Theme of the Week: The Voice of Jesus
Bible Verse: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
Scripture Reading: James 1:1-27
We live with two simultaneous realities: first, the fact that we have the capacity to choose, and second, the fact that we long to choose well. A person is a volitional being; we each have the power to choose, to alter the course of our own life and the lives of others. Our decisions make a difference.
The good news is that just as we can speak of an inner witness that assures us that we are loved, that convicts us of sin and that illumines our minds with truth, so we can also speak of an inner witness that guides us in times of choice. We choose, but in our choosing we are not alone. We have with us the presence of the Holy Spirit, who guides us in our decision making.
The glory of our human identity is that God has brought into being persons, and a person by definition is one who is capable of choosing. And so we have throughout Scripture a reminder of this reality and its implications. “Choose this day whom you will serve” (Josh 24:15) is but one such example. It presupposes that our choices make a difference. We have the capacity to shape our future and that of others for good or ill. God takes our decisions seriously, honoring our capacity to choose.
We long to choose well, to accept that indeed this is our life and our responsibility. We long to know when to move forward and when to back off, when to sit still even though we would rather act and when to act when our inclination might be to wait.
Since decision making is so much a part of the fabric of life, we need to see that our greatest need is not so much that we would learn guidelines to make the big decisions of life as that we would cultivate a context – a pattern of life, work and relationships – that is conducive to good decision making. Rather, we need to foster an orientation of life that enables us to choose well. We do not want merely to discern in times of choice; we seek to become discerning women and men.
God is fully present to us in our times of decision, but we will learn to appropriate this reality and respond to the inner witness in times of choice only if we learn, in turn, to be present to God. And this requires that we be intentional, not impulsive. Good decision making is the fruit of a choice that is well considered.
God is there, and his providential care is something upon which we can depend. If there is silence from heaven, we can be confident that it is only for a season. And in time, if we have ears to hear, God will speak and his call on our lives will become clear.
Gordon T. Smith in The Voice of Jesus. Copyright ©2003 by Gordon T. Smith. Used by permission of Intervarsity Press.
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