Spiritual Decision Making: Others

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.


One Comment on “Spiritual Decision Making: Others”

  1. Lonnie T says:

    Thanks for these posts, brother. Perhaps the way God has worked in our lives can shed some light (or at least offer my perspective on this.) When my wife and I left EP to go to school, we thought we were saying goodbye to it forever. After all, I was off to college: the whole world was before us!

    After studying and letting God (that’s another example for another time) work in my choice of degree, I came to realize the potential for serving Him using the ability to speak Spanish. We grew very close to another couple with interests in Spanish missions as well, so we “knew” we were heading off somewhere far away to preach in Spanish. But, as we sought to please God and serve Him to our utmost, we did a very “human” thing: we made a list of pros and cons for our destinations. And (much to my chagrin) El Paso really seemed the most logical.

    What did logic have to do with the guidance of the Spirit, though? I believe it had a lot to do with it. In fact, although it was an exciting prospect to head off to a new state or even country, the comfort and familiarity of “home” were big pluses for this decision. There would be much less “down time” as we tried to acclimate.

    The next step for me was to get a job, and I felt like this was the real “fleece” test: If God really wants us down there, he’ll make a way. Well, I spent a month in Lubbock, and the only lead for a graphic design job in EP was at the Zoo, and I’d flown down to take the test and discovered half of it was about monkeys and elephants!

    Finally, with my family already living in EP for a month and me still searching, we TRULY stepped out on faith. I quit my job in Lubbock and went to EP with NO promise of a job or “whisper” from the Spirit. In less than a week I had the job; not at the zoo, but with the bus company.

    The bottom line for me is that it seems God wants us to make the BIG choices: seek to truly honor, glorify and serve Him; step out on faith to show the world it’s not us but Him; and live a life of love to His glory. His will is done in this, I believe. But this is not my post, so I should stop hijacking it. God bless, bro! And thanks for the thought-provoking posts!

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