God, or man?
BY RHONDA GOULD
Whom am I following, God or man? The older I get, the more this question comes up for me.
I remember myself as a newly married 20-year-old, as a 30-year-old mom, a 40-year-old empty nester, and thinking, I knew what was right! But looking back, I wasn’t always as smart as I thought I was.
Was I seeking out wise counsel or sound direction? Honestly, no, not all the time. Even now as a 59-year-old woman, I have to question myself regularly, “Am I following God or man?”
A man could include “self,” an individual or an entity. He could be someone wealthy or not, in power or not, a close friend or not, but will always be someone or something that serves us in some way. Man includes community leaders, church leaders, political leaders, sport leaders, bosses, and sometimes it may even mean your spouse.
1 Corinthians 3:5-7: “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe — as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
Matthew 15:14: “Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
I’m confessing to you today, that I don’t always have it “right”! Thankfully, today I know someone who does. Thankfully, today I know where to go for “right.”
John 8:32: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Once I know where the truth comes from and truth is “right,” I am given direction on how to answer all the questions that come at me. How am I to act? How am I to respond? How am I to love? How am I to (fill in the blank)?
1 Corinthians 11:1 says: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” So I ask myself, “Am I being an imitator of Christ?”
I asked some friends to answer these questions, and I’d love to share their responses.
Angela Barnett, of Dallas Texas: “When asked: ‘How do you decide what is the right choice when determining how to make a decision?’ my answer is simple, I go to God in prayer. I seek God’s direction and guidance, in each situation, that he is glorified by each of my actions and deeds.” (Philippians 4:6)”
“I dedicated my life to Christ at an early age, being taught to follow God according to his will. It is so tempting to fall prey to the world in actions and deeds. We just want to fit in, enjoy this life we have, and that is what I did. I was having fun or so I thought. One Easter Sunday morning, as I was in route to church, my car was T-boned as we approached an intersection. All I could do was call on Jesus! My car was ultimately totaled.”
“Awaiting first responders to arrive. Remembering (Matthew 17:20), I trusted GOD would deliver me from any serious hurt, harm and danger and give me my life, health and strength following this accident. I escaped a tragic accident with minor bumps and bruises. That was my calling card to reconnect to God. I had also found that in times of need, friends and family are not always there when you need them, But God is! God is my all in all. I much rather serve God than follow man!” (Proverbs 22:6)
“I pray the light and love of Jesus Christ is reflected that others may see and desire to follow and find their way. (Proverbs 3:5) For we never know who is watching us. I desire and pray daily, that my life reflects Christ and draws someone to him.” (Matthew 6:33)
Jennifer G Gould, of Winchester, Kentucky: “How do I choose what decisions to make and actions to take as I go through each day? I first consider the words of Jesus: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ As I go through life, my challenge to myself is to filter my actions through these two commands, but in order to know what will bring glory to him, and what he considers love, I must spend time developing my relationship with him and learning the truth of his character. I can only do that through staying in the entirety of the Word and by spending time in prayer, not just speaking but taking time to listen and to expect God to speak back into my life. It is through an intimate relationship and knowledge of God and dependence on his Spirit that I can gradually grow and obey more fully his two greatest commands. I pray that is the goal of every Christian.”
Vaché L. King, Winchester Kentucky: “The heavy loaded question of, “What or who do I lean into when I have a decision to make?’ makes me ponder not only the question itself, but also every decision I recall making. I would like to say I immediately go to my Heavenly Father when considering anything. I mean, that is the Christian answer, right? But, if I am honest with myself and transparent with you, I don’t always seek the Father, first. As a matter of fact, there have been times in my life in which I don’t consult the Father at all. OUCH! I am always reminded when I do not seek the counsel of the Lord, I am apt to reap the bad consequences that come from my decision making. When I actually stop and consider (Selah) the outcome of my bad decisions, or inhale and exhale, it prompts me to reflect over Matthew 6:33: ‘Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.’ I can rest in knowing with confidence, no matter how great or small, God hears his children (1 John 5:14); I just have to be still enough for him to answer.”
Joy Planck, Flemingsburg, Kentucky: “I collect plumb bobs. I have an eye for them and notice them hanging on barn walls, in old forgotten tool boxes and in antique stores. I buy them, gather them and bring them home. Wikipedia’s definition is: ‘A plumb bob, or plummet, is a weight, usually with a pointed tip on the bottom, suspended from a string and used as a vertical reference line, or plumb-line. It is a precursor to the spirit level and used to establish a vertical datum.’ These tools always remind me to ask myself, ‘What is my plumb line?’ Am I measuring myself aside others or Jesus? The only way to ensure the path you are walking is the ‘right’ or ‘straight’ path is to look to the only perfect One. Proverbs 3:5-6: ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.’”
I thank my friends for sharing their hearts with us, and I pray that because of their trust in Jesus that you will be drawn to him.
Rhonda Gould is a certified life coach. Find her at rhondagouldonline.com.