Held Captive by a Church Cliché

  peace

Moses said to [the Lord], “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” (Exodus 33:15)

Perhaps there is no more insidious church cliché that holds Christians captive than this one:

“You will know you are in the center of God’s will when you sense a peace about your decision.”

There may be times when you sense a peace about a decision you are about to make, but make no mistake, the Bible is full of examples of those who did not and yet followed God’s leading into His perfect plan for the “peaceless” path they were to travel.

First, let me clear up the matter of “peace” as it is presented in Scripture. Peace is promised to the people of God, but that peace is rooted in an objective fact, not an emotional feeling. When Paul wrote in Romans 5:1 that “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” he was telling us about an objective fact. The first fruit of justification is peace with God, because we have been brought back into a right relationship with our heavenly Father. This peace is a result of the ministry of reconciliation that Jesus performs in the life of every believer, not a result of making right decisions. So to assume that a decision is right simply because you have a peace about it is wrong.

When God called Moses to be the deliverer of His people, a sense of peace was as far from Moses as the east is from the west. Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)—Moses’ first attempt to dismiss God’s call on his life. After God assured Moses that He Himself would go with him, Moses came up with Objection Number Two: “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13). The Sovereign Lord dismissed that excuse with His great declaration that “I Am Who I Am,” but Moses was still troubled. “What if they do not believe me or listen to me?” he asked (Exodus 4:1). God dismissed that excuse with the “staff into a snake” and the “hand as white as snow” illustrations. Moses had no other excuse available to him, so he simply asked God to pardon him from his peaceless calling because he was not an eloquent speaker.

At no time did Moses experience any sense of peace about the decision God was calling him to make. It was just the opposite! And remember this, God not only made it crystal clear what He wanted Moses to do through His spoken Word, He accompanied His command with supernatural miracles. Yet none of that gave peace to Moses. God was calling Him to do what he could not justify with a sense of peace about his decision.

What about you? Are you facing any decisions today where God seems to be calling you to walk a peaceless path? You are in good company! Seek godly counsel and continue praying about it, but know that the key to understanding what is God’s calling will often not be found in peace, but rather in His presence—the place to which God ultimately brought Moses. And when Moses sensed God’s presence, he could then say sincerely, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15).

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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