Ask Your Preacher
Recently, I've been doing what I feel is the right thing to do and come clean about an issue. Granted, my honesty has cost me my job, ended my relationship with my girlfriend, and caused me to move back home with my parents. I'm at peace with the situation because I feel like coming clean was the right thing to do, and I have faith, knowing that God will be glorified through this, and I know God will take care of me. I've reached a point where I've concluded that I've turned my entire life over to God for His will and purposes with no concern for my wants. With this being said, how do I know if I’m being led by God in an action or not? I find myself frequently overthinking and have a hard time determining if what I’m doing is God’s will for me or not. I’m willing to continue correspondence if needed, so feel free to ask me a question back for clarity. Thank you, and God bless.
Cleaning Up My Act
Dear Cleaning Up My Act,
It sounds like your heart is in the right place, and we commend you for making so many sacrifices to have a pure conscience. Turning to God and turning away from sin can sometimes cost us a lot – there is a reason Jesus referred to serving Him as “taking up your cross” (Matt 16:24). Good for you for taking the path less traveled.
So how can you know day to day what decisions are best? Paul told Timothy that he was approved by God when he rightly handled the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). Many people wholeheartedly believe that they are pleasing to God but will be condemned on the Day of Judgment (Matt 7:22-23). Feelings can be deceptive, but God’s Word is unchanging, unbiased, and able to rightly divide our lives and character (Heb 4:12). If you want to know whether or not you are pleasing God, compare your life to the Scriptures. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17).”
Secondly, when you are faced with decisions that aren’t right or wrong (i.e. where to move, what job to take, large financial decisions, etc.), God tells us to pray for wisdom (Jas 1:5). Before we make any major decision, we should pray that the Lord’s will be done before our own (Jas 4:15). This way, you can have confidence that while you are trying to make wise decisions, the Lord will bless you in even the non-biblical issues.
I need clarity... if you have a calling in your life and haven’t answered it, is it the same as making a vow and not keeping it? I’m confused; is God asking you to make a vow when you are called, and is there a penalty for not doing so?
Not Picking Up
Dear Not Picking Up,
The confusion you are having is probably because it sounds like you think that God directly speaks to people and “calls” them to do different things… that isn’t the case.
The way that God gives us instruction about life is through the Bible (Rom 10:17, Rom 1:16, 2 Pet 3:21). The days of prophecy and God speaking directly to people have passed away, and now, He speaks to us through the words of His Son (Heb 1:1-2). If God commands us to do something in the Bible, we must do it (Jhn 15:14). If we make a promise to do something, we must do it (Matt 5:37). But if you have a feeling that you should do something or you are trusting in what you perceive is God’s voice calling you to act a certain way – there is no obligation to act because it isn’t God.
Just because it says that husband is the ruler of me, does that mean he can boss me around and make all my decisions for me? Does it mean I can’t make any decisions on my own or speak what’s on my mind? Does it mean I’m not allowed to do anything on my own because my husband is in charge?
My husband says he's in charge of everything, but I don’t think that’s what the Bible means when it says he's my master in this marriage.
Dear Mad Mrs.,
It sounds like your husband isn’t doing a good job of following his marital responsibilities to love his wife – so the way you win him over is by following your marital responsibilities.
A wife is to respect her husband (Eph 5:24). She shows him respect even if he doesn’t deserve that respect. She chooses to let him lead the household regardless of whether he is good at it. As long as his decisions do not force her to disobey God (Acts 5:29), she follows him. She treats him as a man and honors him as head of the household even when he acts petty and small. Her respect is unconditional. It isn’t about not speaking your mind or having your own thoughts; it is about an attitude that shows him honor, which feeds his soul.
In like manner, husbands have the command to “love your wife” (Eph 5:28). A husband is to love his wife as his own body regardless of whether she is being respectful and kind. A husband’s love is not dependent upon a wife’s respect. Biblical love (best described in 1 Cor 13:4-8) is a choice, not a feeling. A loving husband chooses to do that which is in the best interest of his wife. He seeks to love his wife as Christ does the church (Eph 5:25). A husband’s love is sacrificial; it is a gift he chooses to give unconditionally.
Each spouse has their own job. You cannot force the other spouse to behave one way or another, but you can win them over by your behavior (1 Pet 3:1). Right now, from the sounds of it, your husband is treating you in a deeply unloving way; that is wrong. However, what you can do is treat him with respect, and the Lord will bless your efforts.
I have concerns with so many different opinions that people in the church have because, sometimes, those opinions aren't spoken very humbly. How do I deal with or respond to these situations in a respectful and godly way? This is especially true with a couple of younger mothers who are VERY passionate about how they want things handled. Thanks for your help!
No More Free Advice
Dear No More Free Advice,
It is important to remember that how others behave isn’t your concern; it is how you behave that counts. An extreme example of this is that you can’t control how your enemies behave, but you can still love them (Lk 6:27). In the church, where we aren’t enemies, people are bound to disagree, but we can find peace if we show love in all circumstances.
Paul told Timothy to treat older women with the same respect as you would your mother and treat younger women with the level of equality you would a sister (1 Tim 5:1-2). We don’t have to agree with everything that others say, but if we make sure that our words are always gracious, we can find peace… even in our disagreements (Col 4:6).
I recently saw on a Facebook post by a good friend in our congregation where she mentioned she doesn't feel the Bible is really "an instruction manual for life"; she didn't want to underestimate the importance of the Bible, but this is how she felt. I was quite concerned when I saw this post, but really, I guess I just want to see if I can get a clearer explanation as to what that may mean. Thank you for your time.
We can’t say what your friend meant by her statement, but we can tell you that the Bible definitely is an instruction manual for life. Here are some things for your friend to consider:
- Peter said that the Bible gives us everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3).
- The apostle Paul said that the Bible is God’s power for our salvation (Rom 1:16).
- Jesus said that if we want to enter into life, we should keep the commandments (Matt 19:17).
The Bible is designed by God to be our roadmap to salvation and life.