It’s strange that we choose our own influences. We choose whom we will submit to. We choose whom we will listen to and whom we will follow and imitate. It seems quite subjective and arbitrary.
For example, I read Piper’s Desiring God and because I found it insightful and judged it to be true, I consider his thoughts to be worth hearing. Even when his words challenge me and cause me a bit of discomfort, I take the time to consider them.
I do this with people more closely connected to me too. I choose which people I take advice from and whose advice I will ignore.
But it all seems to center on me and my choices. I guess the real test comes when someone I’ve chosen to let influence my life calls me out on something and challenges to me change in ways I don’t like. My self-centered ego has a decision then: Continue feeding my own interests or trust that the other person can see the log in my eye.
Life is weird that way: Playing judge over our advisors before submitting to their judgment.
I think there are even times when the right choice is following someone’s advice even if I can’t see why. I think God asks this of all of us. I think it happens in human relationships too once in a while.
My sister’s facing this right now. She’s moved with her husband but their house hasn’t sold, now 10 months later. She’s relying on his discernment of God’s direction instead of her own sense of God’s leading. Even while she lacks personal peace about it, she’s trusting that her husband’s listening closely to God. That’s hard to do. But her trust in him overrides her own misgivings at this point.
That’s a crazy place to be. I think similar things happen with our Bibles. When we’re first reading the Bible, we’re determining whether we like it or not, whether we think it has anything good to say. Then after a while we might go with it for the most part. But eventually, we come a crossroads where we’re faced with something genuinely confusing but clear. We may know what we need to do, but not know why.
I think we all get stuck here, oftentimes. This is an easy place to get stuck too. Fear is keeping us from moving forward. “Maybe my trust has been misplaced this whole time.” “Maybe I haven’t been as clear-headed about this as I should have been.” “Maybe I misjudged the Bible. Maybe it is a bunch of bunk.” But only trust can test the Bible to find out whether it is or not. We have to go on forward with obedience in spite of ourselves, in spite of our own interests. We have to step out and see where we land.
Of course, it’s not the Bible we should be trusting, but in the God behind the Bible. And he’s cool. He generally makes us jump but catches us quickly. Then, next time it’s a bit harder, and the results don’t show up as fast. And the next time, harder and slower. God helps us build up to it usually.