The need for wisdom, discernment and understanding is crucial today. We do not need more man-made or man-originated wisdom, but instead, the wisdom that only comes from God. In the now classic, Experiencing God, Henry and Richard Blackaby give us a pathway to finding where God is working and joining Him there. They suggest four steps in discerning God’s direction and will — God’s Word, Prayer, Multitude of Counsel and Circumstances. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” We need wisdom from above.
Leadership requires being saturated in God’s Word. It begins by staying in the Word daily and asking God to direct us through His truth. I was experiencing a challenging time recently and noticed that I was more negative than normal. My attitude was not what it needed to be, and I felt as if no one was listening. It caught me by surprise, but God directed me to read the book of Job. He reminded me that I really have nothing to complain about compared to Job. More importantly, He pointed me to a passage where Job told one of his friends to quit “chewing” on him and go chew on someone else for a while. Can I get a witness?
God’s Word makes it crystal clear that we should never move forward without His direction. When we get ahead of Him, the results can be disastrous. God’s Word shows us the right thing to do and how to do it the right way. If we have an unresolved conflict with someone, we should follow Matt. 18:15-17. If we have a problem with a leader that needs to be confronted, we should follow I Tim. 5:19-21. If you are thinking about quitting or moving on to a “greener” pasture, then consider Hab. 2:1, which carries the idea of staying put and not moving until you know you have heard unmistakably from the Lord.
We should begin with God’s Word because He never leads us contrary to His truth, then stay in constant continual communication with Him. It has been said, “Do not question in the dark what God has shown you in the light.” James 1:5 said God gives wisdom to those who ask, and I must pose this question: Are you asking? Prayer is the most underutilized power source available to man, and it is useless to you unless you implement supplication and practice petitioning Him faithfully and regularly. Psalm 40:1 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.”
Communicating with our Father requires an intentional determination to persevere and to not stop pursuing and asking. Seek Him and ask Him what He wants you to know and learn about Him. Be reminded of His unfailing love in the mornings and His faithfulness in the evenings. Make sure you are ready to yield every part of your life (time, talent, thinking, talking, treasure and trust) to Him. Are you totally surrendered to Him? Here are two great questions to ask yourself to make sure:
• Is there anything He is asking you to do that you are unwilling to do?
• Is there anything He is asking you to stop that you are unwilling to stop?
Now that you have searched His Word and you are faithfully asking, seeking and knocking, you can begin to seek wise godly counsel. Look for believers who are walking with the Lord daily and seeking Him to help you discern God’s will, not their agenda. You are not looking for affirmation, but rather good, godly, wise, spiritual counsel. You do not need “yes men,” but rather individuals who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Ask them if they see what you believe God is calling you to do. Are they shocked or dismayed by your decision? Are they praying with you for total discernment and God’s direction?
In our assessment process, we state: “The Assessment Center is comprised of qualified, experienced personnel who care deeply for you and your future. It is our intention to convey grace and truth to you about your giftedness and potential in church planting. To what degree do you believe you will be open to heeding the advice of the Assessment Center? 1=Not Open 5=Rely Heavily On their feedback.” Most score themselves as a four because they realize the importance of spiritual advice but are committed to making sure they obey God first; but if four out of five see something you do not see, it would be wise to at least reconsider.
Leading with wisdom requires God’s Word to be our foundation, prayer to be our source of discernment and godly counsel to serve as our confirmation. Then and only then should we consider our circumstances. The problem, all too often, is that we start with our circumstances and elevate them over God’s Word, prayer and a multitude of counsel. The “God” card is played by stating, “God has closed this door” or “God told me to do this!” This closes down the discussion because it is really hard for anyone to imply that they should go against what God has “told” them. Make sure the decision is not motivated primarily by difficulties and trials.
Take a deep breath, cry out to the Lord for discernment and make sure, if possible, that you are not making any major ministry decisions while in the midst of trials and tribulation. Do not be hasty, but instead wait “patiently” on the Lord for His answer and His direction. Reach out to us for our Wisdom Flywheel which details this five-step process:
• Draw close to God.
• Study God’s Word.
• Surround yourself with wise counselors.
• Experience His wisdom.
Leadership requires His omniscience, and we are omni-nothing!