Thursday, September 12, 2013

Straight Paths

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 your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5,6

Has the Lord ever asked you to do something outrageous? 

Like get out of the boat and walk on water? Or feed thousands of people with a loaf of bread?  Or take a threatening message of destruction to a powerful world leader?  Or leave your family, friends and everything you know to go to a distant land?  Or give the gospel to a man who has hunted you down because of your love for Jesus?

Okay, so let's make this a bit more personal.  Has He ever asked you to deny yourself?  Or to submit to your husband?  Or to return a blessing for evil?  Or to pray for your enemies?  Or to forgive when the wound is still fresh? Or to spend time with Him daily when life is so busy you hardly have time to spend with yourself?

I have some sweet words for you today, ones that will soothe your soul.  So stop, take a deep breath, release and read the verse above.  It's okay if you've already read it, read it again.

We live in a world that bombards us with messages contrary to Proverbs 3:5, 6.  It tells you that your own understanding is all you need to survive:  Trust your instincts.  Follow your gut.  What's your heart telling you? But God in His Word explains to us that our understanding has been darkened by sin and our natural instincts are for death, not life.

Dave and I just came back from a vacation in Italy.  If I am anything, I am consistent and here's something you might not know about me - I am directionally challenged.  I consistently head the wrong direction when left to my own senses.  If you tell me to go north, I'll head south - no doubt, unless I have some kind of directions in front of me.  We would be walking in Rome and Dave would say, "Let's go back to the Spanish Steps." I'd turn left as he turned right.  His sense of direction is almost a spiritual gift - seriously, it's supernatural how he can find things.  He gets a sense for direction and just goes.  Me...not so much.

As we were sitting in Detroit waiting for our last flight home, we were at our gate and it was probably 90 minutes before one of the attendants would come and man the counter, and because we had just arrived from Rome, we still needed to get seat assignments.  Instead of waiting until right before the flight, I announced to Dave I would go find a Delta information counter and get our boarding passes.  So I got up, turned left and walked all the way to the end of the terminal - no counter.  I came back and told Dave we were out of luck and would have to wait.  He shook his head, got up, turned right and was back with the passes in about 5 minutes.  At one point he started to ask me, "Why did you go that wa..." and stopped. He knows by now there's no explanation for my sense of direction.

So guess what?  I have GPS in my car.  I have this little button I can push to show me North, South, East or West.  And I have a husband who navigates a majority of the time.

Now, you might laugh at me but here's the connection - our sin nature makes our ability to understand life and make decisions about as successful as me finding the Delta counter. There were times that Dave would say, "Turn here" and it made no sense to me at all, but then all of a sudden we were at the Spanish Steps!  It's a lame picture, but that's the best I have this morning.  

We are called to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and follow Him.  Acknowledge Him - recognize that He has instructions for us and then act on them.  We are told not to trust ourselves and our own understanding - even just believing that statement can be hard!  But He loves us and knows what is best for us - He knows the best path to walk on and if you set your eyes on your Lord and Savior, your life will be much different than one where you follow your gut.  

And by the way, you cannot trust the Lord or acknowledge Him without being in His Word.  Don't sit in your chair, waiting to hear the still, small voice - let the Word of God permeate through your life by immersing yourself in and marinating in His book to you.  Too often I have had women say the Lord told them something that is completely contrary to the Word - what is going on? We do not need to be lazy here - get in the Word and get going! (Okay, done with the Momma Wisen rant...)

So when God says to deny yourself, don't lean on your own understanding or what the world has ingrained in you - acknowledge that His way is the straight way and choose to obey.  When He tells you to submit or pray or bless or forgive, choose to obey.  Give your ways to the Lord and see where it takes you.

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