Recently, a brother approached me and mentioned to me that there was a possibility of him being offered a job in another town, which he was considering accepting. He asked me what I thought he should do. This raised for me several issues.
The main issue revolves around the will of God for a believer and, linked to that, trust in God.
How do we approach this issue of choices, and what can aid us? Do we lay out a “fleece” as Gideon did (Judges 6:36-40)? I don’t think so. Why not?
A problem with following Gideon’s example of fleece-laying is that it does not take into account that our situation and his are really not comparable. As Christians, we have two powerful tools that Gideon lacked.
First, we have the complete Word of God, which we know is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God has assured us that His Word is all we need to be “thoroughly equipped” for anything and everything life throws at us. We do not need experiential proof (signs, voices, miracles) to verify what He has already told us in His Word.
But what about those decisions that are not specifically addressed in the Bible? This is where our second advantage over Gideon comes into play: Every Christian has the Holy Spirit, who is God Himself, residing in his heart to guide, direct, and encourage him.
Do we just do as we “feel”? Do we just go with the flow of circumstances? Do we see how much better off financially we may be with the new job? I think there are a number of things we must do in our approach to these decisions.
The first and most obvious is that we pray. When we pray we ask God for wisdom in our decision (James 1:5). We pray that we may glorify Him primarily in our decision. We ask Him to show us if this will be for His glory and for our good.
We also ask others to pray for us as we seek His will.
Now you may say, “That’s well and good, but how do I hear His answer? He is not going to speak to me in a vision.” So how do we know His answer?
I do believe that the biblical answer would be: How is this move going to affect me spiritually? How is it going to impact my walk with God? How is it going to affect my family in these ways (if you are blessed to be married)? How will it affect my children’s growth?
Some points to take into consideration as we look at this matter (and this is where we become practical).
You are a member of a community of faith and it is in that context that you are fed and grow spiritually. It is in that context that you minister to the body (which you should be doing), and are ministered to. It is in that context that you are held accountable for your walk with God and your growth in faith. It is in that context that your family is ministered to and fellowship with likeminded believers. I think you can see where I am going with this.
In that light, of primary importance is this question: Is there a Bible believing, God glorifying body of believers that is nearby where you intend to move? Not just any building that says “church,” but one that holds to the doctrines of faith as laid out in the Holy Scriptures? If there isn’t, then I do not believe it would be God’s will for you to move. Does that church have to dot it’s I’s and cross it’s T’s as we do in BBC? No. But it has to be one that holds firm to the authority of Scripture and the doctrines of faith.
What sort of body life is there in that church or is there none? Is there a bond of fellowship that really exists amongst the believers? Is there involvement with one another?
There might be one that is not very near and that requires you to drive for quite a distance. You know how disciplined you are. If you have not made the bride your priority when you live nearby, what is likely to happen when you don’t live close? Don’t make the mistake of saying, “I will worship in my house on my own.”
You might say, “But this is too good an offer to pass up. I can improve my giving in church; I can improve my standard of living in various ways.” I ask, are you trusting in God to provide as you seek to grow in Him? Are you saying, “Father I cannot move as I don’t find a place of worship there, but I am staying and trusting you?”
But, you may say to me, “God opened this door for me; if I don’t obey Him I would be dishonouring Him.” Did God open this door for you or was it the desires of your heart?
We ought be content to know God’s will for us in every situation every day: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). If these things characterise our lives, the decisions we make will be in accordance with God’s will, and He will bless us immeasurably with His peace and assurance (and putting out fleeces or asking for signs will never even enter our minds).
If you are facing this sort of a decision in your life, I pray that this would help you as you seek His will in your life.