decision making in daily life? Answering that question is what this book is about. The author divides his eighteen chapters into four parts: The Promise of Guidance, Understanding Guidance, Experiencing Guidance, and Seeking Guidance. The first three parts develop "the theology of guidance" (11), while part four presents a case study which illustrates how to apply seven steps for making wise decisions.
Part One: The Promise of Guidance
Chapter one ("Does God Guide Us?") discusses the need for guidance from God, especially with the complexity of decision making in today's world. This is an immensely practical question. Knowing God's will is no mere theoretical exercise. "When we seek guidance from God, we are not like a student pondering the great questions of life safely seated in a library . . . We are more like a pilot seeking to land a commercial airliner filled with passengers. For a pilot, even the best of them, the pressing need is for current information on position, weather, visibility, and local air traffic. The thought that communication with the control tower might not be possible, predictable, and clear is more than unsettling - it is the stuff of horror films . . . Our relationships, our jobs, our health, and safety can be compromised by a single bad decision" (18). Changes in the home, the workplace, economics, and the moral climate of our culture all accentuate the need for guidance. While this topic has been addressed by many Christian authors and leaders (the author reviewed some thirty-five books on divine guidance in his research), most of them "address their issues in a nontheological way. That is, their books offer no serious study of Scripture, no in-depth interaction with larger theological principles" (26). The author's obvious aim is to fill that theological gap while still addressing the practical issues.
The second chapter asks "How Does God Guide Us?" and compares "three main schools of thought about how God guides" (29). The view most popular in the twentieth century held "that God has a specific and detailed plan for each Christian's life. Guidance involves discerning that plan" (29). This plan is discerned by "looking carefully into a combination of circumstances, spiritual promptings, inner voices, personal peace of mind, and the counsel of others" (30). While God's sovereign will certainly embraces the small details of our lives, proponents of this view "insert a hidden assumption - that if there is such a plan, God wants us to know it and will reveal it to those who ask [and] that God's sovereign plan for each life is intended to be the source and pattern of guidance for the individual" (30-31). We can know this plan as "the circumstances of our daily life . . . concur with the inward promptings of the Spirit and the Word of God" (31, quoting F. B. Meyer). A second perspective, "the traditional charismatic view" is similar to the first, but contends that "God communicates directly and verbally with individuals, families, and churches to let them know his plan for them" (32). In contrast to these views is a third perspective called "the wisdom view" (33) which says "that although God does have an individual and specific plan for every Christian, this plan is strictly secret" and that "divine guidance has nothing to do with discerning this secret plan and using it to make decisions" (33). The wisdom view holds that God guides us by making us wise - giving us insight that equips us for making wise choices.
In chapter three ("Guidance and the Promises of God"), Petty asks, "Does the almighty God, the Maker of heaven and earth, actually promise to provide guidance to his small creatures?" (37). He reminds us that "the universe is so vast that there is an entire galaxy (many containing millions of stars) for every grain of sand on the earth" (38). How could the Creator of such an expansive universe care about the many insignificant details of our lives? Yet, the answer of Scripture (e.g. Psalm 8:3-4) is that God does care! And God does provide personal guidance. Petty is careful here to avoid two extremes. On one hand, we should not attempt to "divine" the will of God the way pagans do. Yet, Petty maintains, "God . . . does far more than reveal his general purposes and then leave us to link ourselves to them or pragmatically calculate the most edifying outcomes" (41). God does personally provide guidance for believers. The rest of the chapter refrains from discussion how God does this and instead focuses on how the Scriptures portray God as guiding and leading his people in various stages of redemptive history (the patriarchs, under the law, in the psalms and prophets, in the Gospels, and after Pentecost). Near the end of the chapter, in a brief comment on Romans 12:2, the author gives a hint as to where he is going: "Knowing God's will is the fruit of a transformed mind . . . God does hold out to us the prospect of testing and approving the will of God. Such knowledge is not so much a fortune cookie as it is an education" (48-49).
Part Two: Understanding Guidance
"Guidance and the Plan of God" is the title of the fourth chapter, which zooms in on the biblical doctrine of God's providence. The author draws on the distinctions in classical Reformed theology between two aspects of God's will: the plan of God - or his "decretive will - and the commandments of God - or his "preceptive will" (56, referencing Charles Hodge). The Bible frequently uses the phrase "will of God" to refer to his sovereign plan. Texts covered include Ephesians 1;5, 11; James 4:15; Romans 15:32; and 1 Peter 3:17. The truth of God's sovereignty is encouraging for believers because it assures us that "(1) God does have one specific plan for your life and (2) the events and choices of your life irresistibly and sovereignly work that plan in every detail" (59), which means that you cannot miss it! "For those who are in Christ, there is only one plan, Plan A" (59). There is no Plan B. Petty surveys the biblical teaching on God's sovereignty, demonstrating God's rule over circumstances (Matt. 10:29-31, Gen. 50:20), good men, evil men, and politicians (Prov. 21:1; Rom. 9:17; Acts 2:23), and salvation and judgment (Eph. 1:5; Jn. 15:16; Jn. 6:37, 39; Rom. 8:28-30). Throughout this survey, he is careful to remind us of how the truth of God's sovereignty should function in a believer's life to produce humility and worship, but never to give us an excuse for irresponsibility. But he also contends that while God's knowledge is exhaustive, "such future knowledge is not given to us for our own good . . . The information would damage us. It is too toxic for us to handle" (71). We are not able to discern the inscrutable sovereign plan of God in advance of making decisions, nor should we try. Rather we must do the "hard work of finding biblical principles and values that apply to [our] situation" (75-76). We must gather the information necessary to make a wise decision and then make the decision, strengthened by the knowledge that God's providence is like a "guardrail to our decision making. We are hurtling down the mountain of life with turns and switchbacks constantly confronting us. Yet we can have confidence that God has established the boundaries of our lives. He holds us carefully in his hand despite the dangers we face and the foolish decisions we make. Only in heaven will we know the number of times we bumped into the guardrail of God's plan and were protected for his gracious purpose" (77).
But the Scriptures also use "will of God" to refer to God's commandments. Hence, chapter five discusses "Guidance and the Word of God." The moral will of God is revealed in Scripture and we are expected to obey it. Many texts are cited, including 1 Thess. 4:3; 1 Pet. 2:15; Matt. 6:10; and Jn. 4:34). The author highlights the sufficiency of Scripture, saying: "his Word (the Bible) is complete, sufficient, and thoroughly powerful for the completion of the faith and life of every child of God" (88). In answer to those who contend that "in addition to Scripture (but not in contradiction to it), God reveals the specifics of his will through such things as vivid impressions, dreams, amazing circumstances, and a subjective sense of peace" (90), Petty argues that these things "are works of God's providence not revelations of his will." "They provide the context for God's guidance, though they do not make up that guidance themselves" (90). The Scriptures alone reveal the parameters of God's will. What we need is not new revelation, but wisdom for the application of God's revealed will in Scripture to the specific situations of our own lives.
Chapter six examines "Guidance and the `Individual Will of God'", the concept identified in popular Christian teaching as "`God's perfect will' or the `center of God's will' or God's `specific will'" (96). If God's moral will is viewed as a circular target, "the individual will of God is seen as the bull's eye on the target. That is the `will' we seek to discover (hit) for guidance. If we miss the bull's eye but hit within the target area, we are not in sin - but we are missing God's best for us" (97). The author contends that this concept is unbiblical and points out numerous problems with it, not least of which is that it drives believers away from Scripture in search of the elusive perfect center. Some resort to laying out a "`fleece' (Judges 6:36-40) as a means of divining the will of God" (101) or "reliance on hunches, impressions, circumstances, intuitive senses, open doors, and other shaky methods for discerning the will of God" (102). All of these false trails lead us away from the wise application of Scripture to our lives. We should focus rather on God's revealed will, which includes "areas of things prohibited" - all sin which must be "put off" in all situations - and "area of the application of God's positive commands" - the prioritizing of which requires wisdom and discernment (103). The chapter continues by considering five areas of life where God's revealed will must be applied - money, giftedness, time, marriage, and food, drink, and honoraria, drawing heavily on biblical passages such as 2 Corinthians 8-9, Romans 12:3-8, 1 Peter 4:10-12, Ephesians 5;15-18, 1 Corinthians 7, Romans 14, and 1 Corinthians 8-9. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the simplicity of Jesus' most basic command, "love one another," and how "all of life is the outworking of that command" (116). While some believers may be initially disappointed at the generality of this approach, preferring instead direct guidance on who to marry, what job to pursue, et cetera, Petty assures us that "God desires to guide us on these issues . . . by helping us make the connection to Christ, his purpose, and kingdom." And he reminds us that "if we do not understand the relevance of that connection to our situation, we have not really understood our situation [and] we are probably not ready for any other kind of `guidance'" (116).
Chapter seven ("Guidance and Christian Liberty") extends the discussion by considering yet one more area in which we must apply the revealed will of God - the area of Christian liberty. We know that a situation falls within this category by following "a process of elimination." If a decision is not prohibited by Scripture and is not controlled by the applied wisdom of Scripture (in relationship to God's positive commands), "then we know that it belongs to the larger range of decisions where all the alternatives are good, just, and right in God's sight." "This is the area where God has given us great freedom to order our lives according to our own preferences" (122). This should free believers from the "fear-driven need to make sure that every choice they make is `according to God's will.' That attitude in itself is out of God's will!" (124). In this realm of Christian liberty we can be assured that God helps us by his providence - "We might call it guidance with a small `g'" (126). But apart from biblical guidance in the area of motivation (i.e. 1 Cor. 10:31), decisions on these issues are left up to the personal choice of the believer.
Part Three: Experiencing Guidance
Chapter eight, "Guidance and the Wisdom of God," begins by rearticulating that "the central idea of this book is that discernment is the key to knowing God's will for your life and for specific situations . . . the purpose of this book is to show that the Bible's answer to our need for guidance boils down to one very rich word: wisdom" (135). To demonstrate the clear biblical basis for this position, Petty reflects on "five key passages in the New Testament that teach us how to actually know God's will" (136): Colossians 1:9-10, Philippians 1:9-11, Romans 12:1-2, Ephesians 5:15-17, and James 1:5-7. Wisdom is defined as "the moral skill to understand and apply the commandments of God to situations and people" (144). This wisdom comes from God and is "more miraculous and supernatural than any prophecy or directly inspired revelation" for in the giving of wisdom "God progressively transforms sinners to think like himself, with God's priorities, sensitivities, agenda, and love" (149). This way of wisdom is far superior to other methods for trying to discern God's will, which Petty views not only as faulty, but as harmful. In fact, "the claims of some that God led them by inner impressions, vivid thoughts, inner voices, dreams, unusual circumstances, and `fleecing' have crowded out the overwhelmingly biblical emphasis on our need to acquire godly wisdom and discernment" (152).
Chapter nine ("Experiencing Guidance") turns a corner in practicality by suggesting "six experiences that qualify as guidance" (155). "First, the Holy Spirit guides by focusing our hearts to love and serve specific people in specific ways" (155). "Second, God guides us by helping us identify priorities" (157). "A third way God guides us through discernment is through moral and spiritual insight" (158). "A fourth way in which God may grant discernment is by helping us know what to say" (161). "Fifth, we experience guidance through being `led by the Spirit'" (162). "A sixth but related guidance experience centers on what theologians call `the internal witness of the Spirit'" (163). Petty develops these points from Scripture and provides helpful illustrations and application.
The doctrine of God's providence is picked up again in the tenth chapter, "Providence: The Left Hand of God's Guidance." This chapter is helpful, not only in reemphasizing the fact of God's sovereign control over the affairs of life, but especially in helping believers locate more subjective factors that influence our decision making within the sphere of God's providence, to be evaluated by God's revealed will in Scripture. "The wisdom-based approach to guidance - rather than trying to protect our lives from the influence of impressions, hunches, dreams, and circumstances - allows us to enjoy them fully. We use them as providential input, not as revelation or spiritual guidance. The crucial different is that they are not seen as a means of guidance. They are seen for what they really are: the workings of God's providence" (173-174). In other words, unusual circumstances, personal feelings, impressions, and dreams should neither be blindly followed nor totally disregarded. Rather, "we should evaluate that material as we would any ideas we received from any source - a friend, a news report, or a phone call" (174). And the standard by which we evaluate everything is God's will revealed in his Word.
If God guides us in the way of wisdom, the next concern is "How to Become Wise" (chapter eleven). The course to wisdom is charted for us in five steps. "To become wise one must: (1) know God and be changed by him, (2) be committed to a progressive consecration to God, (3) diligently and persistently seek wisdom, (4) learn from those who are wise, and (5) participate in the ongoing decision making God requires of us daily" (186). These steps are developed primarily from the book of Proverbs, while at the same time clearly relating wisdom to Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:30; Col. 2:2).
Part Four: Seeking Guidance
The fourth part of the book expounds "Seven Elements of Biblical Decision Making" (189) within the context of a "case study illustrating the process of wise decision making in a specific, real-life situation, the story of Don and Glenda" (187). "This case study is based on a true story but also includes elements from other actual cases to provide a broader coverage of issues that arise in real-life decision making" (187). The first step of the process is "Consecration" (chapter twelve). Simply put, "to be led of God, we must belong to God" (193). This chapter begins with reflection on Romans 12:1-2. "The sacrifice of ourselves means that we no longer pattern our lives after the motives and goals of this age, but exchange our old ambitions and ways of living for new ones God has for us" (193). This means that the kingdom of God must be our first priority in decision making (Matthew 6:33), not self-actualization. As we subject our beliefs and motives to the Lord, we are transformed and enabled to discern "the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God."
The second step is the gathering of "Information" (chapter thirteen). Petty provides examples of "information gathering" from Scripture and exhorts us to "see with our own eyes the situation in which we must trust God and make decisions" (201). This involves not only knowing ourselves (Romans 12:3), but also "identifying the key questions" (202) that need to be answered about any given situation. This is followed by step three: "Supplication" (chapter fourteen). "In Scripture, the Holy Spirit makes it abundantly clear that we are invited to call upon God for guidance" (213). Prayer is crucial to the wisdom approach to decision making "because wisdom and insight do not come on command" (216). While answers to prayer are the primary benefit to praying, we can also gain perspective, develop perseverance, and grow in creativity when we pray. "God's involvement tends to blow away parochial barriers [our] fears may erect" (216).
"Consultation" (chapter fifteen) or the seeking of counsel is the next step. Petty cites numerous passages from Proverbs on the importance of seeking counsel and also shows how this pattern continues in the New Testament in the lives of the apostles and the early believers. Though resistance to seeking counsel is epidemic among men in our culture, we need the advice of others. "We need advice if we are confident of a decision because most foolish decisions are `clear' to the fool." And, "we need advice on confusing decisions because we are not yet clear" (223). Consultation should be joined with "Meditation" (chapter sixteen), to which God promises success (Josh. 1:8-9). We should not confuse meditation with worrying or fantasizing about situations, nor should we "get stuck in the meditation and consideration stage of a decision, going around and around with no progress toward a resolution" (233). Yet, careful consideration is essential step in making wise decisions, except in emergencies, where we have no time for meditation. In those cases, "our preparation and meditation must be done in advance or not at all" (231).
The sixth step is "Decision" (chapter seventeen). We may be forced by time limits to make a decision when we still do not feel ready. And "decisions expose us to the risk of being wrong, yet whenever we allow that to control our obedience, we serve self rather than God" (241). That doesn't mean we should be rash - "there is no merit in making difficult decisions just to have them made" (242). And "when a decision is not clear and God has supplied additional time in which to make it, we must learn to wait patiently while we seek the crucial wisdom or information" we still need (242). Chapter eighteen (titled "Expectation") asks, "What expectations can we have as Christians of the choices we make?" (251). First, we can be confident that "God's providence works everything (including our decisions) for good" (251). And we can also be confident that our lives will bear God-glorifying fruit, if we are prayerfully align ourselves with the God's kingdom agenda. Don and Glenda's story progresses throughout the second half of these seven chapters with realistic and interesting detail which model well how to apply the principles to our own lives. The book ends with a helpful appendix on assessing our priorities.
This is the fifth book I've read in the "Resources for Changing Lives" series written by the faculty of the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation. As with each of the other books, Step by Step is both doctrinally rich and practically helpful - the kind of down-to-earth pastoral theology that the church so desperately needs today. It is easily the best book on the topic of guidance that I have read so far, and it is hard to imagine a more even-handed treatment of the subject. I could not be more enthusiastic in my recommendation of this excellent book!
Awesome Book May 19, 2006
I would say I always believed in different things on God's will. I thought prayer would be and should be done. Getting advice from friends. And getting help from pastors.
This book not only showed me what was wrong and right but it made me realize greater things I have never realized before.
Honestly compared to the bible this is probably the most important book I have ever read in my life.
I really wish every christian reads it and gains the blessings I have gained out of it. It is so good on teaching and explaining things in ways I never would have thought about on my own.
From his views on why somethings happen to how to make good decisions when both decisions are blessful.
It amazes me how I've grown in just a week by reading this book
Finding God's Will "Mediately" Nov 4, 2004
At least half of my lunch appointments seem to come around to: "What is God's will for my life?" In my floundering to help people with this big `God's will' question over the last few years, I have been particularly influenced by two books: Bruce Waltke, Finding the Will of God (1995) and Sinclair Ferguson, Discovering God's Will (1982). While both are fundamentally in agreement with Petty's basic approach, reading Step by Step has helped me organize their thoughts (and mine) in helpful categories, and further distinguish them from alternative approaches.
As Petty ably illustrates, the stakes are high in this venture. As we seek God's guidance, we are indeed more like `pilots in flight' than students in a library! (p. 18). Especially helpful were Petty's explanation of the `three views.' What Petty (somewhat disappointing) labels the Traditional View is certainly the most popular today among evangelicals (pp. 29-31). It holds that guidance from God involves discovering the specifics of God's particular plan for our lives through various combinations of "circumstances, spiritual promptings, inner voices, personal peace of mind, and the counsel of others" (p. 30). Guidance occurs when God reveals his plan through these means (p. 31).
Petty next distinguishes the Traditional Charismatic view (pp. 32-33). The key difference between this view and the one preceding it in Petty's summary is that in the Charismatic view God communicates directly. Essentially, "each means of revelation that God used to give us the Scriptures is still available to individual Christians today" (p. 33), often with a new twist.
The third view, the Wisdom view, is the one endorsed by Petty (pp.33-35). This approach contends that while God does have a specific plan for each Christian, this plan remains hidden. God generally does not lift the veil. Instead, "guidance comes... by God making us wise.... The wisdom view sees God as guiding his children mediately, not immediately....his guidance is mediated by (comes through) the illumination of our minds and hearts by the Word of God" (p. 34).
Petty favors and unpacks the Wisdom view in relation to four topics: 1. the doctrine of providence, 2. the sufficiency of Scripture, 3. the doctrine of illumination, 4. the current work of the Holy Spirit (p. 35). Applying each of these criteria, it is clear that the Wisdom view in broad outline is more Biblically faithful than the proposed alternatives.
The first three parts of the book (pp. 17-192) explore the theology of guidance. The fourth part (pp. 193-262) consists of a helpful case study, illustrating ways this model can be practically applied to our lives. The reader is invited to a robust confidence in the Bible alone (not the `Bible-plus'). Through it, "God guides us by progressively placing within us spiritual wisdom and understanding to know the will of God... He never leads us with a `guess the signs' model" (p. 155). This occurs as the Christian progressively consecrates herself to Christ. "The path of wisdom is a lifestyle of repentance from serving functional gods like security, safety, control," etc. (p. 179).
VERY practical, wildly applicable book.
A breath of fresh air if you are looking for God's guidance Nov 3, 2001
I have just read this book after being involved in a study of Henry Blackaby's "Experiencing God" study. In Blackaby's study, the student is challenged to wait upon a revelation from God concerning His will before acting. As I pondered this idea, it seemed to be contrary to the apostle Paul's attempting to enter certain areas for the purpose of spreading the gospel only to be stopped by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6-10). In Paul's letters, he makes mention of multiple attempts to visit the church's he had established only to be prevented by Satan (1 Thessalonians 2:18). Paul seemed to be acting contrary to Blackaby's method and this disturbed me.
After reading Petty's book, everything fell into place. Paul was acting in accordance with the principles given in Petty's book. He was being guided by wisdom and providence (two things key to the Scriptural teaching regarding God's will) and not by direct revelations from God.
James Petty challenges much of what is written today regarding searching out God's will for your life. This book has addressed many of my questions about understanding God's guidance in my life. It has given me a deeper understanding about what the Bible teaches regarding God's will and how I should make decisions. The only problem I had with the book was Petty's remark that Satan can sometimes place thoughts in our minds. I cannot figure out how Petty draws this conclusion from Scripture and he does not explain why he believes this in the book. (This one issue should certainly not dissuade you from reading the book - it was simply a passing remark and is certainly not foundational to Petty's argument!)
Petty's approach is definitely different from other books I have read, but he does an excellent job of establishing his teaching on the foundation of the Scriptures and showing the problems with many modern approaches to seeking out God's will for your life. As Colossians 1:9-12 teaches, the key to understanding God's will is gaining wisdom and it would be wise to buy this book if you have been frustrated or confused by what you have read in other books.