“So Sarai said to Abram, ‘Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.” Genesis 16:2
Do the voices you listen to represent godly interests or good intentions? The first is a stepping stone, while the latter can be a stumbling block. Like Sarai, our self-made plans usually backfire on us. That’s because good intentions are often based on selfish desires rather than on godly interests. The line between the two is a thin one. So how can we tell the difference?
First, we need to consider how seriously we take God’s promises. Remember, God had just told Abram He would give him an heir from his own body; meaning a child of pure descent between he and Sarai (Genesis 15:1-6). Maybe she didn’t take God seriously until Isaac was born. After all, Sarai laughed at God when He said she would give birth at the age of 90 (Genesis 18:12-15).
Do you really believe God will do what He says? How seriously you take God’s promises is revealed by how long you’re willing to wait on Him without enacting your own plan. Hebrews 10 tells us, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (v23). And, “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (v36).
We also need to consider whether our good intentions align with God’s will. The best example of this is when Peter rebuked Jesus for talking about His death. “But [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s’” (Matthew 16:23). Peter’s intentions, no matter how noble, weren’t based on God’s Word; and were therefore in opposition to God’s will.
Peter loved Jesus, and Sarai loved Abram. So their intentions were to help—not to hinder. Yes, wise counsel should be given in love, but it’s most effective when based on the Word of God. We need to be careful about the advice we listen to, as well as the advice we give. Taking an honest look at whether you have good intentions or godly interests will prepare you to be a good steward of God’s promises.