How many times have you regretted an important decision you have made? I suspect if you think about it, you will recall something you said, a poorly thought-out choice, how you handled an argument, a business transaction, or something you should have said or done but let the opportunity pass. While we can receive forgiveness for these mistakes, errors in judgments, and sins, we cannot undo what has been done.
As I am writing this message to you, I can easily recall several instances in which I wish I had made wiser decisions in things I said or did not say, business transactions, etc., etc. I realize that much of my failures in these areas resulted from my rush to get things done rather than slowing down to think deeply and prayerfully about the situation. Sometimes I have been too eager to accept the counsel and advice of others because it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. If I’m really honest about these failures, it’s because I have been too eager to trust my own judgment or that of others. There is a strong element of pride in this approach to living. Decisions that exclude God and his wisdom result in hurt and disrupt our relationship with Him.
The focus of this blog will be on Proverbs 3: 5-7. “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. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”
Am I wiser than God? This is the question that Proverbs 3:5-7 raises for us. Will I put my trust in the all-wise God and creator of the universe or will I live my life according to my very limited understanding of reality? This is an intended sharp contrast in my options! My way or God’s way? We saw this issue play out in the Garden of Eden, and the prideful choice of Adam and Eve has brought disastrous results on all the human race to this very day.
There’s an old country saying about this kind of attitude and behavior that Momma said to me a few times as I was growing up, ” You’re getting too big for your britches (pants).” She wasn’t warning me about outgrowing my jeans, she was telling me I was crossing a forbidden line with her. She was the boss and I was the child. She had the authority to make the rules and my job was to obey her, it was as simple as that.
What was my problem? Was it her rules? Was she being too harsh or unkind? She was a very good and caring mother. The problem was my attitude, my thinking that I was smarter than her and that I could run my own life and ignore her rules. It was the same problem that showed its ugly head in Eden and has continued to infest the heart of every human being that has ever lived.
The problem of pride. The human heart is prideful, selfish, and basically self-destructive to our own well-being. God’s rules and ways, his will are the best thing that could ever happen to us. Yet, deep down we resist it. At the very center of our being we struggle with the issue of who or what will direct our path in life. A major outcome of conversion to Jesus through repentance and faith is the breaking of the hold that pride has on us. But, God is not finished at this point. He wants to continue to help us put aside our arrogance and self-sufficiency and to grow us to be ” conformed to the image of Christ.” Romans 8:29.
I recently asked my granddaughter how I could pray for her as she pursued her college degree. Her reply was, ” That I can find direction for my vocation.” I quoted these words to this young woman I love so deeply, ” “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. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”
So, what’s the problem with pride? Each of us should have a sense of “pride” that we are created in God’s image and that we are a child of the Most High God. We need to have a deep respect for the person we are created to be. This should motivate us to become all God created us to be. But, we realize the source of our blessings and accomplishments is God. We live humbly and thankfully, giving him the rightful praise he deserves. This is not the biblical idea of sinful pride.
1. Pride is an attitude of rebellion, a usurping of God’s rule and authority in our lives. It is “leaning on our own understanding,” trusting in our self for life’s direction, and making important choices without stopping to consult God. Basically, this means we are playing “god” in our life.
2. Pride is a presumption of knowing what we don’t know. Pride is a sign of overwhelming ignorance. We are not in control of life. The conditions of our lives can change in the blink of an eye. An accident, illness, death, the loss of a job, or other unexpected things can unravel our most cherished plans. So, let’s be careful in our planning to acknowledge God and not live with the prideful presumption that we are somehow in charge of the universe. James cautions us to keep this in mind in 4:15-16 when he, “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that. But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.”
The wisdom of seeking wisdom. The promise God makes is a life-changing one. If we make the choice to trust him without reservation, without trying to get our way over his, he will guide us in the direction we should go. If we really want the truth, to know what is best to do in our particular situation, he will provide the answer we seek. He may have already answered your question in the clear teaching of the Bible. So, start there. His answer may come through a change in circumstances or through the counsel of a friend. Be open to and expecting direction from the Lord and act in faith in that direction. Don’t ask God for direction if you don’t really want the answer, if you only want him to approve your plan. God does not honor that kind of request.
The reward of obedience. God knows our heart and he responds according to the sincerity of our requests. He will show you his will and give you direction if you choose to obey what he tells you. Your search for direction may take longer than you wish but trust God’s timing and “He will make your path straight.”