One thing that I have noticed about living this life here on earth. I bet you have noticed it too. Nothing stays the same. Some folks try to keep things the same but you can’t do it. Life is about change. You have to be able to adapt to your changing circumstances.
Chapter 9 in Crazy Love is about people who have dedicated themselves to letting God work through their lives, the doctor who spent his life trying to cure mossy foot, the lady who adopted the baby from Tanzania whose mom had AIDS, the man named Rings who gives all his money away to feed the homeless.
All these people got to a point in their lives where they felt the need to change, the need to increase their commitment to God.
God pulled on their hearts and then they had to say to Him, Ok God, what’s next?
And they truly did not know…what was next.
But they dedicated their lives to Him anyway.
What is available to us to help us decide what to do? I am not talking about a “book” or a website. There is no magic help number for you to call. There is no guru on You Tube for you to watch.
But there is help…help from God.
In the scriptures. God has a written record of what to do, how to do it and a treasure horde of His advice. Right in your Bible.
The Bible has lots of counsel about what to do. Most importantly, God has shown through the Word that prayer and relationship with Him will help in any circumstance.
There are words to tell us what to do with our God-given gifts.
There are words to tell us how to develop our characters.
There are words about how to handle our material possessions, etc.
The Bible tells us that we have to rely on the Holy Spirit in times of change. If we open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit and follow this awesome “Helper”, there will be advice in times of change. Paul says, “Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. The Scriptures train God’s servants to do all kinds of good deeds” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
Some who are facing decision time in a season of change may say, “I just need a yes or I just need a no.!” The Bible may not give you specific answers; a yes or a no, but the attitude formation that will help you in times of change is there. I quote from one of my favorite authors John Stott when he says: “Generally speaking, it is correct to say that the will of God for the people of God is in the Word of God.”
Recognize that most of God’s guidance is unconscious. The writer of Proverbs says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5,6 – NIV).
What does that mean for us in times of change and decision?
Put your need to understand “on hold”. We want to peer into the crystal ball and see success in our future. That is so reassuring. However we have no crystal ball and we should not expect God to give us one.
What we do have is a promise from God that He will direct our paths.
For many of the people that Pastor Chan writes about in Chapter 9, I wonder if their peace about their decisions came from Isiah chapter 58, when God says to his people that if their concern is for the needy in society, the oppressed, the naked and the hungry, then one of the results will be that “The Lord will guide you always” (see Isaiah 58:6-12). In other words, if our motives and goals are right, guidance is something that will just happen. God has promised that.
It may not be a thought that makes sense to you.
It may not be a panel of friends that agree with you about your decision.
Mom and Dad may not approve of your change.
But you will feel it is right; I truly mean to emphasize the word feel.
Ok, now I am going to get really confusing because I am going to state that God expects us to use our intelligence . In the very well-known verse in Matthew [22:37] we are told to love God with all our mind as well as our heart.
Guess what? One of God’s gifts to us is our very insightful mind. We need to use it to think so we are not operating like an animal, relying on instinct. Psalm 32:8-9 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle”
Use your mind as you ponder making a change.
This is part of Christian maturity.
Eugene Peterson, the great translator of the Bible into a contemporary format called The Message, explains this use of the mind very well : “The early stages of Christian belief are not infrequently marked with miraculous signs and exhilarations of spirit. But as discipleship continues, the sensible comforts (those that depend on our physical senses) gradually disappear, for God does not want us neurotically dependent upon Him, but willingly trustful in Him. And so He weans us.”
Yes, it would be nice to always have a blue print before us to help us with decision-making but God does not want us to be baby Christians forever.
God gives us wisdom to know the best path to take. He may provide the tools and the materials but we have to make something ourselves by using our intelligence. A mature Christian does not need any more than that.
Don’t tell God how He must guide you. His job is to open doors. Our job is to read His word, feel His guidance and use our minds.
Our task is to follow and trust.