As God shows me the process of choice, proposal, engagement and everything surrounding it of several disciples around me, one thing seem to stand out among these brethren particularly in their relationship with elders concerning it.
These brethren are sincere brothers and sisters who will not intimidate the elder but leave adequate room for a genuine input. I already once spoke about the value of elders and what to learn from them in a previous post (you may want to read them first) but want to speak here about allowing them input into your choices. This is not limited to marriage choices alone but to every kind of decision a young person must make.
Consider the approach of these two brothers:
Thomas: Sir, as I prayed and engaged God over the past two weeks, I heard God say expressly to my heart that I should … what do you think sir?
James: Sir, this is what I am sensing in my heart about this issue, kindly pray along…
Now let me ask you…if you were an elder, would you respond the same way to these two people? How do you think you would respond to them? I’m not an ‘elder’ yet but a few brothers have spoken to me sharing their convictions on a matter (not necessarily marriage) and they spoke in attitude and words like bro Thomas and honestly my response usually and immediately would look like “Great, who am I to say the Lord has not spoken once YOU SAY He has spoken, please go ahead!”
What are the implications of these in our choices…
1. Arrogant Spirit: this naturally displays your heart and shows you have some element of arrogance and pride. You can speak like that before your peers (who don’t know more than you do) but once you sit before an elder, humble yourself and talk with some caution.
2. Lack of prayer: No elder wants to be seen or implied as standing against God and so you loose their critical prayers over the matter.
3. Lack of genuine counsel: For the same reasons above, the elder simply ‘agrees’ with you on your line of action, not necessarily because he thinks it is right but because you never gave space for genuine input and counsel.
Image from derbywea.com
So when next God speaks to you about any issue; career, job opening, ministry, marriage etc. and you decide to see an elder, have the following counsels in mind…
1. Realize you hear God based on your present understanding of God. If God says the same thing to you and an elder, your understanding, interpretation and practical application will be different. Remember, you are still growing in hearing God and need to be guided in interpreting His voice properly.
2. Seek for (in your heart) and Ask for (with your mouth) their genuine counsel on the issue. In the multitude of (godly) counsel, there is safety. Gods word may really be true but your application may need some adjustment.
3. Again seek for and ask for (as in the same context above) their earnest prayers on the matter. This will serve as a confirmation to what you have heard. Don’t be in a hurry, the more the prayers, the better.
4. Finally, be humble about it all, for God humbles the proud and lifts up the humble!
3 “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?
4 “Therefore speak to them, and say to them, “Thus says the Lord GOD: “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart… and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols.
Listen to Wisdom, let her teach you and advice you how you shall behave…
Have you had a similar experience? Share with us, how did it go?