Last week I mentioned that I intend to write a weekly post summarizing my thoughts on the Sunday school classes that I’m attending at my church. Today was part two of a four part video series by Andy Stanley titled, Your Move. Your Move is a series focused on decision making where Stanley suggests four questions that we should ask in an our efforts to make good decisions.
This morning we watched and discussed the second session titled, The Story of Your Life. Following is the description of session two (taken from yourmove.is):
Every decision and the outcomes of those decisions become a permanent part of your story. Luckily, in God’s big picture, you get to write that story. So, what can you do to make it a story you want to tell?
Stanley used the story of Joseph as the backdrop for his message and in particular, honed in on the following verses from chapter 39:
So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate.
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her. Genesis 39:6–10
Some things I heard:
- You get to choose the story you tell in relation to the dilemma that you’re facing
- Our story is part of the story our children will tell
- The things that we are going through right now are nothing more than a story we will tell someday
- Don’t opt for anything that makes you a liar for life
- When making decisions we should consider the question, “What’s the story that I someday want to tell?”
- When deciding what to do we should consider whether or not it is consistent with our story so far
Some things I thought:
- I appreciate the desire to impart practical wisdom as it relates to making good decisions but I felt as though too much of the focus was on Joseph (and by extension, us) and what we are to do versus the focus being on God and who He is.
- My preference (which I admit is different than the preference of many) is to simply be confronted with the truth of God’s word (what it says, why it’s being said, what it means, etc…) and then, by the power, leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit consider how I am to respond to that truth.
- I worry that we made Joseph the focus and hero of the story. Don’t get me wrong; he’s certainly a main character and there is a lot to glean from his life. But it’s really about God and how God used Joseph to fulfill His purposes for His glory to fulfill His promises to His people. As much as we can learn and be encouraged by Joseph’s decision making in the midst of unthinkable circumstances, let’s also acknowledge God’s sovereignty.
- Should we really be thinking about how we want our story to go? Or, should we be more concerned with God’s story and the small part that we get to play in that story?
- One of the questions that was asked during our discussion was, “what are the things that are difficult about making decisions?”. To be honest (and vulnerable and transparent), I think one of the most difficult things is to not make decisions based on the question, “what story do I want to tell?”. Because, although I know what my motivation should be (obey and bring glory to God), my concern is that I am too often walking and thinking in the flesh when the story that I want to tell is all about me – my glory, my comfort, my reputation, my happiness.
- Ironically, during the message today our pastor touched on Abraham and Hagar. It reminded me that Ishmael was a product of a decision that resulted from Abraham and Sarah thinking about the story they wanted to tell instead of being content to live the story that God wanted to tell through them.
- This leads to my next thought; we were encouraged to avoid making decisions that were not consistent with our story so far. So, in other words, whatever story you’ve been telling to-date, keep making decisions that are in line with that. Well, what if the story I’ve been telling is rooted in disobedience, self-righteousness, moralism or legalism? What if my story has been all about ensuring the outside of the cup (the side everyone can see) is clean but inside it’s full of filth and gunk?
- Perhaps instead of considering which option is most consistent with my story, I should consider which option is most in line with God’s will and brings Him the most glory and blesses others the most.
- If, as Stanley contends, children start with the story of their parents perhaps we should start with the story of our Heavenly Father.
As always, it’s always best to continue to meditate both on what I heard and what I thought and submit it all to God in the expectation that, by His Spirit, He will lead me into all truth. My hope is that as He reveals that truth, I will have eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to receive and a willingness to obey and respond. For His glory alone.