Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Monday, January 8, 2018

Does God Lead People Differently?

Does God actually lead one person one way and another to a different task? Does He have varying methods? Does He use people individually, taking into consideration their personalities, innate natures, and talents? Or does God have one method that He uses all the time? Is there no changing from His perfect plan?

Yes, and yes. 

Let me explain.

God is God. He never changes who He is.
  • For I am the LORD, I change not (Malachi 3:6a).
  • Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
  • Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17).

God always has the same attributes: love, holiness, mercy, knowing all, being everywhere at once, having all power, etc. He is always God. He never changes His own essence.

But, God can change His mind—in response to prayer. For example, when God was planning to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of sin, Abraham pleaded with God. He asked God to spare the cities if there were at least fifty righteous people there. Abraham kept adjusting his figures in his prayers until he got down to ten righteous people. God said He would spare the cities if He found only ten. God changed His mind about Sodom and Gomorrah—as a direct result of Abraham’s intercession—a total of six times (Genesis 18:20-33). Sadly, there were not even ten righteous people in the cities, and only Lot and his two daughters escaped fiery judgment.

The Bible directs people to pray for the sick and to ask forgiveness from sin. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:14-16).

We can request anything according to God’s will in prayer. Jesus said, And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive (Matthew 21:22).

We can also help God’s servants by praying for them. The Apostle Paul wrote, Ye also helping together by prayer for us (1 Corinthians 1:11a).

There are many other examples of God changing His mind as a result of prayer. Of course, everything He does is according to His perfect will.

Does He use people in different ways? Yes. We only need to look at the Bible for examples. Some believers were nomads (Abraham and Moses), some suffered horribly but came out on top (Joseph, Esther, Job, David, Asaph, Jeremiah, Paul, John). Some were used as preachers and teachers (Peter, Paul, Apollos, Timothy), and some were encouragers (Barnabas, Dorcas, Lydia, Aquila and Priscilla). Many served as “technical support” for the preachers and teachers (Phoebe, Epaphroditus, Tychicus, Timothy). There were scribes, like Tychicus and Onesimus, who helped Paul. There were women who opened their homes, like John Mark’s mother and Lydia. There were shy people and outgoing people, men and women, young and old actively serving in the early church.

And, so it is today. Anyone who is a believer has been given a special gift to use in His church.

Does God direct leaders differently? Again, we go to the Bible. Consider Paul and Barnabas. They were both preachers of the gospel. Both were missionaries. But their gifts and functions were different. We see Paul starting churches and encouraging the saints and mentoring and correcting problems in young churches. We see Barnabas working with young men, bringing them along in one-on-one mentoring. He’s the first one to trust Paul, when he was a new Christian. He took John Mark with him and gave him a second chance after John Mark failed somehow. We see Barnabas working with people from several diverse ethnic groups. His work wasn’t as flashy as Paul’s but it was as important.

I’ve witnessed the way God uses people in our own home church. We’ve had several senior pastors. One was young, visionary, and innovative. Then, we had an older counseling pastor. After him, we had an experienced Bible teacher. All three were used of the Lord in different ways.

I’ve seen it on the mission field. One missionary has a vibrant ministry to university students. Another ministers in a multi-ethnic congregation. Yet another has started a church out of baseball teams! One missionary has a doctorate and is a tent-making missionary, teaching in a local university. Another recruits from his country. Some missionaries are quiet men and women. Others are Type A. All have the same mission: to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It’s so easy for Christians to think narrowly. “It’s my way or the highway.” But, God uses all kinds of people in His work. He wants each person to use his gifts to further God’s kingdom. The Bible says: For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). I think this is one of the most encouraging passages in Scripture! God can use anyone. It’s through Him that anything gets done for God. We can’t do anything ourselves, but God chooses to use simple, sometimes very weak people for His glory.

I am thankful that He can use little talent and great talent. Indeed, sometimes, He chooses those who are sick, handicapped, and not exceptionally talented to do great things for Him! What a blessing!

So, the next time you see someone else doing things maybe not the way you feel led, be less judgmental. You do your work the way you know God wants you to. Let the other person be responsible to the Lord, also. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God (Romans 14:12).

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast,
unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
(1 Corinthians 15:58).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your thoughts.