Do you understand the difference between knowing God’s will, making godly decisions and encouragement from the LORD?
Here’s the thing: too often, I hear people say, “Oh, maybe that’s a sign! Maybe God’s trying to tell you that you made the wrong decision.” Sigh.
That’s a sign, for sure, a sign of a wrong doctrine, most likely.
God’s will is revealed in Scripture. I talked about that last Sunday. His will is that the lost be saved and that the saved become more like Christ. That’s the basic gist. Sure, there is more under that basic desire, but the idea is that you don’t have to pray to figure out God’s will. He has revealed it.
Making godly decisions is sometimes a different matter. We have to study God’s Word and apply it our lives. Often it is cut and dry: do I kill my neighbor when he doesn’t return my lawn mower? Uh, no! God’s Word is clear on murder. Do I take the job as a camp director in Maine? Well, does it provide for your family? Will your wife be miserable the entire time because she hates being cold and can not fathom the winters there? One could apply the verses in Ephesians 5 as well as I Corinthians 13 to see that, in one particular marriage, taking that job would not be God honoring.
Then there is the idea of encouragement from the LORD. This is not to be confused with “signs”.
For example, we prayed and prayed and thought and thought for months about a new job. We knew that the time was right to move to a different camp, but we didn’t know where. My Sweetie searched job listings and applied. We interviewed at another camp and this one. We sat and made lists, looked at pros and cons, and prayed for wisdom.
After making our decision (which was a big step of faith for us), we were encouraged by some little events. The day we told the kiddos, we also learned that Les Miserables was coming to Albuquerque and our dream of taking The Boy and Princess didn’t have to be dashed! We had been planning for months to take the kids to Austin, but hadn’t bought tickets because we weren’t sure we would be close enough. It never crossed my mind that it might go to or have not yet gone to Albuquerque.
The weekend before My Sweetie and I came to look for a house, we worked out at “the other camp”. A counselor sat with us (very unusual) after we asked her about herself, she asked us what we were up to. I shared that we were moving to Albuquerque in five days. She very calmly said, “Oh, that’s where I”m from! And I was homeschooled, my mom attends BSF, and we were missionaries in India for a few years. Oh, and my parents just adopted.”
The night we were flying home to load our family up and move, a woman sat next to us and slept the entire time. As we descended, bouncing merrily, she woke and as we taxied, she mentioned flying to Albuquerque that morning, which prompted a conversation. As we shared the house we were learning towards in the East Mountains and the one we were still sorta considering, she sweetly said, “Ummm…. I worked in the area of that second house and let me just say, I didn’t feel safe all the time. I think you should definitely get the first house! I think you’ll love it there!”
All of these were encouraging to us, they were not decision makers.
As Christians, we are not supposed to look for signs to base our decisions upon. We are not to be swayed back and forth by circumstance. We are to study God’s Word, pray for wisdom and use both of those to make godly decisions.
The reverse goes the same.
For example, as we were driving to New Mexico, we received a call from the moving truck driver that it was going to cost us an extra $1,100 to get the moving truck to our house from the top of the hill in our neighborhood. The day we moved in, I dropped my precious camera, shattering my basic lens. A day later, we realized that our old washing machine died in transit. Three very costly events that some people could have viewed as “signs that we weren’t supposed to be here”. Sigh. No, those were opportunities for us to trust God despite hardship.
If My Sweetie and I based decisions on circumstance, then our decisions could change weekly… daily… hourly. No, that’s not how to make godly decisions.
I’m grateful to understand the difference between God’s will, godly decisions and encouragement/opportunities to grow in faith from the LORD.
How about you?