Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions. (Airing daily on Hope 103.2 and Inspire Digital at 9am)
In Part 1, I referred to Proverbs 19:21: “We may make a lot of plans, but the Lord will do what he has decided.” I am talking about finding your way: what happens when you get lost.
Your life is going to feel empty and meaningless. Why? Because we want to go one way and God wants us to go another. When that happens, we end up losing our way, going the wrong way, and being in conflict with God’s will for our lives. I would rather much find out which way he wants for my life in the first place.
It’s kind of like when a guy gets out a leash and takes his dog for a walk. The dog is forever running all over the place, running first this way and then that. He’ll get himself wrapped up around trees and poles. Is that dog going to go anywhere other than where his master takes him? No. All that dog accomplishes is getting a sore neck hurt and frustrating his master. The Bible says, “In his heart, a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”
It would be much easier if we’d just figure out where God is heading and decide that’s where we want to go. In fact, that’s what Proverbs 16:3 tells us: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
That echoes what Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognise Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)
If we commit to the Lord all that we do, God will make our plans succeed, and he will make our road easier because our road will be a straight line. That’s not to say everything will go smoothly without any bumps in the road. Of course, there will be.
Walking On A Straight Road
Did you study algebra in school? I’m going to ask you an algebra kind of question (but even if you never took algebra you should know the answer! What’s the shortest distance between two points? A straight line. God says he’ll make your paths straight. He says: You go where I want you to go, and the road will be straight!
Abraham Lincoln once said, “No one ever got lost on a straight road.” On a straight road, there’s only one direction to worry about. There may be little side roads and diversions and rest stops along the way, but as long as you walk along that straight road, you’ll always know where you’re going. That is as long as you stay on the road. But, what if you got ‘off the road’ somehow? What if you took a side trip and messed things up? Could God fix that?
Yes, he can! When a person seeks to honour God in his life, if he trusts God will all of his heart, and leans on God’s way of thinking and if he looks to God in what he does, Proverbs 16:4 tells us, “The Lord works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster.” In other words: Even if we mess up—when we belong to God—God will work it out. And I find that very encouraging.
One man explained it this way: If God wants 10 and all we can manage to give him is seven, he supplies the other three. If all we can give him is five, he supplies the other five.
This is what Romans 8:28 tells us: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Notice, that the passage above doesn’t say all things are good. And it doesn’t say all things are brought about by God.
It doesn’t matter whether the things in our lives are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Or if the things that happen in your life are from God, or from your foolish choices. It doesn’t matter. Because whatever we give God—whatever pitiful or pathetic things we may offer him—If we love him and belong to him, he promises he will work with that for the good of those who love him. For those whom he has called.
But, without God guiding you, you might think you know where you want to go, but the destination won’t be some place you would like ending up being.
The S Word Many People Live By
Someone once described how many of us live, all to do with ‘S’ words:
- Self and Success
- Success in our careers
- Success in what we own—cars, clothes, houses
- Success in how others see us—status
- Success in how we view ourselves
- Success for me.
Jesus said that if we build our lives around that thinking, all we’re going to have is despair and disappointment. If those are our goals, our lives will be empty. Jesus said:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy; and where thieves do not break in and destroy. Matthew 6:19-20
You can’t hang onto those things. The things of this earth are going to rust, decay or get lost and stolen. There’s nothing in that this world values that is going to last. But, Jesus said, if you want what you need in this world, then you must “…seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” Matthew 6:33
That’s the only way to be sure you’ll live a life that will have meaning and value. Everything else will eventually bring you disappointment and despair.
One of the reasons people without God get dissatisfied with their lives is because their goal in life is all about being successful. And thus they do whatever they have to attain that success. That often means they take advantage of others, or mistreat others to reach their goal. That ends up creating obstacles for their lives. Enemies who don’t like them, who do whatever they can to hurt them and trip them up.
Now, granted—most of us are going to have enemies, people that don’t like us. But God promises us that “When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.” Proverbs 16:7
But Jesus took this a little further: “I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28
When we do that, God will make even our enemies be at peace with us. It’s extremely hard to keep hating someone who is good to you.