Spiritual Decision Making: OthersPosted: April 27, 2011
This is part four of a series of blogs on spiritual decision making. The basic premise is that God is not whispering in anybody’s ear today, so we need to find criteria to inform us as we make wise, godly, and spiritual decisions. If you’re new to the discussion, you may want to read part 1, 2, and 3 first.
I left off with an observation that even though it seems there is neutrality among options in some decisions, Paul made a choice in Phil 1 that, from his perspective, was not the best. He said that it would be “far better” to be with Christ (this is a very strong phrase in the original language) – yet something prompted him to ignore this option and remain in the body. The next verse tells us why:
But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. –Philippians 1:24 NLT
It’s hard to fathom this kind of maturity. We live in a world where it is all about “me”; first, last, and always. Even among believers this mentality isn’t easily avoided. Yet the very opposite example is what we see repeated over and over in Scripture. Paul put the welfare of the Philippian church before his own desires. Jesus went to a cross and died for the eternal benefit of all mankind. The early Christians gave sacrificially of their means to care for their brothers. Esther approached the king to save her race, even though she knew the cost could be her life. And so on.
So, a major factor in decisions ought to be the welfare and benefit of others. This is the example of our Lord and the early church. We are not called to lives that are of benefit only to ourselves. As Paul went on to say to the same church: “Don’t look out for only your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” – this is the Biblical ideal.
But even this doesn’t go far enough, because I have no interest in throwing myself under a bus just so that someone else can have a measure of marginal comfort. There has to be a higher purpose than that. And I’ll talk about it next time.