Countless times I have found my self at the centre of cynicism and ridicule after publicly making a crucial Spirit- led decision that ended in a temporal disaster. Naturally, when such thing happens we tend to ask the soul searching questions such as, “was it truly God, the devil or just my human desires that influenced my decision? ” we often do this assuming that God’s choice must always produce a desired outcome. But recently, thanks to the Holy Spirit, I came to learn the difference between a humanly good decision and a God decision.
A good decision is a preferred option that results into an intended outcome. Generally if a person makes a decision that brings a good result the person is deemed to have made a good decision and vice versa. Contrary to a humanly good decision that’s judged on the outcome, a Godly decision is obedience based. A Godly decision is a preferred option that lines up with God’s will. God may sometimes require us to make some choices that actually lead into an unwelcome immediate outcome. In other words not every Godly choice will seem to be good to us.
It is true that disastrous consequences can be a direct result of missing God’s will. Nonetheless, it is also true that even sin can bring temporal success. As the Bible says, there is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Also, at times, a decision that yields immediate undesirable outcome may bring desirable results in the long run. The point I’m making is that from the outset it is difficult to assess the quality of a decision purely on the merit of its perceived immediate outcome. We must make important choices depended on what God says, not worrying much about possible immediate temporal consequences. Since God is always good and wise every one of His decisions must have an intrinsic eternal good.
Walking with God demands subtle discipline – making decisions in line with His will. “The important lesson for us”, says Hillman, “is to understand that doing the will of God does not always have a positive outcome. If it did, we would make decisions based only on the perceived outcome. This is not a biblical way of making decisions.” This is precisely what Apostle Paul and Jesus Christ did.
Agabus, the prophet, prophesied that Paul was to be bound and persecuted in Jerusalem. In light of this divine information friends pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. However, Paul disagreed and said, ‘Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus'” (Acts 21:4-14).
There are times when God provides information of pending catastrophe to help us change the course of our actions or reverse our decisions. Nevertheless, sometimes, like in this Pauline situation, God provides information to prepare us for what lies ahead. Acting in good faith Paul’s friends tried to dissuade him from risking his life; but Paul went ahead with his mission that he believed was from God. In doing so, Paul suffered great persecution and was indeed executed in line with God’s word.
One day Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was then necessary for him to get to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up. But Peter thought – like most of us – that God’s mission must not lead to pain and suffering. Peter’s reaction was therefore natural. He took Jesus in hand, protesting, “Impossible, Master! That can never be!” But Jesus didn’t swerve. “Peter, get the hell off my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works,” Jesus answered (Matt. 16:21-23). Few days later, Jesus endured persecution according to God’s plan.
The attitude that suggests every Godly way must lead to Adversity Free Zone is, in Christ’s words, Satanic. It must be resisted with the strongest means possible. As followers of Christ, we must be will oriented, not result conscious. Our duty is to act in accordance with His instructions and accept the fact that God reserves all the rights to the results of our obedience. We must be willing to make God decisions irrespective of the outcome knowing that every God decision will lead to a God result any way!