No doubt we are all familiar with the Disney movie of yesteryear: Pinocchio. As I child, I remember watching the scene where Jiminy Cricket begins to twirl his umbrella, dance and sing the catchy tune where we are told to “always let your conscience be your guide.” While Pinocchio is a fun and whimsical movie about telling the truth, in this brief article, we step back and consider “should our conscience really be our guide?” For the follower of Christ, do we assertively follow our conscience? I want to address a few of these thoughts over the next few weeks.
It is one of the most difficult paradoxes of our human existence. We like consistency in order to know and set our expectations. When expectations are unsettled, we struggle. Yet, our God, who never changes, delights in change!
Change has taken place throughout our physical universe and existence since the beginning of creation. When we become Christians, we embark on a never-ending quest of being changed! I say it again, our God, who never changes, delights in change. (Ecc. 3:1-8)
What can change do in our lives?
It grants us the opportunity to rely upon God—when what we have expectation or confidence in is shaken, it creates a need. Need becomes a conduit for us to seek God's grace and see Him work through our lives (whether the change is desirable or not by our standards).
It helps us appreciate who God places in our lives—when there is change in our lives it helps reveal who God has placed around us to encourage us or be encouraged about. Sometimes change adds people into our lives and sometimes it displaces them- both can be sources of thanksgiving. Both allow us to grow in a new way with both God and man.
It allows us to grow in contentment—fighting or bemoaning it robs us of contentment, growth, and enjoyment. Because we are "creatures of habit", change seems like the enemy. We are prone to fight against it to keep it from happening (unsuccessfully I might add) or we are tempted to complain about it (as equally unhelpful as fighting it). Paul spoke about the ability, due to the strength of Christ, to endure any changes that took place during his Christian life and ministry.
I could go on, but I think we catch the sense. So, what change is taking place right now in your life and how are you viewing it? If God unsettles some aspect of your life (relationship, job, church-life, etc.), what will your response be?
Our God, who never changes, delights in change.
A man was running down a street, he slipped on a banana peel and landing on a random map of India. He proceeded to get up, looked toward heaven, and emphatically declared “God, thank you for calling me to be a missionary!” A few weeks ago we began to uncover one of the great Christian mysteries: God’s Will. Often, we are able to trace God’s direction in bringing us to where we are. But while we are free to ask God for wisdom, He does not burden us with the task of figuring His will of direction for our lives ahead of time. Ultimately, God does have a specific plan for our lives, but it is not one that He expects us to figure out before we make a decision. His will is rendered through his revealed Word. How are we to daily walk in God’s Word?
The Way of Wisdom: Indwelling Spirit
Proverbs 2:1-6 declares that wisdom is understanding the fear of the Lord and finding the knowledge of God. This begins with the indwelling Spirit at salvation but continues by the application of living the Spirit-filled life. In Proverbs, God’s wisdom is always right and moral. Foolishness, on the other hand, is turning from God and listening only to yourself (flesh). Biblical wisdom is a dependency on the Spirit of God to live a disciplined and prudent life in the fear of the Lord. We must commit to the sanctifying work that God desires to do in and through us.
The Way of Wisdom: The Word
God doesn’t want us to merely give external obedience to His commands. He wants us to know Him so intimately that His thoughts become our thoughts, His ways our ways, His affections our affections.
As one author put it: “God wants us to drink so deeply of the Scriptures that our heads and hearts are transformed so that we love what He loves and hate what He hates.” By understanding the scriptures, Christians can commit to making decisions based upon their biblical value system.
The Way of Wisdom: Counsel
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; And a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: (Pr 1:5)
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: But he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. (Pr 12:15)
Do you have a major decision coming up? Career, financial, dating, or marriage? Are you thinking about moving? The wise man attains unto wise counsels. The way of wisdom is found in consistently reaching out to other individuals for counsel and is deliberate to get opposing views to balance his decision. The individual who puts himself in an echo chamber of “yes men” is doomed for failure. (1 Kings 12:8)
So many believers look for a heavenly sign when considering the will of God. However, with scriptural support, following Christ can be summed up as you strive to be holy like Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God!