A is for . . . Assess
This next A concerns our ability to assess what the Lord is doing at a given time in a given situation. It may sound a bit whimpish, but it’s not always easy to discern whether certain things stem from God, the devil or are just purely natural. You may well have known times when what initially appeared to be entirely enemy action later turns out later to have had a hefty measure of the Lord’s leading about it. It is all too easy, as leaders, to make mistakes in this respect, and to pronounce rash and hasty verdicts.
Higher maths is called for here. You could say that Jesus’ death was 100% the consequence of action taken by the Roman authorities. But that, of course, was 100% the result of the hostility of the Jews. And behind that one would have to say it was 100% the handiwork of satanic scheming. The maths doesn’t even begin to add up! And then, of course, you have to weave in the most important thing of all: the God Factor – Acts 2:23 states quite categorically that Jesus was ‘handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge’!!
Think about your own life. If x hadn’t happened to you, and quite possibly x squared as it probably felt at the time, then you would not be where you are now. Only God can bring so much good out of seemingly disappointing events – BUT HE DOES.
All this, of course, is a reminder of our need for D for Discernment: knowing when to resist the devil (and he will flee from you!) for example, and when just to yield yourself to the Lord’s leading. If Abraham had offered up Isaac in the way he was planning to do and it had not been God’s will, there would have been no miraculous intervention to stave things off, and we would have been looking at a case of homicide!
May the Lord help us to be patient until we are able to see beyond immediate circumstances to what He is really saying and doing in a given situation. Those who are over hasty are most at risk of making mistakes – and the consequences of wrong advice and diagnosis are often far reaching.
Leaders are inclined to like being in control, but there are times when it is best just to yield ourselves to the current the Lord is sending our way. As surely as some things will never come about unless we push and make them happen, at other times our pushing can spoil the plan God has in mind. He knows the places, people and situations, our task is to be harnessed to Him; not rushing ahead – and that process of yielding can actually be the beginning of an entirely new level of union with God. This ‘A’ for assessment overlaps closely, therefore, with our earlier ‘A’ for ‘Acceptance’.
Why not spend a few moments now asking Him to give you the ability to assess more from His perspective – and with His compassion.