Summary: How to Avoid the Mistakes of Giving Into Pressures From People - Gen 16:1-16
How to Avoid the Mistakes of Giving Into Pressures From People - Gen 16:1-16
We all need to know how to avoid giving in to the pressures from well meaning people who may think they know God’s will for our lives. Only the Lord knows the best time and way to accomplish His will. His leading comes from His word, His Spirit and godly counselors. How do we discern God’s will when we are being pressured by family members, friends or individuals who may present a seemingly convincing arguments to us about God’s will for our life. The following are a few guidelines for helping us learn how to avoid being pressured in to doing something that is out of God’s will for our lives.
1. Let us not only trust in the Lord with all our hearts, but not rely on our own insights or the insights of others, but acknowledge Him in all our ways and He will direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:5,6) Notice there is no acknowledging of God or indication that Abraham, Sarai or Hagar sought God for direction in Genesis 16:1-7. Whenever we try to make decisions without first seeking God’s will in the matter we will always fail.
2. We are to be pro-actively pursing the expansion of His kingdom and righteousness instead of plotting our own cunning ways to get God’s work done. Sarai was well intentioned in seeking to have a son, but she went about her through the power of the flesh instead of allowing the Lord to bring about His will for her in His own time, way and methods. The Lord knew that eventually Sarai would miraculously give birth to Isaac, but it would be a demonstration of His power instead of her own crafty scheming that would accomplish His purposes in her life. Do not try to craft clever programs that are not engineered out of a Spirit led design.
3. We are to work when God has clearly given us the responsibility and the authority to do so. God had never placed the responsibility for producing a child on Sarai, or Abram. God had promised to provide the child (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; 17:6,16, 19). Just as God had prevented Sarai from conceiving (16:2), so He would provide an heir.
4. Do not think you can succeed in any activity for which God has not given you the power to produce spiritual fruit. As Paul has shown (Galatians 4:21ff.) Ishmael was a result of the work of the flesh, not the spirit. Isaac was the result of divine activity in Abram and Sarai. No work of faith is the work of the flesh. God’s work is that accomplished through His enabling Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:16-26).
5. We should move ahead only when our motivation to do so is that of faith. Sarai seems to have felt compelled to act because God had prevented her from having children (cf. 16:2). Despite the efforts of a number of commentators to prove otherwise, Sarai’s actions (and Abram’s) betray a motive of fear, not faith. Paul has spoken clearly when he wrote, “… whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).
6. We should be reluctant to ‘work’ when it appears that God has been preventing what we have been seeking. At times barriers are put up to change our direction (cf. Acts 16:6,7). Knowing the difference between problems and prohibitions requires the wisdom which God freely gives as we ask for it in faith (James 1:5-6).
7. Know that the Lord allows some doors to close so that He can open up better ones in the days to come. Jesus tells us He opens doors that no man can open and He closes doors that no man can open. Jesus said to the church of Philadelphia, “He holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut and what he shuts no one can open. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” (Rev. 3:7,8) Ask the Lord for the wisdom to know the best door that God has opened for you in your personal life, relationships and ministry activities.
8. Do not underestimate His power to accomplish great things through you. You can do all things THROUGH Christ who strengthens you. (Phil. 4:13)
9. Do not think that God needs your crafting scheme to accomplish His purposes in and through you. Realize that you may miss God’s plan if you are not patient to wait on His timing and provisions.
10. You may miss God’s plan if you allow someone else to talk you into doing something that is not God’s will.
11. You may miss God’s will if you go ahead with something without considering all of the consequences of that decision.