Because the Spirit of Christ lives in Christians, we often have two voices telling us what to do — His Spirit and our flesh. The flesh is that “I want . . .” nature and the Holy Spirit is that “God wants . . .” nature. Since the flesh is a sin-producing thing for which Christ died, and since Jesus said His people know His voice, it should be easy to tell the difference between the two, but that is not always the case. Throw in the pressure of the world, our peers who are not listening to God, and the devil who is an expert liar, and confusion can easily reign.
A friend called with a problem of two voices. She thought God was telling her to go speak to a woman involved with a married man. She thought her flesh was telling her not to do it. We prayed. It turned out that it was God telling her to stay put and the flesh that really wanted to give this other woman a piece of her mind.
The two voices are not always about something so serious. Sometimes I don’t know what to wear or cook for supper. I have a friend that used to pray as she stood in front of her closet. I used to think she was silly, but now I’m not laughing because I know that God will direct every step I take if I just listen. Is it important whether I wear the green or the red? Maybe not, but sometimes God’s plans include what seems like trivia to me.
Paul went through this two voices thing when he made his travel plans. He wanted to do the will of God and wanted to make decisions that fit with God’s plans. He wrote this:
I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 1:16–22)
Here he gives clues to discerning God’s will. One major one is to consider how God makes decisions; they are based on His character. He always wants the best for His people and always does what will reveal His glory.
Paul also looked at Jesus to see what kind of decisions He would make. Christ is the plumb-line. He clarifies the way so I can know how to live.
The Holy Spirit is also involved. He lives in my heart and He can give me an anointing and a special kind of peace that is assurance as I make decisions.
My application for today is making decisions in this way. If there is a conflict between my “I wants” and the “will of God” I may not realize which is which. I need to consider the character of God, the life of Jesus Christ and the witness of the Holy Spirit to my heart.
Lord Jesus, this sometimes happens naturally and without much thought or struggle, but that can be dangerous if I happen to slip into complacency and stop paying attention to You. Make me very aware of the choices that I need to make and any voices of conflict that might interfere with making the godly choice. May all that I decide today honor You!
Today’s thankful list . . .
Peanut butter and banana bunwiches.
The postal clerk who smiles every time I come in.
Email and other forms of quick communication.
Getting tested on decision making and having this devotional help me pass the test!
Able to start quilting that pink ballerina quilt.
Finding some fun games to send to a fun great-grandson.