I’m discovering that there are so many ways to be your own stumbling block. I’d like to share with you five questions I’ve been thinking about lately. They may be questions you might want to consider as well.
Question number one: Do I trust God or do I lean to my own understanding?
Question number two: Do I keep my commitments?
Question number three: Do I waver back and forth?
Question number four: Am I obedient?
Question number five: Do I love God and others extravagantly?
Today, Let’s take a closer look at question number one: Do I trust God or do I lean to my own understanding? In 2nd Corinthians the 11th chapter, the Apostle Paul tells us there are those who are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, he says, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light, though in reality he is the prince of darkness. That’s why I have to make sure that I remain grounded in God’s Word. I can’t read everybody’s book on religion. I can’t listen to every person’s philosophy about life and truth. I can’t even lean to my own understanding because I have limited knowledge apart from God. I don’t see the entire picture. I see in part. Therefore, I know in part.
It’s too easy to get all lifted up in pride because of our intellect and think that we know when we don’t know. And if you and I aren’t careful, Satan’s beguiling, sneaky, tricky ways will deceive us into not trusting God. The enemy wants us to believe that there is no God. And for those of us who know that God exists, the devil tries to convince us that perhaps what we read in God’s Word is not completely true, it does not pertain to us, or that God doesn’t have our best interest at heart. We must choose to believe that God does have all power, is all knowing, is everywhere at the same time, and will uphold his Word to perform it.
We must trust that God loves us more than we love ourselves. We must believe that God did send His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us and set us free from the power of the enemy, so we could have an abundant life here, and live an eternal life of love. We must not sabotage our lives by listening to others who are well meaning but lean to their own understanding, doing what’s right according to what they think is right in their own minds. Why is this important?
Well, most people think that their way is the right way of doing things. However, if we lean to our own understanding, we will most assuredly make a mistake, since we are missing key information. We only see one side of the situation… our side; our view point.
Well, let me tell you what happened back on Mt. Carmel with Elijah and the false prophets. Remember, the contest was to see whether Baal or Almighty God was the true God. The agreement was that the true God would rain fire from heaven. Baal’s prophets set up their altar with their bull on it and cried out to Baal from morning to noon, begging him to answer. When of course there was no response, they began slashing themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. After keeping that up until evening, Elijah then said to all the people, “Come here to me.” He built a 12 stone altar in the name of the Lord and dug a ditch around it. Then he arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. He told the people, fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood. “Do it again,” he said. “Do it a third time.” They did so, until the water ran down the altar and filled the trench. Then Elijah prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am our servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. And the people shouted that God was the true God. At Elijah’s directions, they grabbed the false prophets that had been leading them astray, took them out and killed them.
Just as Israel’s execution of the 850 false prophets was a demonstration of what they believed, What we actually believe or do not believe is revealed on a daily basis by the decisions we make. Do you do what you do because you believe it’s honorable and necessary? That it’s right? Based on truth? Do you demonstrate that you really want a better life? What are you doing to prove it? Are you satisfied with life just the way it is or do you want more, much more? Now here’s the million-dollar question. Do you actually believe that God’s Word can make situations in your life better or are you sitting back like the Israelites, saying nothing and waiting for a show of God’s power before you will be energized to move out on his Word?
Well, let’s see if we can find some modern examples of God’s show of love and power. Remember when the plane went down in the Hudson River and not one soul was lost? Okay, here’s another one. My cousin was driving home recently, fell asleep behind the wheel and lost control of the car. The car turned over three times. She walked away without an injury. So you say that that’s not a Mt. Carmel moment? Well, how about this past fall, when the mother from London forgot to put the brakes on her baby’s stroller, and the stroller rolled off the train platform onto the tracks a couple of seconds before the train came barreling down the tracks? The train ran over the baby and the baby only ended up with a little bump. If you don’t think that those incidences are enough to convince you that God is the true and living God and he is a God of love, how about all of the times He has rescued you, kept you, provided for you, watched over you, and healed you? And if you stop sabotaging your life and let him have every area of your life, He will show you the biggest miracle of all. I believe that He will change you just like He has changed me!
He will make you a kinder, gentler, giving, and more peaceful person. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself not just happy, which is temporary anyway, depending on your circumstance; but he will give you an abiding joy and hope. He will make your life exciting. He will make ‘forgiving the unforgiveable’ possible. There are many people who can testify that God has changed them from being fearful, negative, and unable to make up their minds, to being faithful, honest, trustworthy people with integrity. They will testify that the Holy Spirit came to live inside of them and did what others thought was impossible to do. I can tell you from personal experience that Almighty God has changed my thinking, repeatedly healed my heart, and transformed my decisions, lining them up with His Word and His plans for my life. It’s the great changes that I’ve seen in my character that has convinced me that God is real and He is a God of love. I am not the same person that I was before I gave Christ my life.
Please repeat: Lord, help me to trust you and not lean to my own understanding. I don’t want to sabotage my life.
The next time we get together, we will talk about how God is teaching me the importance of being committed. Until then, I’ve decided to trust God. How about you? It’s the best way to enjoy the journey.
Until then, please don’t sabotage your life!