HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT A PROBLEM…

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

Are you aware that when an airspace shuttle leaves the earth en route to the moon it is off course 97% of its flight? It is correcting its course every 29 out of 30 minutes! It is only on course for about 60 seconds for every half hour in flight. I was really surprised to discover that. You’re probably wondering, as I had, how on earth does it ever reach the moon? I learned that there is a gyroscope within that corrects its flightpath the whole way there. As it starts to veer off course, when the instruments indicate a reading other than what was programmed, the computer processor is alerted and makes the necessary adjustments to make sure it gets back on course and reaches its destination.

When I read about this, my mind turned to the scripture I opened with, because I could clearly see a simple truth that was before me the whole while. Namely, that the Holy Spirit is our gyroscope. Some manuscripts read that “God works all things with them” (emphasis mine.) If you consider the couple of verses before this one, it talks about the Holy Spirit making intercession for us according to God’s will (plan and design.)

Now, I don’t know about you, but as I meditated on this, I felt liberated. I mean, think about it…As we make decisions in life some lead us to the things God intended for us, others place us off-course. The great news is that we don’t need to fear making wrong decisions if we are seeking His guidance. He promised to work all things together for our good. Have a Selah moment. Let that sink in.

Have you read the book Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen? The meta-argument was that the reason a person can’t find God’s specific will is because this find-able will doesn’t exist. The traditional view holds that there are basically three “wills”: God’s sovereign will, His moral will and His individual will. Friesen would argue that there are only two wills (sovereign and moral). Decision making is therefore simplified as follows: First, where God commands, obey; Second, where there is no command God gives us the freedom, responsibility and wisdom to choose; Lastly, when we have chosen we must trust the sovereign God to work out all details together for good. The first view focuses on doing the right thing, the second on becoming the right person. The difference in focus is on becoming a good decision maker versus making good decisions.

I think so often our focus is on making right decisions. I realize that at times when I’ve prayed, I hadn’t really been looking for guidance, which is what the Lord promises, but rather what I was really desiring was “insider information” so I would know which is the “right” choice….which choice will lead me to the right job, the right spouse, success, happiness, etc. And I know I am not alone in this. Am I right?

Guidance means the Lord will direct our steps by using our discernment, a discernment which is guided by our knowledge of him through the scripture and spending time in prayer. Let’s consider this verse in Hebrews “But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.” Judging from this scripture in Hebrews I would think that God is not as concerned with our making the right choice as with our growth. He wants us to mature and be able to discern good from bad, right from wrong. Only by making decisions, lots of them, do we mature in this process.

I fear that what we have called “guidance” has simply been passivity. We have feared making decisions so we have passed the buck to God. What God promised, however, was that He would guide us into all truth. We have failed to sense the guidance because we have stood still expecting Him to do it for us.

I think of friends who are constantly “putting out fleeces” or making decisions by the “open door/closed door” method, often with disastrous results, constantly getting burned by it. “If it’s meant to happen, God will make it happen..” and the passivity begins…the paralysis. John Ortberg wrote, “When we face important decisions, we must pray, seek guidance, and exercise judgment, wisdom, initiative, choice and responsibility.”

It would appear then that we truly do not seek guidance so much as we want to avoid taking chances. I agree with Ortberg’s statement that God did not intend that guidance be a shortcut to escape making decisions and taking risks. I am just as guilty as the next person of having wanted God to “tell” me what to do, where to go, etc.

It is a slave mentality, not the mind of an heir, His child. A slave is told what to do, a child knows what pleases his father and seeks to act accordingly. When we think we sense His leading let us move prayerfully and seek to be relentlessly responsive. God is able to turn a string a failures, as in the case of the shuttle with the gyroscope, into ultimate success. He’ll lead us to our destination.

Michele Cedo

Copyright (c) 2008 Lord of the Ring-Less. All rights reserved.

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