by Pastor Tim Burt
I remember when I met and fell in love with Renee. She seemed perfect for me and I wanted to marry her but I had this nagging thought: What if she isn’t the right one? How do I know for sure?
In life, each of us comes to places where wisdom is needed to make choices and decisions. Some of them will be easy for us to make. Others will be difficult and agonizing. What can make decision-making difficult, is the fear that you are making a wrong decision. As a Christian, I want to say to you that It’s critical to learn to never make decisions in fear. You want to make decisions in faith trusting that God has helped you, so that you don’t keep looking back and second-guessing yourself. Sometimes, we cannot see the obvious fruit of our decisions for long periods of time. And so, James 1:5-7 (NIV) says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.”
Whenever hard decisions need to be made, put your greatest effort in getting the answer and wisdom you need in seeking God. Seek Him in prayer, expecting Him to speak to and lead you through the scriptures. Scriptures never come more alive than when you desperately need to hear from God through them. While you are praying and seeking God, you should also seek counsel from those who know you well and from those who have wisdom related to the decision(s) you have to make. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans go wrong: but in the multitude of counselors they are established.”
Getting counsel is important but this is also where many people get confused. What is the purpose of seeking counsel? Let me first say this: if you have a difficult and hard decision to make, and the answer on one side is much easier and pleasing to hear and live with than the other side, then you will be tempted to desire counsel and seek wisdom from good-intentioned people that love you and don’t want you to go through hard things. They will often persuade you to go with the easiest decision that causes the least pain and seems the most logical because of their care and concern for you.
When Jesus’ time came to die for us, Peter offered counsel that Jesus didn’t ask for. Peter spoke words that Jesus’ flesh would have loved to hear but were contrary to God’s will. Jesus rebuked Peter. Mark 8:31-33 NIV says, “And He (Jesus) began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And He spoke that saying openly. And Peter took Jesus, and began to rebuke Him. But when Jesus had turned about and looked on His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Get you behind me, Satan: for you consider not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.”
Jesus loved Peter and Peter loved Jesus. But, when it comes to fulfilling the will of God, it’s not simply about what’s easy. Peter’s intentions were good but he simply didn’t understand the commission God had given Jesus. Therefore he tried to talk Jesus out of it. When getting counsel, people will often do what Peter did. They will try to logically think through your situation, not knowing or understanding the impression you’ve had of God to begin with. Getting counsel isn’t for the purpose of having people tell you what to do. It isn’t for getting everyone’s agreement about what to do. Counsel is for the purpose of gaining understanding and insight that will contribute to your decision. But God’s insight and the leading of His Spirit is the greatest of all insight. It is the direction that will lead you to the decision you need to make. Once you believe you’ve heard from the Lord, you can follow a plan based on facts, information, and His leading. This will help you become confident and remain in faith as you follow the Lord and His steps for you.
When I was working in the airlines, my Pastor told me he was ready to hire me as a Pastor. (I had completed Bible School a year earlier.) I asked him if I could wait one more year to come on staff, because if I did, I would get a substantial benefit package of $35,000 plus life-time pass benefits. My Pastor told me he could not wait. He needed me now. So I had to pray about that and it was a huge decision. After much prayer, I took the job (at less pay) and forsook the airline benefits and pay. I told the Lord I would trust Him through it all. It turned out to be the most wonderful decision. In time I was made an Associate Pastor and it was the joy of my life and the most fulfilling of anything I could ever imagine doing. And I did it for the next 27 years, until I retired. I had zero regrets and only a heart of thanksgiving!
We all need wisdom to make God-led decisions and we want to make them as confidently as possible. For that reason, whenever possible, take quality time to seek the Lord and let Him lead you. Once you’ve done your best, commit that decision to the Lord, pull the trigger and don’t look back. You aren’t infallible. You might make a mistake. But, if you follow the Lord’s leading the best you can, most of your decisions will bear fruit and prove right and you won’t live in the unstable land of double-mindedness and torment! And… this is another topic but, God by His grace, will help turn sincerely made but wrong decisions into blessing when they do happen… if you remain in faith!
Proverbs 8:14-17 (NKJV) “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength. By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, All the judges of the earth. I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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