Do you ever feel like Gumby? Stretched and pulled in several directions at once? Decisions to be made at every turn, and yet you find yourself:
- Questioning whether you’ve made the right choice.
- Indecisive for fear of choosing the wrong path or overwhelmed by the choices at hand.
- Discontent for fear there was an option you never explored that could have been THE one.
- Pressure to conform or perform according to someone else’s standards or expectations —or perhaps your own.
How do we begin to enjoy the moments of life rather than completing a task and jumping to the next thing on our list?
How do we keep from feeling stressed by the daily decisions we must make?
How do we choose the best from the everything else?
Paul offers direction and insight through one of his prayers in the book of Philippians.
Father, may their love grow more and more in wisdom and insight— so they will be able to examine and determine the best from everything else. —Philippians 1:9-10 The Voice
As I read this verse, one line continued to resonate with me —determine the best from everything else. What’s the secret to doing this?
If we look deeper at this prayer, we find Paul is praying this community would grow in knowledge and discernment.
Knowledge in this verse is a word that refers to more than just knowledge of facts. It refers to a precise and correct knowledge of who Christ is and consequently who we are in Him. It refers to knowledge which enables one to avoid errors.
Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands. —Psalm 119:66
Discernment in this verse is a word that refers to understanding and perceiving not just with the senses but with the intellect. It refers to knowledge that is experiential.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. —James 3:17
Often we base our decisions on how we’re “feeling” in a moment, but Paul’s prayer is for a deeper knowledge based on the words and wisdom of God found through a growing relationship with Christ.
Knowledge and discernment are important if we are to choose what is best.
We grow in knowledge and discernment as we spend time in the Word of God and in prayer. It’s in His Word that we discover His thoughts and ways.
Paul goes on to tell us the result of growing in knowledge and discernment is being filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Christ Jesus.
Righteousness is simply living a life that pleases God and aligns with His Word —aligning our lives with what He declares is good and right. When we do this, we will be “filled with the fruit”; we will experience true and lasting peace. Peace. Isn’t that what we are all looking for when making decisions?
Isaiah describes the effects and results of this peace in even further detail:
And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
My people will abide in a peaceful habitation
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. —Isaiah 32:17-18
Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.
Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. Keep to the script:whatever you learned and received and heard and saw in me—do it—and the God of peace will walk with you. —Philippians 4:6-10 The Voice
This peace is not just for our benefit, it affects those around us. Others take notice. And when asked our secret, we can point them to Jesus.
If you’re facing a decision today, turn first to the ONE who rules and reigns over all of life. Begin at the feet of Jesus in prayer and by opening the Word of God.
Give thanks for all you have and for what is to come.
Fill your minds with beauty and truth —found in the Word of God and in the presence of God.
The promise in this verse is that we will no longer be filled with anxiety, doubt, fear or discontent, but that we will be filled with the peace of God. A peace that is beyond our human comprehension.
These verses have proved themselves true in my life time and again. I find clarity and direction when I’m willing to stop and seek the Lord, to open His Word, read His Truth and ask for His Spirit to guide and guard my heart and mind. When I rest and trust in Him, He makes my path straight. He clears my mind and gives direction. He floods my heart and soul with peace. That feeling of peace even in an unresolved circumstance is what helps me to know I’m on the right path. I can trust He has me covered.
When I seek the Lord and His Word, I am able to determine and choose the best from among everything else. When I lean into His grace, I find the peace and direction I need to face my day.
Choose the best today.
Rejoicing in Him!
©2015, Susan Cady, susancady.com