Going to God for the right answers

Published 8:38 am Friday, August 30, 2019

The Apostle Paul states in Galatians 1:15-17, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.” I find it interesting that once Paul was called by God to preach the gospel of Christ, he did not seek out other apostles or disciples of Christ for conference; rather, he went straight to the source. He went before the Lord. He had lived life previously as Saul of Tarsus. Before his conversion on the road to Damascus, he persecuted and murdered many Christians, but God spoke to him as blinding light from Heaven.
After this conversion experience, Paul went straight to God for all the answers. The significance is that the gospel Paul preached wasn’t something simply regurgitated from his teachers. It came to him directly from the Lord. I have given this much thought. Paul did not look to his own understanding for answers. The Bible says in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Paul realized he could not comprehend what God was doing in his life. It is so easy to try to understand what is going on around us and try to make sense of it. If we can’t seem to do that, we seek help from others around us. We look to others for advice and answers. We, as humans, try to have all the answers. The serpent tempted Adam and Eve with the very same thing that got him booted out of heaven, telling them in essence, “You can and will be like God. There is no reason to trust God any longer because you can be like God yourself.” This was the great temptation in the Garden of Eden. It was more than taking a bite of fruit. It was humankind wanting to be God, listening to the serpent over their Creator and “believing in themselves” more than trusting God’s direction.
The fundamental statement Jesus gave us about following Him was not for us to “believe in ourselves” but the exact opposite — “deny yourself.” This denial is more than letting go of some dream or desire. The call is to deny our whole selves, all our natural motives and impulses that conflict with the claims of Christ. In fact, He goes even further to say that we must “take up our cross,” which is an instrument of death. So, are we supposed to believe in ourselves? No, we’re supposed to die to ourselves! “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
Faith in its purest form is believing in God rather than believing in myself. When I attempt to “believe in myself” by being in control, it actually causes me to suffer from stress, worry and anxiety because I am trying to do a job that is way above my pay grade. Being in control is a God-sized job. Therefore, my only job is to trust God to do His job knowing that He is very, very good at it. The most dangerous “flesh and blood” one can confer with is one’s own. It is not enough to be independent of others; in matters of truth one must be independent of one’s self. Psalm 118:8 says, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”
We have an incredibly complex nervous system constantly sending information to your brain. By some estimates, your sensory systems — sight, touch, smell, hearing, taste, and balance — send approximately 11 million bits of information to your brain every second. But even this is an unfathomably, infinitesimally small slice of the physical realm around us. So, there is a lot going on around us that we are physically and mentally unable to take in, and it is impossible to process our world correctly. We need to confer with God to truly understand what we must do!
God is also the one who understands your past and future. He understands you, and what is going on around you. You can trust what he has to say! He has intrinsic knowledge of your weaknesses and strengths. The Lord will protect you yet challenge you to grow in your Christian walk. Finally, God will lead you along a path that will fulfill His plans for your life. He is the one who knows the direction you are to follow and will lead accordingly.
So, how do you begin? Here are three basic steps for receiving direction and wisdom from God.
1. Acknowledge that God is the answer and holds the answer to all of life. God is the source of wisdom for all things. Realize that He not only has the answer, He is the answer. Proverbs 2:6 and 9 states, “For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding… Then you will understand what is right and just and fair — every good path.”
2. Pray and ask for God’s wisdom. How can you be sure God will answer when you ask Him? James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” So simply ask for it!
3. Check your decision against God’s Word. James 3:15-17 provides the characteristics of true godly wisdom: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” Have the courage to ask yourself whether your choice meets these qualifications for God’s wisdom, or whether there are still any outside influences directing your path.
(The Solutions Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Association, Hampton).

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