I was up with a friend of mine the other night and we were wrestling with the question, “Does God care about our preferences?”
I think we both knew that God cared about our preferences, but what we were actually wondering was what weight do our preferences hold when making decisions.
For a long time, I have heard people tell me that if you are in between two options, and neither is sin, we ought to go with our preference. I definitely want to challenge that thinking though. If we’re not worried about sin, I’m still not convinced that our authority should be our preference.
Take Jesus in the garden right before he got arrested for example. He was praying to his Father that he did not want to endure the crucifixion if he didn’t have to. Surely, there were alternative ways that Jesus could have handled that night that was at the same time not sinful.
But he didn’t go with his preference. That’s because God’s glory could be more widely experienced in Christ’s death, than any other way. So I think our go-to gauge should not be our preferences, but rather what will glorify God most.
Now I understand that we may not always know beforehand what directions will give God the most glory. And I think we can also be confident that no matter what decision we make, God will glorify himself through it. So how can God get more glory out of us?
The primary way we set ourselves up to be in a position where God gets glory out of us is when we bring him into our lives. Whether that’s through reading Scripture, receiving counsel, or learning from teachers in the church, what we put in is what we give out.
This is the ways in which we make ourselves vulnerable so that God’s grace can abound in our lives. This might look like confessing our sins or serving others who need help. Giving to the world what God has put in us will give the world life, and that is what gives God glory.
This is where discipleship happens. If others can’t learn from us, then we need to be moving in a different direction. This looks like worshipping with our brothers and sisters in Christ and celebrating the life that we have with each other.
If in the decision we’re trying to make our preference takes away from bringing in, giving out, or moving forward, we cannot go with our preference.
When my friend and I were talking, we started by asking if God cared about our preferences. We didn’t think that was the right question to ask, so we moved to what weight does our preference hold. And though that gave us some clarity, I’m still not convinced that was the right question to ask.
In the midst of fear, doubt, and confusion, my preference was to try to find contentment rather than to push through the fear, doubt, and confusion that it seemed like God was leading me into.
The real question I need to be asking is that when fear, doubt, and confusion arise, can I trust God’s grace to cover me as I move into action?
Our preference is not the solid ground we need and are looking for. The solid ground we are looking for is the grace of God. And no matter how much a direction scares us, stretches us, changes us, or breaks us, God’s grace is there. Lean into God’s grace, and you can’t make a bad decision.
Mitch graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, where he studied Evangelism and Discipleship with an emphasis in Intercultural Ministries. He blogs at his own website about how the Gospel impacts the way we ought our lives. He was a Golden State Warriors fan before it was cool and is considered a semi-professional Kan Jam player in his hometown.