Common sense is not all that common
Acts 25:27 “For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him.”
Festus thinks that if he sends Paul to the Emperor without a report of the charges against him it will look ‘silly’ (Message), ‘absurd’ (Amplified), ‘no sense’ (NLT). It is ‘unreasonable’. Festus is using common sense.
I need to qualify what I am about to write before I write it: I am the first to say that God can speak in ways higher than our ways. God can ask us to do the most unusual of things: Elijah ate from a bird; Ezekiel laid on his left side for 390 days; Hosea named his children ‘unloved’ and ‘not my people’. But I have also known people to do the most ridiculous of things because ‘God asked them to’ that turned out to be indeed ridiculous.
However … I believe common sense is underrated, especially the common sense within the life of a follower of Christ.
This verse today inspires me to thank God He gave us a brain that can perceive, understand and judge situations without some specialised knowledge/gift or training. I speak not of human wisdom per se but a common sense that has been touched and influenced by the Spirit of God. Paul in 1 Corinthians 2 writes about how the Spirit does not bypass our minds but works in our lives to give us the mind of the Lord. Paul says we have wisdom taught us by the Spirit which is above the wisdom of the world.
I believe as a Spirit filled follower of Christ that you can make an informed decision that turns out to be the best one simply because your mind has been trained by the Spirit. This decision process is far better than that of Festus or anyone else who doesn’t know Christ.
Since an early age I was always worried I might ‘step pout of the will of God for my life’. What does God want me to do? That question became such a strain on me. I looked at others who seemed to hear from God so easily and for me well I would either make it up to join the crowd or fall into discouragement that God doesn’t like me because He doesn’t speak to me like the others.
For the majority of my life I have lived hearing people say: “God has told me or God has confirmed to me”. I have not heard many people say “It seems good to us (our own thinking in a group accountability setting) and the Spirit (who is within us)”. I wonder why?
- Some people need God to tell them to do everything (I found this a bit tiresome as a parent when wanting my children to use their own brains, but I am sure God is not tired by this!).
- Some people know what they should do but are uncertain and lack faith so look for confirmatory signs that what they are going to do anyway (whether they get the confirmation or not) is indeed the right thing.
- Some people talk to trusted disciples of Christ to gauge response to decisions they have to make and then rely on the Spirit within them to interrupt or indeed work with their mind in that decision. That interruption could come through a prophetic word. But in the majority of cases the reports are that interestingly it is more of a confirmation than an interruption.
For me I find the last one more mature. I think it is okay to wake today and make decisions that seem more reasonable, have more common sense, within an accountability filter, knowing the Spirit is giving us the mind of Christ. I don’t necessarily think I need to get a ‘divine special word’. I actually think the common sense I have in my brain is good (some may disagree!). It has freed me up. I can do my world with the Spirit within me. I can have fun. I can make decisions. Actually it is okay if not everything goes right for me so long as I made the decision as best I could, there are lessons to be learnt in mistakes. This journey with the Spirit is far better than being told what to do on everything or being such a nervous wreck I am looking for signs in my breakfast cereal that God is smiling approvingly at me.
Let’s have more common sense, it isn’t all that common.