Dangerous Decision-Making

Posted on September 30, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

Life is filled with decisions. Everyday we are processing information and sub- conscientiously deciding how to respond. Many people live in the present, spontaneously reacting to whatever is happening around them. Others tend to see the present as always leading to the future, aware that decisions in the present are a part of planning for what comes next.

We should understand that God is concerned for every aspect of our life, no matter how trivial. In fact, it is rebellion to leave Him out of our decision-making and to presume to make independent choices. If this is true personally, it is even more critical in positions of leadership.

This warning is explicit in Isaiah 30:1-2–”Woe to the rebellious children, declares the Lord, who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit…who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me.”

I became constantly aware of this admonishment once I moved into field leadership on the mission field. As coordinator of our strategy in India and South Asia I was frequently seeking partnerships with local churches and indigenous mission organizations. We had few missionary personnel and our effectiveness could be enhanced by linking with others. Many mistakes were made as we responded to the charismatic appeal of those who portrayed a passion for evangelism and church planting. We discovered the walk often did not match the talk. We found ourselves locked into commitments with unsavory characters or with those who were doctrinally incompatible.

It is not uncommon to make mistakes; that is a part of being fallible humans. But we must never presume to do the Lordʼs work on our own. Too many mission strategies and church programs are driven by business models and marketing approaches of the world. It is evident God is not a part of what we do. We tend to get a committee together, discuss the challenge, come to a consensus and implement a plan with a brief, perfunctory prayer as we begin asking God to lead. To the contrary, we ought to be on our faces before the Lord, prevailing in prayer until Godʼs revealed will becomes apparent.

There is no evidence Godʼs Spirit is leading in partnerships and alliances that are intended to bring higher public profile to individuals or ride the coattails of prominent personalities. The Holy Spirit always creates a unity of purpose that glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the same as that which promotes our church, our program or organization.

Just as Israel presumed to go down to Egypt and seek their security with a pagan foreign power, we too often become aligned with the world in trying to make an appeal to the unchurched and gain prominence in the community. It may seem to be the way to go, but if God is not a part of it the result will be disastrous. We may be too wise and well-trained for our own good. Understanding of sound business practices are not wrong; we need to work together in alliances and partnerships as Godʼs people. But donʼt leave God out of the planning and decision-making.

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