Balancing Faith in God with Wisdom

Life is full of opportunities. You know the type:

  • The new job opportunity?
  • A move to a new city?
  • Buying that house?
  • The budding relationship?
  • A new ministry role?
  • Talking to your co-worker about Christ?

When life is full of opportunities and risks, we naturally ask ourselves, “Am I trusting God or just being foolish?”

This is a good question to ask because, while God calls us to trust him, he also calls us to manage our lives with Godly wisdom. So, how do you know if a decision is a step of faith, or just plain foolish? Is it a choice between trust and irresponsibility?

Living Outside the Harbour

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” Trusting God means following him beyond the safety of the harbor and into place he uniquely called you to be even when you get buffeted by the waves.

Waves. Waves are a good picture of the life of faith.

Two of my favorite stories about faith involve water. Jesus walks on the waves in the story. He calms the stormy seas in the second.

To leave the safety of the harbor involves risk but also trust in the one who walks on the waves and calms the storms. Faith requires risk.

Resisting Comfort

Mitch Friestad wrote a great post about 3 areas God wants you to be comfortable in. It’s a great post about prayer, sharing Jesus with others, and how we help others grow. Mitch is right, we should strive to become comfortable in these things.

But too often, I want to be comfortable. So, I think of a back-up plan just in case.

Having a back-up plan isn’t a problem but it can never replace faith in God. If a back-up plan brings me such confidence that trust is irrelevant then there’s a problem. This is the crux of the issue.

So, how do you know?

2 Helpful Questions

I wish there was a simple checklist that sorted all of our heart issues. Since there’s not, here are 2 questions I’m finding helpful.

Is ‘wisdom’ destroying my trust in God?

You will always find a ‘good’ reason not to do something. People are cautious especially when there’s a lot at stake.

If it is the prospect of losing all that you have (whether that’s job, ministry, whatever) that stops you from taking action, then it is fear that is making the decision.

This is bad. Fear will disguise itself as wisdom but is the opposite of trust.

Fear in the guise of ‘wisdom’ is no substitute for faith.

Please note, I’m not suggesting you ignore advice, or refuse to assess options before making a decision. But don’t let fear posing ‘wisdom’ be an excuse for not trusting God.

I love these words from Prescott Williamson’s post:

‘As humans we feel the need to understand things before we do them. We need to know who, what, when, where, and why before taking a step and trusting God. That is not how God works.’

If you can’t remember the last time you really had to trust God with something then it might be a sign that ‘wisdom’ is killing your trust.

Is my ‘trust’ disregarding all wisdom?

The opposite can also be true. It’s possible to have so much faith that you’re … well, reckless.

Here’s what I mean. What I label as ‘trust’ can really an expression of my ego, irresponsibility, or even disobedience. It’s a mistake to think that you don’t need to consider options, pray, read Scripture, or consult fellow believers in the name of ‘trust’.

There’s no such thing as blind faith. Faith is always based on the character of God. Is he trustworthy?

It is a privilege to ask our fellow Christians to pray with us about our decisions and seek their advice.

Godly wisdom seeks counsel from Godly people. You are likely to hurt people if you refuse to listen to Godly counsel and unlikely to be faithful.

You see, trusting Jesus looks like Jesus. It should lead you to become more like Jesus. If trusting doesn’t lead you to look more like Jesus, then is it really trust.

Make a Decision

Sometimes you pray about the decision, read the Bible, seek advice from others and still not have the foggiest idea of what to do.

Here’s what I do, I make a decision. Sometimes it’s going for it, sometimes don’t. Either way, make it an expression of faith. Offer it up with words like:

‘God, I’m making this decision because I trust the one who walks on the water and clams the waves. I trust you’ll show me if it’s wrong. If it’s right, I trust you’ll let know. I’m trusting you for the outcome.’

Then go for it with confidence. Don’t hold back.

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