It is a serious thought that the disobedience of the men he had set free from blindness and leprosy should be able to hamper him in his work for his father. But his best friends, his lovers did the same. That he should be crucified was a horror to them; they would have made him a king, and ruined his father’s work. He preferred the cruelty of his enemies to the kindness of his friends. The former with evil intent wrought his father’s will; the latter with good intent would have frustrated it. – George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Displeasure of Jesus”, in Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1889, p. 190
It’s amazing the ill that good intentions can bring about.
After all, it’s not a common situation to hear of somebody who has asked for prayers that they might have the courage to do what God has called them to, only to be told by well-meaning Christians that perhaps that’s now what God wants for them.
- Becoming an overseas missionary.
- Leaving a promising career to pursue an unfamiliar field.
- Evangelizing a stranger.
All uncomfortable and challenging situations, and all situations that God has used to accomplish much for His kingdom.
And yet, often when we hear of someone we love wanting to do these things, and perhaps struggling with their human desires to abdicate this call, their fellow believers, their spiritual family, may attempt to dissuade them.
Not because they don’t agree that these are good things, but because they don’t want someone they love to have to pay the price that so often accompanies them.
They are willing to sacrifice their loved ones’ eternal rewards, for their temporal comforts.
And while we can’t expect our feelings to be a reliable indication of what God has called us to do, and therefore it is often helpful to get the wisdom of mature believers, we also shouldn’t expect that every believer will always be able to look past the cost to us, in order to see the cause of Christ.
After all, His own disciples weren’t able to do this.
- They didn’t want to see a crucifixion, they wanted to see a King.
- They weren’t looking to be free from sin, they wanted to be free from political oppression.
- They wanted a revolution, they got a resurrection.
And just like Christ’s didn’t let His friends frustrate God’s purpose for their lives, we shouldn’t let our friends either.
No matter how good intentioned they might be.
*Let me echo what I said earlier, that godly counsel is not only wise, it is biblical (Prov. 15:22) We do, however, need to make sure that the counsel we receive is biblical too; that are counselors are focused on what God wants, not their own desires.
Now it’s your turn….
- What do you do when friends try to discourage you from doing what God’s called you?