CAN YOU TRUST IN GOD AND BELIEVE IN YOURSELF?


question-mark3aPROVERBS 3:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct[a] your paths.

Statements you hear in encouragement:
Whatever you can conceive and believe, you can achieve.                    If it is God’s will, He will make a way.                                                   You just have to learn how to believe in yourself.                              God has a plan for your life. You just have to keep pressing in until He reveals it to you.
So now what?

Do you place all of your trust in God and believe He will show you the path, or do you strike out on your own and hope it lines up with God’s plan? If you’re waiting for the plan to unfold, what do you do in the meantime? Do you live a life of self-deprecation, belittling every minor and major accomplishment that you achieve, or do you sit idly by, waiting for the next big move to be revealed? The obvious answer for most Christians is simple. Do what you feel led by the Holy Spirit to do and give God all of the glory for all of the positive outcomes.

But how do you react to the negative outcomes?

Everyone makes mistakes. Even those who trust in God. No human is infallible. The Bible is full of imperfect humans. They made mistakes. They learned their lessons well, continued on with their lives—some with dire consequences– and still placed their trust in God. Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jonah and King David come quickly to mind. All were great men (and women) of God, but got sidetracked and took their own course of action instead of following God’s plan for their lives. We really don’t know exactly what was going through their minds at their lowest point, except for what the Bible tells us. Self- doubt, self-loathing, and self-justification would all be expected. The Psalms of David probably give us the clearest glimpse into the psyche of a man at his lowest point from a first hand perspective. And yet, like Job, his trust in God remained steadfast. These stories are great reminders that God forgives us no matter how disobedient, or self-serving we may be at times. All of these individuals were either created, or chosen, by God for a particular task and it was abundantly clear to them what that task was.

Still, the question remains, how do we know what God’s plan for our life is, and how do we know if we’re on the right track?

Now we reach the conundrum. How do we trust in God to lead us on the right path, if we are unsure about what we believe? Or, more clearly put, if we don’t believe in ourselves, how can we trust what we believe to be truth, and subsequently, how can we trust in God if we do not trust our own judgment?
Simply saying, “The Bible says it, I believe it,” is almost irresponsible. And yet, that is what we are told to think. This leads to a whole gambit of doctrinal interpretations and to the charismatic leadership who waxes eloquent to promote their particular brand of theology, “guilting” followers into their ideology. What one ‘group’ says is accurate interpretation, another denies completely. How can we learn to trust God in all aspects of our lives, if we are constantly being told that we should not “lean on our own understanding?” In other words, don’t try to understand it, just trust it. You don’t need to think about God, you just need to believe and trust God. But how do you place your trust in someone you don’t know?

It has been said, in a variety of ways, that trusting in God is much like turning on a light in your house. You may not have an intricate knowledge of electricity, but when you flip the switch, you expect the light to come on. If the light doesn’t come on, most people don’t stand in the middle of the room crying out, “What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do?” They know that they have lost a connection somewhere. Most people will start to troubleshoot the problem immediately by changing the light bulb. If that doesn’t work, they may get a “how-to” manual and try to fix the problem themselves. They will learn, from the instructions, how to turn their room from darkness to light. The instruction manual was written by a master and they trust that master to give them the direction they need to make things right again. They read and follow the instructions, trusting the writer, using their own abilities, and restore the light. Why is this so much different than trusting God and believing in yourself?

God has given us a set of instructions in the Bible. Yes, we have to trust God. And we have to believe that God will do what He says He will do. The only way to build that trust is to read the instruction manual and practice living the directions. We also have to believe in ourselves. If we don’t trust ourselves, how can we trust anyone else, including God? God will give us the abilities, and the desire, to fulfil our purpose for Him. But you can’t learn from a mentor you’ve never met. You have to spend time with Him. The information in the manual will tell you who He is, what He is like, what He expects, and what the rewards are for working closely with Him. It is like reading someone’s personal diary, detailing his love and heartbreaks, his wonder and disappointments, intimate details of who he really is and how he thinks, and his instruction on how to best become more like him. He gave us a teacher in Jesus, and a tutor (so to speak) in the Holy Spirit. By reading the textbook, listening to the teacher, and calling on the tutor to help us understand the more difficult lessons, we can learn to trust God and believe in the abilities that God has given to us.

We can trust God AND believe (trust) in ourselves.

©  Simply Consider This, 2015.

THE MAN’S PRAYER


redplnt

The man’s prayer

I’m a man.  I can change. 

If I have to. 

I guess.
–The Red Green Show

How often do we pray this prayer?  Maybe not in those words but in that spirit? And this really doesn’t have to apply only to men. Women are as guilty as men.  We want things to be different but are we really willing to take the steps to make that difference?  Are we really willing to change something, anything, about us to give us the desired results?  Whether it’s diet, exercise, negativity, smoking, drinking, drug use or abuse, or studying the Word of God and prayer, we can find more reasons not to than to do the things we want to accomplish.
The Apostle Paul said, “ I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)  If it was that difficult for one of these Apostles which we venerate as “Supermen of the Faith” then why would it be any easier for us?  Oh sure, Paul just sat around in his jail and wrote letters, how hard could that be to make a change in his life? Paul was also headstrong, somewhat arrogant at times and did not like it when someone disagreed with him.  He had as many things to change as the next guy.

MRI of the Human brain.
So where do these changes take place?  The place most of us will start is in the mind.  We have to make a conscious decision to take the necessary steps to achieve our goals.  These decisions are made in the mind, will and emotions. These changes are also in our vision.  How do you see yourself?  Can we see ourselves doing, or not doing, whatever it is that is holding onto us?  You have to change your mind to change your vision.
Romans 12:2 says, ”And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Well, that’s all fine and good, but how do you renew your mind?  Do you take it to a repair shop and get it refurbished?  In a sense, yes.  You can go on through life with the same mindset or you can CHANGE your mind.  Just how do you do that?  My mind is made up.
Colossians 3:2 says, “ Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Romans 8:5 says,  “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
The more you read the Word, the more you understand.  The more you understand will get you that much closer to God, and the closer you get to God, the less you want to do those things you don’t want to do.  It wont make you lose weight, but it will take away a lot of baggage you’ve been carrying around.  And, with enough practice at training your mind on the things of God, it will give you the courage to change, little by little, day by day, into the you that God has created you to be.

©  Simply Consider This, 2013.