Discussion in 'Foundation of Faith' started by Hermit, Nov 1, 2017.
What do you do, to be sensitive enough, to know you are doing the right thing?
I'd like to ask why you think about this so much.
Do you think it's really difficult to know what God wants?
I ask because I find that I don't concentrate on this too much ...
Whenever I'm in doubt, the Spirit brings up this scripture.
Doing the right thing can be easy with the more obvious alternatives between right and wrong. That is not a problem for most people, and they get through life, on those obvious issues, easily enough. However, there are many more decisions to be made where the alternatives are either too subtle, or enmeshed, that it is more difficult to make. In other words, we need to be more sensitive to make that discernment.
God often works in mysterious ways, and it would not be so mysterious if it was not difficult to know what God wants. Some things are hidden from us because we need to learn other things first, like when we re read the bible we pick up on things we have not seen before. Between readings we learnt new ways to discern scripture. Sometimes God seems mysterious because we simply were not sensitive enough to discern God's will for us. As a result we get things wrong. I know lessons are learnt from doing wrong things, but many wrongs, in retrospect, was from not discerning our own truth about the matter. And our truth is always God's will for us. God wants us to know what we are doing, wants us to realize that we are totally responsible for all our own thoughts and actions.
For example: Many years ago I had difficulty dealing with fellow workers who seemed to irritate me. I had no patience or tolerance for them. Every morning before work I asked God for patience. Everyday I got irritated by others. After about 4 months of my daily prayer I changed my prayer to: "God, I've been praying for patience for four months now, and nothing seems to have changed, so what's going on?" My instant, unmistakable response was: "How else are you going to learn!?" The response shocked me, but instantly realized that you just don't get patience from God, it is a thing that requires practice. I requested to cancel my prayers for patience since now I know I have to practice patience. I turned up at work that morning, and every other day after that, everybody seemed to be in harmony. What changed was my attitude. My world view suddenly changed with one with patience, tolerance and acceptance, more so than ever before.
So, many times we may know what God's will is for us, such as being more patient, but not sensitive enough to know God's will for us is to practice being patient. Sometimes God wants us to know where we are coming from more than where we are going. There are countless examples of such 'not so easily discerned' in books on ethics. Some classic ethical examples of so-called no right thing to do has been argued by scholars for centuries. However, there are ways around these issues by following God's will like Jesus has done and shown us. But not everybody is sensitive enough to avoid all wrongs. But we could learn how to become more sensitive. That is what I am hoping this thread will do, to help others to get some insight on how to do this by other people's experiences in how to do this.
How do you do that?
You do your best.
Fasting is one obvious answer. My wife and I fast every Monday (Sunday afternoon to Tuesday morning). But fasting (combined with prayer) is effective when we are faced with a difficult decision.
I personally know when I'm not doing what the Spirit asks of me. If I'm being not self-controlled.......I know. That one is a hard one for me and I have to go against my nature and trust the Spirit and remain in control. He is ready to forgive, if I'm ready to really change and trust him. He's forgiven me many times for not trusting him, but I ALWAYS repent.......because I love him and want better.
So doing the right thing......is to trust the Spirit, even though it goes against our nature.
Is that you BG?
Obviously fasting is not for decision-making needed within the moment or short time.
So, what is it about fasting that would help you to become more sensitive to discerning the right thing, or truth?
Runner, what do you do if you need to make a decision sooner?
I know what you mean. It's a bit of a paradox in a way. You want to be in control, yet to trust the Spirit is to let go of control.
I find that much of our old nature is seeking the easier softer options. It seems doing wrong is often easier than doing right.
When we start changing from our old nature to our new one, we find that we basically need to do the opposite to what we have been doing. Going against the grain seems to be the road least traveled, yet it is the way the truth and the (new) life.
Later on, the new nature becomes easier as we know, more so than before, how to do the right thing more often.
The LORD knows we are a strange lot, we seek the easier options but without knowing it we actually make life difficult for ourselves. Thank you God of Love and Patience.
I believe I brought this up on the other thread.
Regarding some decisions being very easy, I mean.
When I first became a believer, I didn't know anything except I knew Jesus as a real person.
As I began to lean biblical concepts, I was very dismayed with the idea of knowing God's will.
How to do that? How could I possibly know the nuances you speak of above?
It was explained to me in different ways, but I could not really grasp it. So this is what I did:
I stopped worrying about it!
In everything I did the best I could to do what I thought God would want me to do.
In those matters that were too refined, I did my best, knowing that's all I could humanly do.
I don't believe it's possible to know what God wants in every single possible situation.
I like Proverbs 3:5-6
He can DIRECT our path, but unless we telephone Him every evening, we cannot know positively what to do in each situation that is difficult to discern.
I think we could make ourselves a little crazy over this.
It's like with a husband/wife. I don't need to read a book about my husband to know him, and to know how he'd want me to act in any given situation. I may or may not heed his wishes, but I do know what they are. If I don't, then I just have to go by his character and do the best I can.
But see, you didn't need 4 months of prayer to learn this.
God is not going to zap us with what we need or ask. Sometimes I think we put too much on Jesus --- it's up to US to live as HE would want. So the patience has to come from us and, instinctively, you KNEW that you had to acquire patience to work with these persons.
And only you could become patient. I must say that it's with the help of the Holy Spirit because a natural man would just keep on being impatient with those folk.
No right thing to do. The train problem. Sometimes there is no right thing to do.
Most would rather let the train go and kill 100 people rather than to pull a lever and move it to the other track and only kill 10 people. It's the action that most cannot do. Plus, we never really know what we would do till we're faced with the situation.
Personally, for me, I put myself in the other person's place.
I think about how God would want me to not only act but how to BE.
I know I have a burden to do more than others, but Jesus promised HIS burden would be light.
Sometimes I get upset. Sometimes I feel over-burdened.
So? God will forgive me. I don't think Jesus really expects us to be perfect as He said in Mathew 5:48. He meant that we are to be similar to God Father who created us in His image, and that perfection is a goal - one we most probably will not reach in this world.
I also look forward to posts by others.
I don't know if there can be a black and white method...
I'm not completely clear as to what this thread is even about. The discussion about finding co-workers irritating and then adopting a new perspective is not really what I think of as facing a "decision." It strikes me more as simply recognizing a self-destructive fault and adopting the more beneficial attitude of compassion (perhaps with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, although compassion is central to Buddhism without any notion of the Holy Spirit). What I thought you were talking about was an actual decision, where one has to make a choice and act upon it, and is hoping to make the choice that is consistent with God's will.
Fasting and prayer are the only two ways I know for sensitizing oneself to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Certainly a day of fasting and prayer is a fairly short-term solution.
I am both supremely confident in my own decision-making abilities and supremely confident (on the basis of numerous extraordinary experiences) that I am watched over and protected by God. So I really do minimal agonizing over any decision.
On your other thread on this same topic, I mentioned that I was facing a very large life decision affecting both myself and other people. I had made my decision, but yesterday was Decision Day for me to communicate my decision to the world. About an hour before I was going to do so, I got a call absolutely out of the blue: Someone called with information that would have made any other decision essentially impossible for me! This both confirmed the correctness of my decision and gave me an inner peace about it. It was the classic sort of "sign" that people pray for.
This sort of startling thing has happened SO many times, in SO many extraordinary circumstances, that I simply have no doubt that I am watched over and protected. I don't think that I'm insulated against making decisions that have adverse short-term consequences, but I do know that I am protected to an extraordinary degree against disastrous consequences. If I make what seems in the short-term to have been a poor decision, I am confident that in the long term it will prove to have been a "correct" decision in the sense of serving the purpose God intended for my life. This has always been the case.
Someone who has not walked in my shoes would probably say I am rationalizing, seeing guidance and protection where they did not really exist. But that's because they have not walked in my shoes. The guidance and protection I'm talking have been so extraordinary, obvious, complex and specific that more than one non-Christian friend has said "What are you, a cat or something? How do you ALWAYS land on your feet?"
In the example of the train about to plow into a crowd of 100, which you could divert to kill "only" ten, it's impossible to say what the "correct" decision might be. Perhaps the next Hitler was in that crowd of 100 and your diversion allowed him to rise to power. Or perhaps if you had not diverted the train, it would have stopped short of killing anyone for some reason not obvious to you. In that situation, I would simply trust in my own abilities and my confidence that whatever I did was in accordance with God's will. I was in a position to make the decision I did because God wanted me to make the decision I did.
In a situation with irritating co-workers, perhaps the correct decision is to practice more patience and compassion. Perhaps the correct decision is to get away from them. Perhaps it is to confront them. I have been in all three types of environments.
I more or less understand where you're coming from when you phrase every aspect of life in terms of Truth, but in some discussions I find it more confusing than helpful. Making decisions and dealing with the consequences is called Life. There is no way to float above Life in some little imaginary bubble called Truth.
As mentioned already by the responses so far, (and I thank you all for that ), it is about having faith.
Faith in God is paramount for following God's will.
Faith is not belief without proof (right or wrong) but trust without reservation (unconditional).
To be unconditional is to accept everything as it is.
In this way, the truth in all things will be revealed, because one becomes open to it, and the truth will set you free. Meaning, we praise the LORD for our liberation (truth) in all things.
Psalm 46:10 He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
The right thing to do, to do the right thing, is to do nothing (for 'self').
Let go - let God.
Remain soft and gentle in all matters (no fear, no tension).
Become vacant of self so the Spirit of Truth can be heard, felt, acknowledge, intuited.
This is my understanding of how to become sensitive enough.
Daily prayer and meditation can teach a person to 'pause' at any moment.
In that pause of vacancy, one is left with the Spirit of Truth.
This may be out in left field, but when I think of the word sensitive I think of the concern of another's and their feelings as doing the right thing by them for my concern for them. Always pray first for Gods will to be done.
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