Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t know what to do? Have you ever wanted to have a better life, but you didn’t know how to make it happen? Have you ever felt like you have lost your way, that you were in a rut, or you needed to start over?
I did a quick search on Amazon, which yielded a list of their top 1939 self help books. These books sell because people want to know how to have a better life. They want to be happier, and more successful. They want to find a new direction that will bring fulfillment to their lives.
I am certain that some of these books have insights that might help a person advance in a particular field, or to help them feel better about themselves. The truth is that learning principles in secular books may help you in some area, but no one is going to be complete and fulfilled apart from an active personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said you must be born again. Your outlook and worldview must move towards an understanding of God and His will.
At this stage of my life I understand that the fruits of the Spirit are what really complete me. In Galatians 5:22 we read, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (All biblical quotes are from the 1984 NIV.) There is only one self-help book in the world that can tell you how to bring these qualities into your life, and that is the word of God.
Our problem is that even Christians have struggles and challenges same as lost people. We live in a world filled with trouble and hardship. You cannot go through this life without being disappointed, and discouraged at times. What we need is a clear statement that gives us hope and direction, something from Scripture to instruct us, and keep us on the right track. For me one such passage is found in Proverbs 3:5-6.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
We find the context for this passage in the first six verses of chapter two. “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
Solomon was arguably the wisest man who ever lived. He instructed his son, and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he instructs us, that if we want to know the wisdom of God, we have to seek Him, and His wisdom, understanding that it is more valuable, and precious, than anything the world could offer.
In this context, look again at verse 5. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” How much of your heart is all? Trust is synonymous with faith. We say we were saved when we first believed, and then placed our faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our sins on the cross. However, salvation is only the beginning of our walk with the Lord. If we trust the Lord with our eternal salvation, why is it sometimes so difficult to trust Him with our daily challenges, and circumstances? Why is it that in our pride we sometimes think that we can make the right decisions without the Lord’s help?
Solomon wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and, lean not on your own understanding.” We teach our children, and make sure they get a good education, so that they will be prepared for life, and are able to make the right decisions. We want them to make good choices so that they can have the very best life possible and hopefully enjoy a better life than we have had. We work hard to advance at our jobs, and to learn as much as possible, so that we can be valuable employees, or successful business people. All of this is good, and even necessary in order for us to advance. But, no one will be truly successful, and fulfilled, without the Lord’s hand of blessing over them. He sees the whole picture in ways we cannot, and He has the power and the will to bless us.
A person may become rich by his or her own efforts, but does that guarantee their happiness? A person may become a king, or the leader of the free world, but does that insure peace, or righteousness in their personal life? Will it automatically produce goodwill, joy, and harmony within their family?
Rather than getting all puffed up about how great we are, the bible says that we are to in all our ways acknowledge Him. Humble yourself before God and acknowledge Him. Recognize your need for Him, and His hand upon your life. Agree with and pursue His revealed will for your life. Trust Him with daily decisions. Trust Him when everything moves smoothly, and trust Him when life is totally out of your control.
If we will be faithful to trust the Lord in every area of our lives, the promise of God’s word is that He will make our paths straight. He protects us and provides for us. When we trust the Lord with all of our hearts, He will guide us so that we don’t get off the path of His will for our lives. Sometimes God’s will does not align with the things we desire in our flesh, but following His will always leads us to the very best life possible under our circumstances.
So the question we have to ask ourselves is, “Do I trust the Lord with all my heart, with every part of my life, and with every circumstance I encounter?” Even in the challenges that you might be facing right now, will you trust God enough to allow His power and His love into your life? Will you invite Him to help you to work through your troubles? Do you trust God enough to do what He is telling you to do, through His word, and by His Spirit?
I want to point out that the bible does not guarantee instant gratification. Circumstances change over time, and if time passes with our complete trust in the Lord, He will straighten out our paths and a set our course to the center of God’s will. As I have said many times, there is no better place to be, than in the center of God’s will.