I’ve discovered that when that question arises in my mind and presses me I’m greatly helped if I consider the situation in the light of the upcoming Judgment Seat of Christ.
The Scriptures teach that we are in Christ through faith. We are saved by grace, alone. But Scriptures also say to us in Christ, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Paul teaches that even though we are fully covered by the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ and “there is now no condemnation,” we will nevertheless be judged for the quality of the life we have lived for him.
If I make myself think of a problem in the light of that Final Judgment I often, though of course not always, gain amazing clarity about what I should do. Such an approach helps to keep selfishness at bay, and enables careful thought to triumph over initial reactions or distracting emotions.
I recall a time when as an administrator I was dealing with a church matter that was conflicted. Differences of opinion were sharp. In my thinking I was working toward what I saw as a resolution. But not everyone agreed with that approach
After one meeting with a committee, I went with two of the men for coffee before we all started for home. At the table the situation again bubbled to the surface. As the person ultimately responsible for the decision, at one point I gestured upward and said “I will have to answer to God for how this matter is resolved.”
There was a brief moment of silence as both men looked at me with surprise. It was as though a whole new idea had been introduced. The discussion up to this moment had seemed to move on a purely human level: Which of the groups involved, will we favor? How can we close up this matter quickly? Is there greater need for damage control? Any sense of accountability to God for a wise judgment had seemed temporarily out of sight.
Thinking about a thorny problem in the light of the Final Judgment takes it out of the moment and gives it an eternal context. It keeps God and his wisdom at the center of the picture.
Making decisions in the presence of God is a deeply Christian response for both little day-to-day issues as well as towering decisions that may change one’s life’s direction. Family life and church life can submit to the fundamental reality that God is present at every moment and in every circumstance, too!
It’s not a new insight. Look at the early church bathing in prayer the decision to send Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey (Acts 13:2,3).