Have you ever presumed that just because something is good means that it is God’s will? The Bible does say that every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). But, we also need to understand that sometimes good can be the enemy of God’s best for us.
Many years ago, I remember hearing a sermon titled “One Too Many O’s”. The gist of it being that the reason we must ask ourselves if there is one too may O’s is because sometimes good is not God’s way! That insight has kept me from settling for some things that seemed really good, but helped me to wait a little bit longer to find God’s will. I have learned to stop and ask myself, “Is there one too many O’s?” And, “Just because it is good is it God?” We cannot presume that just because something is good means it’s God’s will for us. We will do well to remember that the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden was the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Settling for or pursuing good things can be just as big an enemy of God’s best plans for us as any evil!
Looking back upon my life, it’s clear to see that many good and seemingly wonderful things or opportunities were definitely not God’s best plan for me. I can honestly thank the Lord for a lot of unanswered prayers! It’s so clear now that God protected me from a lot of not-so-good things. I am thankful that many things that looked so perfect and important, that I had prayed and prayed for, were definitely not for my good; even some things that broke my heart and caused me to question God’s love for me at that time.
So, how can we know the difference between what’s good, but not God? There are a few questions we can ask ourselves:
1. Does it disagree with or compromise scripture?
2. Does it honor God and lead me into closer relationship with Him?
3. Does it bring peace to me and those important relationships in my life?
Here are several scriptures that have also become guiding light to me when trying to discern God’s will:
By prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV) First of all, it is very important to take everything to the Lord in prayer and to thank Him for circumstances that give Him the opportunity to demonstrate His power, provision and love to us when we need His help or guidance. Then, we are in the place to experience His peace that passes understanding which will guard our heart and mind; helping us to determine the difference between good possibilities and God’s best for us.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6 (NKJV) Besides encouraging us to trust The Lord with ALL our heart, the hardest part of this verse is the challenge to make sure we are not leaning to our own understanding. Many times it is so much easier to settle for the good options because they usually make much more sense to our natural understanding.
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV) One of the hardest things to do is to wait upon The Lord and His timing. (This is an active waiting, continuing to ask, seek and knock, doing all we know to do in the mean time. (Matthew 7:7)) The temptation to settle for a good thing is often because it seems so much simpler, easier or more comfortable. But, the main reason I mention this verse is because doubt, confusion and fear weigh us down with such a heaviness. When we wait upon the Lord and his will becomes clear, there is a great uplifting peace and joy with a renewed strength that launches us into the new way.
Next time something seems too good to be true or seems so good you think it must be God, I encourage you to stop and ask yourself, “Are there one too many O’s?” and, “Is it good or God?”
Dear God, give us the ability to discern the difference between the traps of good that rob us of Your abundant blessings. Show us Your way and shed Your light onto our paths. Help us to wait on You, to trust You in all our ways and to lean not unto our own understanding. Grant us Your peace that will guard our hearts and renew our strength so that we can mount up with wings like eagles as we discern Your way. In Jesus name. Amen.
How great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You. Psalm 31:19
© JoBeth Kested 2014