There is always a lot of talk of unity within the church – unity in leadership, unity within individual ministries, even unity in Christianity in general. While unity is important, it is vital to remember that disagreement is not only acceptable, but should be expected.
We need only to look at Paul’s second missionary journey to get a prime example of this. In his first journey he, along with Barnabas, experienced success. They were prophets and teachers. They fasted and prayed. Many were saved. The second journey begins differently. Not having any kind of miraculous direction, Paul suggested that they return to the places where they had previously preached the Word to check on them. Here is where the disagreement comes in. Barnabas wanted to take Mark, who had previously deserted them. Paul refused, so they parted ways. This may sound like a bad thing, but many good things came out of this situation. First of all, Mark was given a second chance – something we have all needed at times. Thankfully, evidenced by the facts that we have Mark’s gospel and that Paul eventually used Mark again, it was a good decision on the part of Barnabas. Secondly, it allowed their missionary efforts to double which enabled the gospel to spread more quickly to a larger number of people.
How does this have to do with knowing God’s will? While it is awesome when we have some kind of miraculous sign pointing us to the next steps God has for us, that is not often the case. The rest of the time, using God’s Word as our guide, we need to do what we already know to be true and right and move forward taking the next logical step. That does not mean that every step will be without obstacles or that the road will be easy.
“Do not misread a rocky start as an indication that God is not in your plans¹.”
Sometimes we just need to pray and trust that God will give us a clear “no” when we are not headed in the right direction. And, if we don’t have a clear leading, remember that God does not expect us to check our brains at the door when we become a Christian.
¹. Wood, George O. Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers: An Independent-study Textbook. Springfield: Global U, 2010. 96. Print.