Good Intentions Or God’s Leading?

By pastorbillwalden

I thank God that he is so honest with us about His children.

The Bible doesn’t whitewash any of God’s children. It shows us both their good and bad, their highs and lows, their faith and failures. That encourages me, because I have faith, and I have failures. That doesn’t make me unique amongst God’s people. It means that I am one of many with the same tendencies.

Sometimes God’s people can have the best intentions but be totally wrong in what they are doing. Thank God for good intentions, but let’s realize that we all have blind spots, and we need to constantly be checking the direction of God’s pneuma, (wind, Spirit).

A couple of passages about good intentions being off kilter come to mind.

In Matthew 16, verses 13-19, Jesus asked His disciples who He was. After sharing different public opinions about who Jesus was, Peter made his great confession of faith, and said in verse 16: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Peter could not have been more right at that moment, and Jesus explained that this had been a divine revelation right from the Father in heaven.

Ahh…score one for Peter.

Jesus then proceeded to tell them about His coming death by the hand of the Jewish religious rulers.

In verse 22 we read: Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

Good intentions Peter. Peter would be the one to talk Jesus out of going to the cross, (and dying for the sins of mankind). Aren’t you glad that Peter failed on that good intention?

Peter must have felt on top of his game for a moment or two, until verse 23, when Jesus said, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

Oops. Good intentions Peter, but your response was not of God. Time to regroup. Lesson to be learned. Cierra la boca hermano!

Good intentions, but not God’s leading.

Another passage brings Peter to center stage once again.
The setting is the Last Supper, and Jesus has girded Himself with a towel, and demonstrated love and servanthood by washing the feet of eleven of the disciples. Then Jesus comes to Peter to wash his feet.

We read in John 13:8: Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Good intentions Peter. But wait…

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

Peter saw the inappropriateness of Jesus washing His feet, so he tried to stop Jesus from doing this.

Good intentions Peter, but wrong thing to say.

But don’t be alarmed. Peter will quickly correct his mistake. Now he knows what to say…

John 13:9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

Ahh, this time well done Peter. Surely your good intentions are right on this time. If Jesus washing His feet was a good idea, then surely a total bath must be the best idea. Peter was sure that he had corrected the problem.

But wait…

John 13:10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”

Wrong again Peter. You need to let Jesus wash your feet, like He tried to do the first time. You don’t need to have Him give you a total bath though, because He is trying to teach you something.

Peter, good intentions, but not God’s leading.

I can relate. Anyone else?

(Editor’s note)- If you are feeling Peter-ish on a regular basis, don’t be discouraged. Peter was later filled with the Holy Spirit, and went on to change the world.

The secret? Keep checking the wind.

12 Responses so far

Keep checking the pneuma… Good stuff! Sometimes I wish that were a more definite and clear process (checking God’s Spirit). I find myself asking a lot of questions and hoping I’ve heard the right answers. Thank God for His always enduring patience with me! Peace!

How we like to trust the flesh, but how we need the Spirit. What a wonderful gift Jesus has given us, our ever present Helper, our Comforter.

Thanks for the reminder, Bill.

Thank you Father for being so patient with us. Truly Your mercy endures forever…

I certainly relate or as is sometimes said – “resemble” what you are saying here. Except for the mercy and grace of God, I would have no hope at all; Nada, none – Zero!

I wonder if this truth can be stretched from the micro view to a macro view; in other words I wonder if we also have this fault corporately as well. I have wondered if sometimes we evangelicals have good intentions, but we get just a little off point when we participate in the political sphere of our American culture.

Political and religious freedoms are great responsibilities and gifts, and yet I just don’t know how involved we should get in politics? I see lots of good intentions in Christians today, but I don’t recall Jesus talking about “family values”; and how to get Christian laws passed for a kingdom on this earth. On the very political issue of paying taxes Jesus told his followers to render to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and to God the thing which are God’s. I think I need to listen to God’s Spirit a little more so I can better discern where my civic duty should end, and my Christian passion for God and His Word should begin. I do pay my taxes, but only Jesus deserves my heart. I do vote, but only Jesus deserves my heart.

If we Christians focused more on Jesus and His kingdom which is not of this world, maybe more people would want to join us up there. Wouldn’t it be strange to hear a news anchor say something like – we knew they were Christians because they really loved one another.

Larry Norman wrote back in the 60s/70s “Let’s stop marching for peace and start marching for Jesus, and peace will take care of itself”. I don’t think he meant having a Jesus parade, but rather marching as walking, living for Jesus. Marching to God’s drum.

I think we all have our Peter moments. While our good intentions sometimes have poor follow-through, I think it’s important for us to have these foot-in-the-mouth, Peter times.

They teach us just how much we need Jesus to take the reins in our lives. The popular line from ‘Amazing Grace’ pops into mind. “I once was blind, but now I see.” And the only reason we can see is because of Christ. We need to trust Him to lead the way in our lives. Whether in speech, thought, action, or otherwise, we need to give him the reins and let Him lead us.

One of the passages I love the most in the Bible is John 9:38. “‘Pisteuw, Kurie!’ kai prosekunhsen autw” The man, after having been given sight, proclaims “Lord, I believe” and then he worships Jesus.

I think as long as we (or at least I) keep this in mind, we should have less trouble giving the reins over to the One who can see far past what we are able. I need to let Him lead me, a stupid sheep, so I don’t flail around, fall into ditches, and get my wedding garments soiled in the things of this world. I need to let Him do His work and not get in the way (John 13:8, Mathew 16:22).




Good words. That is the exact thought process that I go through on a regular basis.

There are many Christian voices that try to persuade us about the focus of our lives. The trouble is this: they all have some very good and defendable points. If our choices were to be based upon the good recommendation of those good Christian voices, then it would be impossible to make a decision and stick to it. They have good points.

I am thankful that the Lord has a life and a path planned out for me. I need to listen for His voice, and follow the path He has for me. I need to be led by His Spirit for me.

From what you have described, our paths seems quite similar in regards to focus.

I knew I liked you for some reason. 😉


Also, good words. You have expressed yourself well.

How are you live with a mic? What are you doing tomorrow about 11:00 a.m.?


Thanks adronus….I couldn’t agree with you more…

For awhile, we owned horses, but I did not ride. Instead, I enjoyed observing them and learning about their “psychology.” Did you know that horses’ eyes are set on the sides of their heads, which means that in the normal run of things, they see to the side (where they are) and to the back (where they have been) but not to the front (where they are going)? Does that sound familiar? Horses need a rider at the reins to guide them, someone who can look ahead and plan the way forward. Without that, they wander from one clump of grass to the next, and when danger is felt, they just run with the herd – no special direction, just run. To follow a purpose in life, horses need a Master, and so do we.


Great analogy.

Sometimes I feel like my eyes are on the back of my head.


We sure need Jesus, don’t we?

Thanks for sharing.

Hi Bill,

Peter who?…..just kidding.

We’re going through Proverbs in my women’s bible study and just looked at 25:11 on Thursday night.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

Talk about checking the “pneuma”. It’s a word not wasted, pertaining to the person spoken to, aptly fitting in advise and instruction. Or, as one of the commentaries I used said, “A word well set upon the wheels of speech.”

One thing I hope I’ve learned more and more over the last 10 years…I only open my mouth when God says, “Open mouth now.”

This post is truly a Proverbs 25:11

On another note: Chris and I would love to get together with you and Deb soon. There’s so much to talk about.

Have a wonderful Sunday, Bill
and off to church I go.



Deb and I would love to see you and Chris. Since it’s your idea, then I suggest that you guys pick a restaurant, in Napa of course, make reservations, come pick us up, and then pay for dinner.

Debbie and I will be happy to carry the conversation. You and Chris can sit and smile and agree with everything we say.

Or not…. 😉

Great comment Mary. What commentary did you use for that quote. Good word.

We’d to see you guys.

Love in Jesus………Bill & Deb

Yeah Susan, it’s best if you pick….otherwise, you’ll end up at Applebees! 😉

It was a couple different ones on e-sword. I especially like the Keil & Delitzsch Hebrew commentary on the O.T.

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