All of us long to know God’s will for our lives. How do we know the decisions we are making in life fit in with His larger plan for us? Should I marry this person? Should I quit this job? Should I invest in this stock? Should I move to this town? Should I go back to school? What should my major be? Should I have children? Should I stay married? All of us wrestle with one thousand questions like this every day. How can we know which answer God wants us to choose? How can we be sure we are doing what God is blessing? That’s what Pastor Greg speaks about in this 3-part series called “G.P.S. (God’s Positional System).”
Tonight is Part 2 of 3 – They Went Thataway
If you were here last week, we began a new series called GPS – God’s Positioning System and we talked about guardrails and we said that there are two great guardrails that God has put in our life. We said one of those is the Providential Will of God. We can read about that in Scripture and see that there’s just some things God’s going to do just because He’s God and He wants to do it. It doesn’t matter if we want Him to do it, doesn’t matter if we believe He’s going to do it. He’s going to do it anyway. It is His Providential Will. We said the coming of the Messiah was one of those things. It really didn’t matter whether anybody wanted the messiah to come, didn’t matter whether they’d asked for it, didn’t matter whether they believed it or not. God was going to send the Messiah. The Providential Will of God is one of God’s GPS guardrails for our life.
We said the second guard rail is the Moral Will of God. These are all the do’s and don’t already revealed to us in the written word of God. God’s already said this is a sin. This is wrong. This is something you shouldn’t be engaging in. And there’s other things God has already said, hey, these are really good things. These are positive things. These are things you should be doing in your life. That’s the moral will of God guardrail. And we said that whatever the Personal Will of God is for your life, it will 100% fall somewhere between those two guardrails. If what you are trying to do in your life comes into conflict with God’s Providential Will of God’s Moral Will, you are going to crash. There’s no possible way it could be God’s personal will for your life if you are crashing into either guardrail.
Should I rob a bank? Should I have an extra-marital affair? You don’t have to spend hours agonizing about those kinds of questions. God’s already answered those kinds of questions for us. Be smart enough to not crash into the guardrails God has already established. Now, there is a lot of space still between those two guardrails isn’t there? An infinite number of potential paths for you to take through life, decisions to make, opportunities to embrace that don’t violate the Providential or the Moral will of God but not all of those paths are going to be beneficial for you. Not every path will lead to your best possible life.
Last week I promised to share a shortcut with you for those times when you have a super pressing instant decision to make. How can I know God’s will, right now! What happens if I haven’t been a Christian long enough to really understand the Moral Will of God. And I really haven’t been a Christian long enough to fully understand the Providential Will of God. And what happens if I have to make a decision right now? It’s not ideal. Normally, we want to have time to pray and research and read the Bible to come up with the best answer for God’s Personal Will in our situations in life. But sometimes you just don’t have that kind of time. In our GPS theme of this series, this is the question you’re really asking. Can’t somebody just tell me the answer? Can’t someone who has been there just tell me how to get there? Can’t somebody just give me directions? Can’t I just plug the destination into Google Maps and get a step-by-step set of directions? Do I have to figure this out on my own? Can’t someone just say “Someone else had the same problem and they went that away!” That’s the shortcut we want in those urgent decision times right?
Years ago, down in North Carolina, a group of us were coming back from a Promise Keepers event. Great big stadium thing. Twenty-seven thousand men, just praising God and just having a great weekend together. And the end of the event came about and we decided it was time to go back to the hotel. This was before we all had Google Maps on our iPhones. Some people had Garmin GPS devices in their cars but we didn’t. We got turned around in downtown Raleigh. We didn’t know the area. There was a lot of construction going on, a lot of one-way streets, bridges out, all kinds of things. Before long, we were really turned around. A cloudy night, couldn’t even look for the North Star. We were lost. Like most men, we weren’t going to stop and ask for directions. We were sure that we could figure out how to get there on our own. And so for a couple of hours in downtown Raleigh, we turned around again and again, looking for something familiar, driving down one-way streets, getting stopped at dead ends, turning back around, backing up. I mean, we were just hopelessly lost.
Finally, we gave up. We pulled into a gas station to ask directions. The guy who was working the counter had evidently been dipping into the six-packs that night in the back storage room. And he was about three sheets to the wind when we showed up. We told him the name of our hotel and asked him for directions. And the guy said, well, let me think for a minute. And he thought and thought and he thought and then he said, “You know what? You can’t get there from here.” I thought, wow, we’re more lost than we thought we were. We’ve hit the end of the earth or something. You can’t get there from here? We’re stuck forever in this gas station with this guy? So we left and we drove a little further and we found another gas station. In this one, there were three guys, standing around talking.
We told them the name of the hotel and asked if they could give us directions. So the first guy said, “Well, let’s see. Now you go about two blocks this way and turn there.” And another guy said, “Oh, no, you can’t go that way, that roads closed. Remember the construction?” The first guy said, “Oh, yeah, that’s right.” So then the second guy said, “Oh, I know what you could do. You could cut three blocks over this way and turn left there and go across the bridge.” Guy number three interrupted. “Y’all, that bridge is out, remember?” — Oh, yeah. And this went back and forth for several minutes. And then finally, I kid you not, all these guys simultaneously said, “You know what? You can’t get there from here.” That’s when we really started to panic because we thought maybe we really can’t get there from here. Maybe we’re actually at the end of the earth and we’re stuck in this place forever. So we got back on the road again. We tried a third station time and this time the guy happened to live near the hotel and he was just getting off work and he’d driven the route we needed many times. He said, follow me, I’ll take you right to it. We kept our eyes glued on his taillights the whole way and frequently said “He went thataway.” And we were able to safely get back to the hotel. So here’s the reason that I shared that story with you.
Tonight, we’re going to look at a vitally important principle that God gives us that is so obvious there’s a tendency for us to overlook it. The principle is this. God wants us to know His will even more than we want to know His will. That’s the principle. God wants you to know His will even more than you want to know it. That’s so obvious and it’s so important. And yet there’s a tendency for us to completely overlook it. We are going to read a story from 1st Kings 12 about a king that stumbled onto this principle but then he violated it.
So let me start by giving you some background, a little bit of context. Solomon was the third king of Israel, after Saul and then David. In many ways Solomon was a great king. God gave Solomon the option to ask for anything he wanted and instead of choosing wealth or power, Solomon asked for wisdom to lead the people of Israel well. God granted Solomon both the wisdom he asked for and also granted him vast wealth and political power. Solomon had all of this wisdom but the problem was, because of pride or rebellion he didn’t always follow the wisdom he imparted to others. His biggest mistake came when he married many women who were from foreign countries, who worshiped foreign, false gods. God had told Solomon not to do this because they would eventually turn his heart away from God and toward their false gods.
Solomon ignored wisdom out of pride and rebellion and did not obey God. In his old age, he began to turn his heart towards these foreign false gods of his wives. He started to build idols for them and offered sacrifices to them. And, obviously, he broke God’s heart. God basically says to Solomon “Solomon, you’ve disappointed me greatly. As a result of that, after you die, I’m going to tear the majority of your kingdom away from your son Rehoboam. Out of respect to your father, David, who, despite his own problems, at his core, he was a man after my heart. Out of respect for him, I’m going to leave a fragment of the original kingdom of Israel in place. Your kingdom will be the kingdom of Judah. But the rest of the tribes of Israel, I’m going to tear away and have somebody else be the king of these tribes and their nation will have the name Israel. God then also began to raise up adversaries against Solomon, including remnants of foreign powers David had vanquished.
One day, God sent Ahijah, the prophet of Shiloh to meet a man named Jeroboam out in the country. Jeroboam was a very high-up official in Solomon’s kingdom. Through Ahijah, God spoke a prophecy to Jeroboam. God says “Solomon has disappointed Me greatly, and because of his sin, I’m going to tear most of the kingdom away from his son. Jeroboam, you will get to rule over ten tribes of Israel, and Solomon’s son Rehoboam will only rule over one.” When Solomon learned that Jeroboam was going to be the guy that would help accomplish this, Solomon tried to kill him but Jeroboam escaped to Egypt. Eventually, Solomon died. Before the people of Israel would give their full support of crowning Rehoboam as their new king, they make one simple request of him. That’s where we pick up in First King’s chapter 12. The whole assembly of Israel goes to Rehoboam and said to him,
4 “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.” ~ 1 Kings 12:4
Now, this is a really defining moment for this young king Rehoboam. He’s got a big and tough decision to make. There was a lot at stake here for Rehoboam because to agree to lighten up might signal weakness to the people. And suddenly he might find himself being held hostage to the whims of all the people that he’s trying to lead. If that happens then he never actually gets to be the leader of the country because he’s always doing whatever the people make him do because he’s already shown weakness. Still, he knew that they had a good point. His dad was kind of a pain and was kind of tough on the people and he probably should lighten their load somewhat, that might make them more willing to follow him and trust him as their king. So he had a really tough decision.
He’s a young man. He doesn’t have a lot of skill. He doesn’t have a lot of experience. He doesn’t have a lot of wisdom in these areas. So he doesn’t really know how to make the right decision, and yet it is an urgent decision. He has to do something. So the first thing he does is actually a really smart thing, and this is a lesson for us to learn too when you or I have to make a really tough decision in a short amount of time. If possible, ask for more time to think through before making a rash decision that you can’t take back later, take as much time as you possibly can before you make this decision. That’s what Rehoboam does. Look at verse five,
5 Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away. ~ 1 Kings 12:5
Next, Rehoboam does another smart thing. He did what all of us need to do when we’ve got a high-pressure deadline decision that we’re trying to make. He tried to get insight and input from older, wiser men with more experience and more wisdom in this area. Look at verses 6-7
6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked. 7 They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.” ~ 1 Kings 12:6-7
That was good advice. That was wise advice. And if Rehoboam had taken their advice, things might have turned out differently in this story. God might have seen Rehoboam making better decisions than his father and God may have held off on His decision to tear apart the kingdom. Moses and Abraham had both been successful at influencing the Providential Will of God. Who knows? Had Rehoboam made a different decision he might have succeeded in that too. However, Rehoboam departed from good judgment and he rejected the advice of the wise older leaders and instead he decided to consult with the young men serving with him who had grown up with him. And there was a lot at stake for them. They were in the king’s good graces because they were his childhood buddies. I mean, they had known him their whole life and they liked the idea of soaking up the pleasure and the pleasure of being pals with the king. They were young and they were immature and they had hot heads and they had little patience. So they advised Rehoboam to react with anger and threats. Listen to what they say in verses 10-11,
10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’” ~ 1 Kings 12:10-11
Can you imagine? It’s like these good ol’ boys just sitting together around the campfire throwing back Kona Longboards you know? They are like “Pshhhht. You know what I’d do? If they talked to me like that, I’d smack em down and tan their hides. I’d give them some cracks for sure.” So they give him this horrible advice. They get Rehoboam all fired up. He listened to his hotheaded buddies and he did a very foolish thing. Look at verse 12.
12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” ~ 1 Kings 12:12-14
And now listen to verse fifteen. This is important. 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the Lord, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite. ~ 1 Kings 12:15
God’s Providential Will to tear apart the kingdom in an act of judgment comes to pass. But again, we saw both Moses and Abraham impact God’s Providential Will, change God’s course of judgment. Perhaps, if Rehoboam had chosen the path of wisdom instead of listening to the young hotheads advice maybe things would have been different. We know there is value in going to other, older, wiser people for advice.
Remember the principle we started with tonight? God wants us to know His will even more than we want to know His will. Rehoboam rejected wise counsel and accepted foolish counsel. What’s the lesson for you and me. God wants us to use the Council of Older, Wise Christians. Sometimes our closest friends aren’t the best people to gain advice from. They’re just too close to us, to our emotions, to be objective. So, we find ourselves in this position. It’s an urgent, time-sensitive decision. What am I going to do? How do I make a decision on this thing? How am I ever going to figure out what I’m supposed to do? How am I ever going to get to the right destination? And God says, “Hey, I’ve given you other, older, wiser Christians who have already had to make decisions like the one you are making now. They went that away. Follow them. You don’t have to make every decision independently. If you want to know which way to go, then look for decisions and directions from other wise believers.
If it worked out good for them. Maybe it’ll work out for you too. But you’ve got to learn how to ask the right people. That’s one of the big mistakes that we make. Sometimes we ask for direction and wisdom from some people who are, let’s be kind, a little bit squirrely. If you realize that God can speak to you through the advice and the wisdom of people that God has placed around you, and you choose who to listen to carefully, then you’re going to be amazed at how quickly you can learn the will of God in specific situations that moments before seemed completely beyond your capacity and ability to understand. It’s one thing to learn wisdom. It’s another thing to consistently apply that wisdom in your own decisions. Again, Solomon, the guy that initially created the problem situation for his son Rehoboam, was the wisest man to ever live and the one who constantly writes about the value and the need for wisdom. He constantly encourages us to always bring in the advice of older and wiser people. Still, even Solomon didn’t take his own advice and he, and his son, paid a huge price for that foolishness. Now, I’m not the wisest man who ever lived. Not by a long shot. Solomon, with all his faults, was still way more wise than I.
If Solomon says I should ask for advice from other people, I’m going to ask for advice from other people as I struggle with decisions in my life. And I think you would be wise to do that as well. Proverbs 1:5 says
let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— ~ Proverbs 1:5
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. ~ Proverbs 15:22
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. ~ Proverbs 19:20
So, again, here is Solomon, the wisest man in the world, and he’s written all of these passages as well as many others that say if you want to make the right decisions, you’ve got to invite other people in on the decision. A lot of this wisdom, I think, he gained by the mistakes he made along the way. As they say, experience is the best teacher. Solomon made the mistake of not listening to his own God-given wisdom. As a pastor, I get to help people deal with all kinds of decisions, marriage decisions, financial decisions, relationship decisions, career decisions, faith decisions. People come to me and they ask me to pray with them and they ask me for my advice and I do my best to impart Biblical wisdom to them and wisdom from my own life experiences to them.
Most often people will come to me after they’ve already made a bad decision or three bad decisions and now they are in deep. And one of the first questions I’ll ask is, “Did you talk to anyone about this before you made that decision? Did you ask anybody’s advice before you did this?” Almost one hundred percent of the time, the answer I hear is “No. I just decided myself.” And I say, “Well, that’s why you’re in this mess.” God doesn’t expect you to be a super genius. God doesn’t expect you to know everything or understand all things. You just have to find somebody who has a little bit of objectivity, often someone who is a little older and a little more experienced than you, someone who can say: “Hmmmm, Greg, that seems like a really bad idea to me. You might not want to do that.” Sometimes people come to see me while they’re still trying to make a tough decision. And with a little bit of objectivity and an average IQ, and a lot of life experience, and sometimes with a little better understanding of the Providential and Moral Will of God shown in the word of God, I can say to them:
“Listen, if you do this, here’s what’s going to happen and things are going to be okay. On the other hand, if you make this choice, here’s what’s going to happen and things are really going to go sour in your life. So I don’t think I would do that if I were you.” Now, sometimes people take my advice in those areas. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’ll come back weeks or months or even years later after their life has spun completely out of control. Everything’s gone wrong and they’ll come up and say “Greg, how did you know? Everything turned out exactly the way you said it would. I made that decision, even though you said it was a bad idea and everything turned out exactly like you said it would. My life went down the toilet. Oh, everything’s awful. How did you know?” And I always say, “Because I’m from the future.” No. It’s because God’s wisdom was so clear. When I ask Christians if they have asked the advice of anybody who might already know the way, they should go, they often say, no, I didn’t ask anybody’s advice, but I prayed about it. I prayed about it a lot. And now, listen, prayer is a wonderful thing, and God absolutely wants us to seek His will through prayer. But listen, God has also given us each other to help us seek His will and to learn how to make these kinds of decisions. And the wise advice of others is one of those primary tools that God is going to use to reveal His will for us.
So when we don’t do that and then we go make a major bad decision, we want to turn to God and get mad at God. God, why didn’t you stop me? You saw that I was making this dumb decision and I prayed about it. How come you didn’t stop me? And God says, “You know, I tried to stop you. I sent this person and this person to advise you. I had all these people around you to give you the wise advice that you needed. You didn’t seek them out. You didn’t listen to them.
We always want God to appear as a big thunderbolt of lightning in the sky and speak to us like He did to Moses on Mount Sinai. Here’s the thing. God doesn’t typically work that way. That’s a rare thing when God speaks to people that way. Most of the time, God speaks through the wisdom of other people who have already walked further on the journey than you have. People who you can see, They Went Thataway. One of the primary tools of God’s Positional System for guiding us to His personal will for our lives, in between His Providential Will and Moral Will is through the wisdom and the directions of other people. And so when we’re sitting around going, which way do I go? Which way do I go? God says through other wise Christian people. “Ohhh, you go thataway.” Now, maybe you’ve had this experience. You’re struggling with a big decision. You’re laying it all out to a friend or a family member or a pastor or a counselor. And then that person just says like one or two very simple, basic things that you hadn’t thought of. And it’s like, boom, the light goes on and you go, “Oh! Of course! Why didn’t I think of that!? That’s what I need to do.” You instantly know how to do it and where to go and you feel peace about the decision
It’s not that the person was smarter than you are. They’ve just been down that road before. They’ve experienced a similar situation and they either made the right choice or the wrong choice when it was their turn, so now they’ve been able to give you one or two things to think about. And there’s your answer. Or maybe you’ve had an experience like his. You hear someone preaching or someone sharing a devotional or even just a story from their life and you went “WOW! It is like God is speaking directly to me through that person.” I hear that often after messages. Someone will come up and say “That was for me Greg!”
God spoke directly to me through what you said. It was like you had been following me around all week and you knew exactly what was going on in my life. You said exactly what I needed to hear! How did you do that?” And I always say “Because I’m from the future.” No. God’s just using me – as He uses each of us – to help show His will to those who are seeking His will. He uses you to help show His will for me at times too. We look out for each other. That’s what the body of Christ does. That’s what the family of God does. The person who gave you wise advice is doing what God created them to do. And when you give good wise advice to somebody else, you’re doing what God created you to do. God uses wise people that He’s put around you to speak wisdom to you about His will. The truth is, that’s where a lot of God’s Personal Will for your life is going to come to you. It’s going to come from wise people who have already been down the journey further than you have. We went that away and you should too.
So develop a sensitivity to this fact that this is a tool that God uses and begin to listen strategically. You might say, well, Greg, can’t I still get bad advice from a pastor or a counselor or an older friend? Of course. The issue is we need to establish boundaries and parameters about how to listen to the right people and how to recognize the right kind of advice. So, as we close tonight, I want to finish by giving you five strategies to help you listen to the right people and how to find the right kind of advice.
The first one is this
1) Choose people who have nothing to lose by telling you the truth.
This was a problem with Rehoboam’s plan. He asked his friends who had a lot to lose based on which decision he would make. Like Rehoboam, you might have some friends who are more concerned about the friendship than they are about you as a friend. You might have some false friends who are more concerned about their own piece of the pie than they are about what’s best for you. The second strategy is:
2) Seek out someone who is already where you want to be in life.
This is so important. Find people who are already where you want to be in your marriage, in your career, in your financial planning, in your spiritual life, whatever the case is. Seek out people who, in a sense, have a map for you. Regularly ask them “How did you get here? How did you get this far? Find those who have the ability to say “I went thataway and if you go thataway too you will find some good spots on the journey too.” I want to be where you are. Please give me directions. How did you get there? Where did you find some pitfalls, paths to avoid?
We often make the same mistake Rehoboam made. We often ask people who are no further along on the journey than we are. You know, we have a fight with our wife one day and the next day at work, some guy walks by our cubicle at work and says, “How are you doing?” We tell him what happened, what our wife said, what I said. Then we ask him “What would you do?” And he says “Well, here’s what I’d do. I’d tell her I wear the pants in this here family and I’m the man of this house. And you better do what I say. If you don’t like it you can get out! That’s what I’d tell her.” And we go, “Ok then. If that’s what BillyBob says to do then that’s what I’ll do too.” That’s what we do and our wife leaves us and asks for a divorce. We go tell BillyBob about it and he says “Yeah, that’s what happened with my wife too.” We need to be wise. Don’t count on advice from people who aren’t any further along on the journey than we are.
Chances are the bad advice you’ve gotten in the past, even from professional counselors, was from people who were no closer to being where you wanted to be than you were already yourself. Rehoboam actually went to the right guys first. They had the context for his decision. They had the experience. They had the wisdom. They had the character. They had the temperament. They had his best interests at heart. Then he went to his friends who weren’t any further along than he was and he blew it. Here’s a third principle.
3) If possible, ask more than one person.
Solomon tells us in Proverbs 11:14
Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory. ~ Proverbs 11:14
Think about it, if you ask three people and you get three completely different answers, you’re not really any further ahead, are you? But if you ask ten people and eight of those people give you the same answer, chances are you might be going in the right direction. Right? You should probably follow the eight who went thataway. The fourth principle is:
4) Talk to someone you know and to someone you don’t know.
This is important to get some objectivity, to get some perspective on your decision. Even the wisest, best-intentioned friend or family member is still a little too close to the situation to be fully objective. Their opinion matters. It’s important. They love you and want the best for you. Balance out your advice with somebody who can be completely objective, along with the advice of somebody who completely loves you because they might love you too much. They want to do what’s best for you, but they are not really sure how to do what IS best for you because they’re just too close to the situation.
They may be close to the people you are having a problem with. Find someone who doesn’t know any of the people you’re dealing with in this situation and who can just give you some clear, objective wisdom. The fifth principle is:
5) Be sensitive to the fact that God might actually speak to you through this person.
That doesn’t mean you front end load it with “Hey, don’t forget, we’re meeting tomorrow at nine a.m. and I’m trusting God to speak through you to me. So make sure your advice is perfect. OK, thanks. No pressure.” That’s not how you go about doing that. But, when you are seeking advice, go into it praying “Lord, help me to hear from You through the advice of this person.” Now, here’s the amazing thing. This blows me away when I think about this. God often answers that prayer. They might tell you a story that’s completely different from your situation.
However, there might something in it that illustrates the very principle you’re looking for. And by them finding the right solution to a similar decision that they made, it helps you solve your dilemma. Here is the other amazing thing that happens. Even if the advice of this person stinks to high heaven. I mean, they might say, “Oh, you know what I would do? I would do this and then this.” And it might be the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard in your life. And the minute they open their mouth you may think “WHAT? That is not right. That is so dumb. I can’t believe this person told me that.” But their answer, let’s call it Answer A, answer A is so absurd, it might actually lead you to Answer B, C or D. Suddenly it hits you. “Oh yeah, that’s what I’ll do.” And it is the opposite of that they told you to do. Listen, don’t miss this. If you went in praying for God to speak to you through that person, God still spoke to you through that person.
Be sensitive to the fact that, whether they give you good advice or bad advice, God might be actually speaking to you through their words and guiding you to the right answer for you. That’s the GPS – God’s Positional System at work. Now, when you feel like you’ve found the right people to seek advice from, here’s three questions to ask.
THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK THE RIGHT PERSON(S)
The first one is this.
1) Are there any other options I’m considering that are outside of the boundaries of scripture, as far as you know?
In other words, you’re older than I am, you’ve been a Christian longer than I have. You’ve studied the Bible more than I have. You’ve been in church longer. You’ve heard more sermons, you’ve read more Bible studies. You’ve done all these things more than me. So, is there anything that you’re aware of, out of these options I’m considering, are any of them outside of the Providential Will of God or outside of the Moral Will of God? Because if there are, obviously, I can just cross those off my list right away. That quickly narrows down my choices, because I know that whatever God’s Personal Will for my life is in this situation, it has to fall somewhere between those two guardrails, those two boundaries. So help me. Is there anything I’m considering that’s outside of these guardrails as far as you know?
The second question to ask is this.
2) What do you think the wise thing is for me to do?
Don’t worry about right and wrong. Think about wise. What’s the wise thing for me to do? What if none of these issues and options are necessarily right or necessarily wrong? Maybe it’s not necessarily a moral issue, then, in your opinion, from your experience, what do you think is the wise thing for me to do?
The third question is this.
3) What would you do if you were me?
If it were you in this situation, based on your experience, if you were in my situation, with my resources, what would you do? Make sure you ask clear and strategic questions and you are going to be amazed at how many times God will use the body of Christ to give you the right directions. This is not a less spiritual approach than prayer. This is not instead of prayer. This is in addition to payer and this is often how God will answer your prayer. You might be really fortunate and get the audible voice of God in a bolt of lightning but that’s never happened to me yet. This is a scriptural approach to finding wisdom through godly people that God has placed around you. Now, as we wrap things up this morning, there are also three reasons you won’t do this, even though you know you should.
THREE REASONS YOU MIGHT CHOOSE TO NOT DO THIS
I don’t mean that offensively. Here’s what often happens. I don’t know who to ask so I’ll just guess and maybe I’ll get it right. Maybe. But maybe you’ll crash into a several cars along the way before you finally pick the right lane along the way. Here’s what Solomon says about that plan.
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered. ~ Proverbs 28:26
Don’t just trust your guessing ability. Don’t trust your luck. That’s foolish. That’s ignorant. Don’t do that. Go find somebody. I don’t know who to ask. Well then look a little harder. Here’s a second reason we won’t do this
We think, I should be able to figure this out on my own. I’m savvy. I’m smart. I can figure this out. It is a sign of weakness to have to stop and ask somebody for directions. I’ll figure this out. If I keep driving around long enough, I’ll see something that looks familiar. I’ll see a road sign. I’ve got a pretty good sense of direction. I’ll be able to figure this out. I’m pretty smart. I’m pretty savvy. Again, Solomon, the wisest man ever, said it’s vital to leverage the wisdom and the experience of other people before you charge ahead. Proverbs 13:10 says
With pride comes only contention, but wisdom is with the well-advised. ~ Proverbs 13:10
That’s important for us. There’s a third reason why we won’t do this.
We’re all guilty of this one, too. This one says, I already know what I’m going to hear but I don’t want to hear it. I know what the right answer is. I know what I should do, but I don’t want to. So I won’t ask anyone else about it and then I don’t have to hear it. When you find yourself avoiding counsel in a situation because you want to avoid hearing what you already know, you need to make that a giant red flag!
That flag should say HELLO SOMEBODY! Proverbs 12:15 says
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel. ~ Proverbs 12:15
So we need to listen to counsel. We need to look for people to help us along the way. So to recap, the Providential will of God, and the Moral Will of God, God’s has given us those boundaries. His Personal Will for your life has to be somewhere on the road between those two guardrails. One of the best ways to find it, the shortcut way to find it, if you don’t have a whole lot of time to figure something urgent out, is to find somebody who’s already further ahead of you on the journey. Find someone who went that away and follow them. Ask questions of those God has put in your path who can give you the right directions, better yet, say, that’s the same place I’m going, follow me.
~~~~~ LET’S PRAY ~~~~~