How many times have you given in to guilt? How often have you wanted to say no but ended up saying yes? Often, we don’t want to offend or make someone feel bad, so we go ahead and do what we didn’t want to do. Why?
Sometimes, of course, we must die to ourselves and choose to love and serve others at our own expense. That is, after all, the call of the cross of Jesus. Those death-to-self type decisions are not the ones I am referring to here.
The ones I’m writing about are those that are outside of your vision. Depending on the translation, Proverbs 29:18 reads like this:
• KJV – Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
• ASV – Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
• NASB – Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.
• HCSB – Without revelation people run wild, but one who listens to instruction will be happy.
You get the idea, without vision people perish, cast off restraint, run wild, and most of the time, lack peace. I would also add, people can’t say no. Most of us have too many opportunities chasing too little time. How do we choose? My answer includes possessing a clear vision.
Knowing what God has called you to do is both freeing and limiting. I am free to pursue whatever opportunities are in line with the vision. I am also free to say no to those outside of that vision. Of course, we must pray and evaluate each opportunity, but the freedom to say no is, well, freeing.
Just because an opportunity presents itself to us, including excellent ones, does not mean that is something we must do. We can say no. We don’t have to do it. We don’t have to. Repeat after me, I don’t have to. Nope, you don’t. Saying no is freeing.
But, but, but, what about missing God’s best or His will? What if I choose wrongly? What if I can’t decide what to choose? How do I choose if God’s will isn’t clear? Won’t God be mad or angry at me if I choose the wrong one?
Let me share something that has helped many others. Vision is freeing. I firmly believe that God is more than capable of making His will known to His children. We have His Holy Word. God has a huge number of angels that are all ministering spirits sent to aid us. (Hebrews 1:14) God could send one, or give us a dream, vision, or prophet to make His will known, as He has done throughout the Scriptures and in history. In short, God is able to communicate clearly what He wants.
If he does not, then I have no fear of being in error over choices left up to me. I asked for wisdom, direction, and clarification, and if none came, then how could God be upset with me making a choice? I made the best possible decision with the information I had at the time. I tried to make a decision within the vision that God has given me, so there is no fear in making decisions.
If I am choosing within the vision and direction I believe God has given, how can He be angry with me if He didn’t choose to reveal anything else about the choice? Fear brings torment, but perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18) I can choose freely to say yes or no within the vision that God has given, and that is indeed excellent news.
My Heavenly Father loves me, is for me, and wants me to succeed. My Father doesn’t look for ways to confuse, torment, or frustrate me. God wants us to live in freedom and seems to allow us many choices with no clear direction other than keeping in line with the vision He has given us. That freedom includes the choice to say yes or no. I pray we would walk away from guilt and embrace the freedom of saying no to those choices outside of the vision God has given us.