Sometimes we get stuck in a situation where we don’t know if God is pushing us out or just wants to grow our patience.
Does God want me to get a new job? Does God want me to break up with my girlfriend or boyfriend. Does God want me to move? Does God want me to stop eating at Chipotle?
First, the trial that you are going through should never be seen as a ‘sign from God’ because we simply don’t know.
But sometimes a trial causes us to sin so consistently due to our present spiritual maturity that it prevents us glorifying God and we reach the point where we need to think about removing that temptation by moving on.
So we must always deal with our sin even if we move on or else we just bring our sin along with us to a new setting and the cycle repeats.
For example, let’s say you have a terrible boss. Should you interpret that as God wanting you to quit that job, or is God simply growing your patience? Or maybe he’s showing you that there’s really nothing wrong with the guy, but you just aren’t very loving.
First you have to know that ultimately God just wants you to Love God and Others (Full explanation) (Matt 22:36-40). That’s your calling. And your individual callings are how you as an individual carry out these two commands (Love God: praise, thanks, obedience, Love Others: providing for spiritual and physical needs) in everyday life. (Individual Calling, full explanation).
So at some point, a situation you’re in prevents you from doing both these commands. But you can’t move on unless you have an option that allows you to obey these commands.
Example, your boss is terrible. Well, why does God want you to have a job in the first place? To Love Others: Provide for your family’s physical needs. So you’re obedient with that but having a hard time loving God (giving thanks) and loving others (showing love for your boss) at this job. You’re not carrying out your calling with that.
You can’t just quit just because you’re sinning by not showing love and patience and furthermore, you’d sin even more because you are aren’t providing for your family (1 Tim 5:8).
However, knowing your spiritual weaknesses and temptations, you want to remove yourself from situations that cause you to sin, so it would be wise to start looking for another job. And after you line up another job where you think it’ll expose your spiritual weaknesses less, you can switch. And then you can be obedient the whole time by making sure you are Loving Others by providing for the needs of your family.
So look for a job that removes temptations of your personal weaknesses while at the same time working on those same weaknesses.
A different example: Let’s say there’s nothing wrong with your job, but it is putting a strain on your family because of the long hours. So it would be wise to see if there are other options out there where you can meet both their spiritual and physical needs better.
Let’s say your spouse is terrible. Well, to Love God, you have to obey God. Since God disallows divorce (except in the case of adultery on their part) the divorce option is out, so you can’t just leave. It’s as simple as that. So you stay and work on the marriage to both Love God and Love Others.
Let’s say you hate where you live. Will moving help you Love God and Others more? Or is moving an easier way out of dealing with a sin? Will getting a bigger but more expensive place actually help you provide for the spiritual and physical needs of your family more, or will the cost actually prevent you from doing that very thing?
So staying or going is just figuring out how to obey God more. It is always about growth. So when you are looking for options, wisdom will have to come into play.
So what do we do?
Work on the three parts of true faith:
1. Know that while you’re making your decision that your ultimate goal is to Love God and Others (Praise, thanks, obedience and provide for spiritual and physical needs of others).
2. Figure out your heart. Why you are upset, anxious or just flat out sinning?. Will leaving help you deal with that sin, or are you just replacing it with new ones, or bringing that sin with you to a new situation? Will leaving help you Love God and Others more or less? Either way, you need to focus on growing spiritually. (Why Do We Suffer?)
3. Seek wisdom (full explanation) to find other options that allow you to be obedient to God by Loving God and Loving Others more. Seek wisdom from experts in the area you’re talking about, and pray for wisdom to sort through the wisdom you’re getting.
It’s not about “Should I stay or go?” It’s always about moving forward in obedience to God.
James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
Prov 12:15 The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.
Prov 15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control;
Take Time To Pray: Ask God to help you understand where you need to spiritually mature and for wisdom to understand his commands and how they interact with each other and for wisdom to know from whom to get counsel.
Today’s Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness.