RESURRECTION is a Bible teaching series with Hugh Osgood that...
How do we make Godly decisions?
So, a quick summary of the three over-riding principles that should inform godly decision making. They are presented as questions, in good Hebraic style.
- Are you honouring God?
- Are you reflecting Jesus?
- Are you engaging with the Holy Spirit?
In order to answer these questions we have to go a bit deeper and consider how we are going to answer them. In my earlier book To Life! I arrived at a formula (how Greek!), based on the teachings of the Book of James (Jacob). First we looked at James 1:5-6:
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. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
Wisdom is the magic word. There’s not a lot of it about, even in the Christian World, where we still have so many conflicts and variations. The essential ingredient here is Faith in God, a faith that is totally grounded and not tinged with the doubt that has entered the Church since Thomas Aquinas brought the rationalism of Aristotle into his theology.
So He gives us wisdom. But there’s still danger, as we read in James 3:13-18:
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
This is the heart of our decision making, the warning lights in our head, alerting us to “bad wisdom”, the wisdom that is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. It’s the World, the Flesh and the Devil, rearing its ugly head. The devil will provide deception. The flesh will distract us with our own agendas, such as ambitions and earthly desires. The World traps us with the Greek thinking that has polluted the Church for the last 2,000 years.
So, again we return to our three guiding principles, but s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g them just a bit.
1. Does God get the Glory? We can only answer this if we have a true understanding of God’s character and desires. We have to make sure we have a true image of God and not one influenced by the devil’s deception, or coloured by our feelings or influenced by the paganism of platonic thinking (from the dualistic teachings of Plato, where the spiritual and the physical are separated). Are you honouring God?
2. Are you a good witness to the World? We can only answer this if we have a clear grip on what influences us. Is Jesus at the centre of our life, rather than personal ambition or agenda? Are we truly Hebraic in our lifestyle? Are we people of action or people of words? Are you reflecting Jesus?
3. Are you acting in accordance with Holy Scripture, correctly interpreted? We can only answer this if we read God’s Word without personal agenda and with proper tools, rather than the ‘spiritualising’ of the text or the ‘rationalising’ of Holy Scripture. Are you engaging with the Holy Spirit?
And now we can take this even further …
If we are truly honouring God then we must be engaging with the Holy Spirit, who is working within us to allow us to reflect Jesus. It all flows together and these activities are as connected as the Persons of the Trinity and even through our Mind (honouring God), Body (reflecting Jesus) and Spirit (engaging with the Holy Spirit).
What seemed to be developing here was a formula, something that seemed to smack – oh my goodness – of Greek thinking. Had I gone awry? Or was God teaching me something? Is a formula a bad thing? Is it reducing things of God to a … formula? Was I arriving at a clever slogan serving to depersonalise the precious relationships between man and the Living God? Was I no better than the prosperity preachers, so fond of their carnal formulae and perceived loop-holes to manipulate God? Or was I actually producing something useful and relevant to our admittedly Greek thought structures. Perhaps, in the absence of a mature Hebraic mindset, we still need a touch of Greek, to nudge us in the right direction?
Sounds good to me, so I’ll continue …
Honour God, Reflect Jesus, Engage with the Holy Spirit.
And we can now bring this concept into the real world. We can say that the primary goal or objective of any Christian is to reflect Jesus. We can also say that the means by which this is accomplished is engagement with the Holy Spirit. Finally we can say that a sign that this has happened is that our lives become God-centred, that we honour God above all.
This is the model that the very first Church followed, a time when the Church actually meant the Church, a collection of called-out ones, not a hierarchical structure of professional ecclesiastical wage-earners. This had totally changed once we reach medieval times.
For the average Christian living in harsh medieval times his primary goal was to escape persecution from the ruling religious rulers of the country. The means by which this was accomplished was loyalty to the said rulers and keeping your head down. The sign of success is whether or not they survived! What had gone wrong here?!
What a situation, what a travesty! The whole sorry tale is explained in How the Church lost the Truth and is a sharp reminder of the consequences of Greek thinking, allied to the flesh and the devil, all of which riddled the mainstream Church during that sad and sorry era.
But we are now in a new age. We ought to be able to explore new ways of doing things but, above all, to live our Christian lives honouring God, reflecting Jesus and engaging with the Holy Spirit. The next Section provides some of these possibilities …
This is an extract from the book, Livin’ the Life, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/livin-the-life-151-p.asp