What do you do when a decision is being required of you and there is no clear guidance from the Scriptures? All of us face situations – usually daily ones – that don’t require writing in the sky from God. Yet, as His children, all of us want our pathway to be honorable unto the Lord. Many times we are graced to have clear counsel from the Bible which comes in the form of promise, prohibition or principle. While promises and prohibitions are very clear, there are varying levels of clarity when it comes to biblical principles and how we might apply them to our lives. When you don’t have a promise or a prohibition, and must apply a principle, it helps to have in your arsenal a God-sensitive conscience.
God speaks to us. Purposefully, proactively and powerfully God communicates His desire to His children. Please believe this, because it is equally true that other voices compete for our confidence and willingness to be led.
I recently received a very kind, albeit very long, email from a dear lady who is convinced that I only have a head knowledge of Christ which will come up short of salvation in the end. She detailed to me why she believes this and encouraged me to explore more in depth the love of God and what that really means. Without ever crossing the line of kindness into abrasiveness, she let me know what was wrong with my ministry unto the Lord, my style of preaching and what was lacking in the Meadow flock after her one visit with us. Several years ago I would have one of the following negative impulse responses to her input:
- A scathing email rebuttal written in dynamic word-thrusts with the hopes of silencing her for good.
- Two scathing email rebuttals written in doubly-dynamic word thrusts with twice the hope of 200% more likelihood of silencing her for good.
- Insecure fear that she was correct in her assessment and therefore I would need to enter into a prolonged time of self-loathing, guilt, fear and morbid introspection only to prove to myself that she was absolutely correct in her critique of the core of my being. In short I would have agreed with her because, back then, I assumed I was bad and just waiting to be exposed as such.
God, in His precise grace given lavishly at the points of our heightened weakness, has taken great care to minister to me over the years in this very area. Through His word implanted in my heart, through His people who instruct me and exemplify to me His ways, and through His recognizable voice in my conscience, I am constantly receiving counsel. He has sensitized my conscience and I am realizing lately how precious a gift this is.
What do you hear? To whom do you listen about the most important things? Learning to discern truth from error is not always as simple as declaring what is black or what is white. Sometimes we have to comprehend the fluctuating shades of gray that seek to color or thoughts. Someone tells you that you are great and gifted – can you receive this encouragement properly? A voice from your childhood declares that you are ugly – will you allow this accusing insult to permeate you as does the defenseless child? Satan reminds you of your horrible sins…do you allow your God-sensitized conscious to speak more powerfully of His grace to you? Friends, the inner voice speaks either truth or lies to you every day. The one you listen to the most greatly impacts the quality of your life and the degree of the glory for God which proceeds from your life. This is an important issue that I hope you will ponder. Slow down. Listen. Discern what type of voice is training you about God, life and your own self. You do not have to listen to everybody as they seek to define you. Your identity is in Jesus Christ and He will unfold it accurately each day in the context of His grace to you.
In case you are curious about how I responded to the woman who believed she had me summed-up, I promised her that I would read her email again multiple times, and I will. She went to a great effort to write it for me and I assume her motivation was as pure as she said. I don’t know her at all outside of a quick conversation in the lobby of the church, so I can only assume she believes she can help me. Maybe she can. The one thing I know is that whether what she wrote is true or not, it cannot be allowed to become louder than my God-sensitized conscience. God alone owns that part of me. It cost Him much to procure it. We cannot hazard allowing another voice to replace it.
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