Sunday, November 28, 2010

God told me _______ (Part 2)

I think when I finished Part 1 I said I'd discuss why we seem to jettison wisdom when it comes to decisions the Bible hasn't clearly spoken on. On the one hand, I said it always requires wisdom to apply the Bible to our unique circumstances. So even this bifurcation of "things the Bible has clearly spoken on" is purely pedagogical. If by things the Bible has clearly spoken on we mean things the Bible has told us how to handle without any steps of wisdom on our part, I'm inclined to say it actually hasn't spoken clearly on anything. I obviously don't think that. I'd rather say the Bible speaks clearly on everything, but that some things just require a few more steps of wisdom. The level of deicison making in these things therefore takes on a different quantity (we have to think more, pray more, etc.) but not a different quality (we leave wisdom and move to "hearing God's voice").

What we should do when coming to a deicison then is ask what God wants us to do as He's revealed His general will in scripture. If that answer is clear to us, we simply make that choice. Now here's where the rubber meets the road: if it's not clear. In other words, in this situation, we lack wisdom. What we to do when we lack wisdom? God tells us:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." - James 1:5-6

We are to pray, and ask God for wisdom in faith that He will give it. We don't ask for Him to speak new words to us, we ask Him for wisdom. If we ask in faith, God gives it. James further describes this wisdom:

"For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere." - James 3:16-17

The contrast here is between decisions influenced by our sinful motives, and the wisdom from above. So that should be part of the decision process and one of the things wisdom will reveal: sinful motives vs. wisdom from above. Again this is all logical wisdom grounded in God's revealed will in scripture. The wisdom from above is even described as "open to reason." That means it's testable and open to correction as opposed to "God told me ____." Who can argue with that? In Part 3 we'll look more at how our wisdom can be "open to reason."

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