A while back I was pondering a ministry decision and found myself going back and forth, weighing all the various human and political factors – how will that student respond to decision A? How will this other student respond to decision B? What are the benefits of taking this course? What are the risks of taking that other course? And so on and so forth. After a long period of going back and forth and genuinely being uncertain, I finally exhausted myself with these kinds of questions and asked a more basic question: what is most pleasing to the Lord? Regardless of how people will respond or what the outcome will be, what is the right thing to do? What is God’s will?
The human and political questions are important and necessary, but its so liberating and clarifying to realize that our ultimate accountability is to God Himself, not to any human court or opinion. While I want to make every effort to live peaceably with others (Romans 12:18), my ultimate responsibility is not to other people, but to Christ (Galatians 1:10). That not only brings clarity amidst a thousand competing voices, but it also frees me to follow God’s leading with confidence – to pull the trigger on a decision, even if I can’t foresee all the consequences. Praise God for the sheer simplicity of his call – we’re not responsible for pleasing everybody, or fixing all the problems, or managing some desired result. Ultimately, we’re responsible to simply trust and obey, as best we are able.
“Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” -Ephesians 5:10
As long as we are trusting in God and are walking by the Spirit any choice we make is in God’s will. God’s will isn’t something he is trying to keep hidden from us. As long as we don’t choose sin and seek God first in all things, we are in his will regardless of the path we choose. :o) thanks for the encouragement, Gavin!
‘the sheer simplicity of his call.’ Outstanding.
I’m disheartened that you would think that your ultimate responsibility relies with Christ and not with human beings, since it is your flesh and blood brothers and sisters with which you share the real, tangible world. It is these same fallible human beings that recorded the Bible, and it is these same fallible human beings who interpreted and continue to interpret its words into hundreds of different meanings. All we have to rely on is the rational, informed discourse of the secular. It’s the only thing that treats us all fairly- believers and non-believers.
Discerning what would be pleasing to the Lord is not something we can all agree on. Ask that to each of the 30,000+ different christian sects. The right thing to do? Now that is a better question that I’m sure we can discuss, without the need for mythological superstitions or anecdotal textual accounts.
Big fan of your blog, Dr. O. My comment is:
Trust and Obey
For there’s no other way
To be Happy in Jesus,
But to Trust and Obey!
your brother Mike
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