“Do you have a second? I’ve talked to several other friends, and a bunch of family members. Heck, I even talked to a stranger about it. No one was any help so far.
So, I wanted to get YOUR opinion.”
These were the opening words from a friend of mine recently. He was visibly bothered by something, and I wanted to help him. Although…I admit that I chuckled more than just a little at also realizing I was, apparently, his absolute LAST RESORT.
(Before I continue, I should probably note here that my friend has just opened his heart to Jesus, and is still very young in the Faith.)
“What do YOU think about your choices?” I asked. And without going into the whole conversation, over the next 10 minutes I watched and listened as the voices of Reason, Conscience, Fear and Pride influenced my friend’s thoughts and words.
He concluded with, “See? This is why I am SO confused!”
“How long has this been going on?” I asked. “For weeks,” came the reply.
“It’s happened to all of us,” I assured him.
It was then that I explained to him, just as I’d experienced and explained to myself many times, our human tendency to turn to others when faced with a tough decision or a choice to make. Inevitably, we get as many opinions as there are people whom we’ve asked. Each one gives different advice based on different life experiences, biases, prejudices…you name it. Some folks come from a place of truly wanting to help, while others will use the moment to manipulate you for their own selfish gain.
At the end, with the sound of their voices still ringing in our ears, we usually find ourselves no closer to the desired solution, and feel as though we are left to contemplate our choice on our own. We approach it from a HUMAN mindset – a mindset tainted by skewed reasoning, a situational conscience, fear, and pride.
I explained all this to him, and then I asked:
“What has the voice of The Lord spoken to you?”
It’s challenging, in our daily walk, to discern the voice of The Lord from the other voices (Reason, Conscience, Fear, Pride) that seek to influence us. The choices we make should not focus on the temporal, but rather on the ETERNAL.
I’ve found there are 6 steps to help us, as Christians, to discern God’s voice. I personally know of no exceptions to these steps. Of course, there may be more that you could add, but I don’t know of any that could be safely removed.
1. Study to know God’s Word.
“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, AMP)
2. Spend time in prayer. (Talk WITH, as well as TO, The Lord)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6 – 7, NIV)
3. Consult “Seasoned” Saints. (Those more mature in their Faith)
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17, NIV)
4. Maintain a Godly conscience and listen to it.
“Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.” (I Timothy 1:18-19, NIV)
5. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake.
They’re GOING to happen! When they do, get back into The Word, and always remember to: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV)
I don’t know exactly what my friend will do with his decision, yet. All I can do now is pray he opens his heart to listen to Him…just as I have to remind myself to do, every day.
Really good post, Pgh!!
I need to do more of that “listening” thing, too…
And thanks for filling-in for GBL during a performance week. Much appreciated! 😀
While it’s ALWAYS an honor and a pleasure to be a “Guest Noggin”, it’s even more so when sharing The Word! Appreciation and much love to you and GBL….
Fantastic post… all Glory, Praise and Honor to The ONE who speaks!! (what a seriously dark and silent world we would inhabit if not for Him!) AMEN 😀
That’s why evil hides in darkness and fears the light of The Truth, Teach. Evil dwells in the voices of reason, fear, and pride. God’s voice is always consistent with His Word. Check out Proverbs 16:3.
I am deeply grateful for your post today, PGH…not just because I had not one ounce of time or energy to spare, but because your counsel is of eternal value! “Let those with ears, hear!”
Glad to assist, GBL! It’s nice to be able to share with you and all of our readers, as you all have shared so much with me…
Great advice! Indeed, “two heads are better than one,” and so it is very fitting to seek the counsel of our brothers and sisters, let alone our elders in the Body of Christ.
Thanks , CD….
Your comment reminded me of Deuteronomy 32:30. “How can one chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight….”
It’s such a blessing to share what The Lord has brought to my heart.
An amazing post! Could have used it 17 years ago!
But amen! God WILL talk to you! When I needed to hear him, I persisted and actually heard his words!
Thank you, Pgh. Beautiful!
Well, sister, put me down in the “should have listened YEARS ago” column, too! The blessed thing about our Heavenly Father is that He is always there waiting for us, no matter what we’ve done”