Leaning into God’s Wisdom

April 29, 2020

Proverbs 3:5–8

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Famous last words: “I know what the Bible says but…”

God requires faith as the vehicle through which we enter into relationship with God. That faith is defined as the process of believing there is a God and He loved you enough to die for you just so He could have a relationship with you. You didn’t know everything about the process of salvation but you decided to entertain the thoughts of God in your mind. What if? What if I became a believer? What if there really is a God who loves me? Could I know Him?

Remember when Andrew and John first met Jesus? They asked him, “Where are you staying?” and he responded with “come and see.” Jesus invited them to investigate him, to get to know him and eventually they placed their faith in Him.

Jesus invites us to do the same.

One day Jesus is teaching in the temple and people began to question his teaching because it is so radically different from their works based religion that they had fallen into. And basically their question was, how can we trust what you are telling us when we don’t really know if it is true?

John 7:14-17

(14)  About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching.

(15)  The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?”

(16)  So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.

(17)  If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

Jesus says, the way you experience the kind of faith that changes your life and allows you to become a child of God is to be willing.

Willing to believe if you can know the truth? Yes. Willing to do what God wants you to do? Yes. Jesus is making a proposition with the unbeliever. It goes like this:

If there is really a God you would want to know Him and do the things He wants you to do – right?

Jesus says before you ever believe you choose to be willing to do what God says to do. “God if you are out there I will surrender my life to you and do whatever you want me to do. Just let me know that it is true?”

This formula has worked for every person who has ever come to know God. But to the person who says “even if there is a God I will not submit to Him” there is no truth revealed.

But to the people who say, “I don’t have that kind of faith” I can say, oh yes you do… You have plenty of faith, it is just directed towards the wrong person. You have plenty of faith in yourself, in your own intellect, in your own understanding, even in your own ability to control your own future. God says, “Take the faith you already have and redirect it towards me.” Trust not in your own understanding…

Jesus said “I will never leave you or forsake you” – I can be trusted… so try me?

 



Trust and Character

April 28, 2020

Proverbs 3:5–8

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

If you can’t trust people you will never be able to have a good relationship with people. If you can’t trust God you will never have the wonderful fellowship with God that He desires for you.

Now there are all kinds of reasons why you can’t trust other people but I’m only going to give you two:

You can’t trust people because of:

  1. Who they are – they’ve let you down before…
  2. Who you are – You let people down all the time, you even let yourself down.

So, we have learned not to trust.

The more people have let you down the harder it is for you to trust people.

The worse you have behaved in your own life the harder it is to trust other people.

But trust is the essence of relationships. If you are married and you don’t trust your spouse… what kind of marriage is that going to be? For marriage to work correctly you have to be able to trust your spouse and you need to be trustworthy yourself.

Trust and character go hand in hand. A person who has exhibited strong personal character is a person you can trust. Character is defined as the ability to do what God says is right even if doing right will cost you.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree.” Our character is much more than just what we try to display for others to see, it is who we are even when no one is watching. Good character is doing the right thing because it is right to do what is right.

Character can be defined as the oil of relationship. A car engine is built to exacting standards, having parts that work together in perfect harmony. But as the car is running the parts produce friction and that friction produces heat and eventually the parts that were made to fit together end up tearing each other apart. A new car engine can run smoothly without oil for about 60 seconds. A relationship without character is like an engine without oil. Heat and friction will eventually ruin it, but character will reduce the heat and eliminate the friction and allow the relationship to continue smoothly.

Solomon links trusting God and turning away from evil in the same discussion because they go hand in hand. Trusting God is not just relying on Him when you get into trouble or when trials come. Trusting God means that we trust His teaching to be true. His laws and His precepts are to be trusted because as we follow them and keep them and make them the guiding principles in our life we become trustworthy as well. We become people of character.

Remember, character is not about knowing the truths, it is in doing the things God commands.  Trusting God is building your character and that is making you trustworthy as well.

 

 



Submission Proceeds Direction

April 27, 2020

Proverbs 3:5

(5)  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

This week we are talking about trust. Not just trusting God for salvation, but trusting God to direct our life in every day situations. Yes, I can trust him to take me to heaven when I die but can I trust him guide me here on earth, to direct me when I am faced with all the choices I need to make in the here and now. Solomon says when faced with a decision, lean hard into the Lord – his wisdom, his understanding, his advice…

Submission proceeds direction

Now Solomon is one of the few individuals who probably could have just bypassed this option because he already knew everything – God had given him incredible knowledge and wisdom and understanding… and he could have decided he didn’t need God but what does he say? Lean into God…

Here is what happens to me… I know a lot about the Bible but I have this tendency (and you do too) to make decisions based on MY experience.

When this happened I did this… then I did this and I, I, I…  My first reaction is quite often what MY experience has taught me. I’m learning not to do that but it is difficult!

Solomon says “I know it’s hard – don’t do that!”  Do not lean on your own understanding. That doesn’t mean we can’t have understanding, or learn from mistakes and experience etc., but Solomon says in spite of all that, don’t think you are so smart you don’t need to lean into God’s wisdom.

However, the wisest man in the world goes on to say in verse 6:

Proverbs 3:6a

(6)  In all your ways acknowledge him,

All what ways? Acknowledge God in all your getting stuck ways, in your all relationship ways, in all your job ways in all your recreation ways, in your entertainment ways… in how many ways? In ALL your ways acknowledge HIM.

And what does He promise to do if we acknowledge HIM? Look at verse 6:

Proverbs 3:6b

and he will make straight your paths.

As a result: He will make the way clear, or make clear your way to go, He will give you the clear path you should take. People come to me as pastor at the point where they have a big mess and they only have two or three options and all of them are bad and they ask me what should I do?

And I can easily tell them what they should have done 4 years ago or 8 years ago and that would have changed their direction to where they never would have gotten to this point but that is not my job at that moment. Hindsight is 20/20 and we all can look back and see clearly… that’s why the God who knows the future can say to you and me:

“Would you please work with me to keep you out of those situations where you have two or three options and none of them are good? When the eggs are so scrambled that you just have to start over? Because if you do, I acknowledge ME in all your ways I will make clear which pathways you are supposed to take.”

We don’t need more information we need more submission.

We all have information we don’t pay attention to.

Submission proceeds direction

 




Daily Devotions 2020