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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Know it alls unite!

5-6 Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
   he's the one who will keep you on track.
(Proverbs 3:5-6)

The very next verse in this same passage goes on to say, "Don't assume you know it all."  The common theme I hear from other Christians is how much they struggle with "knowing the will of God" for their lives.  Our passage gives us insight into getting "connected" to the will of God.  First, there is a development of a trust relationship with the God we serve.  Next, we have to stop relying on what we can "reason out" in our own minds.  Then, we have to truly begin to listen to the still small voice of God - no just some of the time, but in all we do and in every decision we make.  The promise is that God will help us stay on the right course in our lives if we do.

Psalm 32:8 tells us that God "looks us straight in the eyes" and gives us the good advice that we need to make the decisions of our day.  He will teach or counsel those that place their lives in his hands for his control.  There are conditions to getting his guidance, though.  Here are just a few:
  • We need to "make a clean breast of our failures" with God - in other words, we confess our sins, have them forgiven (hidden in Christ), and get our spirit in alignment with his.  (Psalm 32:1-7)
  • Allow the Word of God to expose our rebellion, show us the truth, correct our mistakes, and train us to live God's way.  As we continue in the Word (really spending time getting to see what is contained within the pages of the Word), we are allowing it to train us.  In this way, we are becoming equipped for every good work God has in store for us.  (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
  • We need to seek God's guidance in incorporating his commandments (the wise counsel of the Word) into our lives - it may not be plain to us why we have the commandments of God, so we need his assistance in understanding how we incorporate them without rebellion.  In other words, we are allowing the Word of God to become a counselor in our lives. (Psalm 119:35)
  • There needs to be a daily renewal of our mind - no longer conforming to every whim and fancy this world promotes as the "next best thing".  We have to take our daily, everyday type of decisions/choices before God and ask him what he thinks about them.  It is a difficult thing to resist the ease of "adjusting to our culture" instead of establishing the culture of God in our hearts.  (Romans 12:1-2)
  • One thing we often lack in our lives (and often don't connect with knowing and acting on the will of God) is the idea of cultivating a spirit of gratitude (thankfulness).  We may not see how this connects with getting to know the will of God, but when we begin to be truly thankful for the blessings of God, the challenges God allows, and the ability to seek him for the answers, we are on the road to discovering his will on a more consistent basis.  As a matter of fact, God honors this kind of consistently grateful heart - with his presence.  What better guidance could we have in our lives than the consistent presence of God? (Colossians 3:15-17)
These are but a few of the ways we can discover in scripture that give us insight into cultivating the presence of God, understanding his plans for our lives, and living above the influence of our culture.  All are key to discovering the will of God.  All help us to avoid the trap of "thinking we know it all".  Knowing the will of God is not hard, but it does require "consistency".  Consistency in seeking; consistency in discovering; consistency in engrafting the Word; consistency in renewing our minds.  Without consistency, we lack what we need to really "walk in the will of God".