Deo Volente

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Deo Volente is a Latin phrase meaning Lord Willing, or as we say in the South, “Lord willin’.” The Puritans used this phrase to acknowledge their desire to seek God’s will in their lives as seen in James 4:15.

Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.”

Two centuries later, the Methodists used "Deo Volente" in their conversations and correspondence to connect their intentions with God’s will. Some would write the initials D. V. at the end of their letters.

How do we know the Lord’s will though?

In his classic book, The Will of God, Dr Leslie Weatherhead offers a road map to discerning God’s will. First, he urges that the greatest help is available when we “deepen our friendship” with him. Then he describes six “signposts” that give us some direction.

1. Conscience – We can listen to that still, small voice that helps us to know right from wrong.

2. Common Sense – We can base decisions on a sense of good judgment after giving thoughtful consideration to a situation.

3. Advice of a Friend – It is often good to seek wise counsel from a trusted friend who has a keen Christian insight.

4. Great Literature – At first I found this to be a curious inclusion.; however, I realize that I have often used examples found in the classics, biographies, and histories to teach a moral lesson to students. Heroes and villains, past and present, can teach us much about choices and consequences.

5. Voice of the Church – Through study and fellowship with Christian believers we find comfort and guidance as we seek God’s will.

6. “Inner Light” – Weatherhead finds merit in the Quaker practice of seeking God’s Inner Light by listening for God to speak. Certainly, a time of meditation and prayer, followed by a time to listen to God, is crucial in discerning God’s will.

These signposts offer useful tools to be used in combination as we seek to determine God’s will when we get to the crossroads. We can rest assured that God wants us to follow him and will guides us right at the time we need him. It’s also comforting to know that he can even weave our mistakes into his plan. For many of us, the hardest part comes in the doing of God’s will more than the discerning of God’s will.

Romans 12:2 teaches, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Try using “Deo Volente” in your conversations and correspondence this week and see the reactions you get!


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