Be not wise in your own eyes,

   fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.

Proverbs 3: 7

If only it were this simple. Just avoid the trap that is out there ready to spring. In this case that trap is an over abundance of confidence in one’s own knowledge, skill, and competency to sort our life. Then, hold the appropriate level of respect for God, and hold Him in that position of being the better choice as the source of that same desired knowledge, skill, and competency. Finally, we need to turn away from evil, and so, stop doing what is wrong and do what is right. Unfortunately, life is seldom that clear about these matters, and we are also not usually this ready and willing to just set aside the things that we have been thinking and doing and turn to a more righteous way of life. Some of this reluctance to change is based in stubbornness, other aspects of it are grounded in the way that we have learned to survive in this world, and much of it is established in a set of deeply held and complex views of what is right, just, and good.

However, most of the things about the way that we live that God would desire for us to change are grounded in our understanding of who God actually is and are set off against the nature of the position of authority that we ascribe to God in our lives. If we hold God in high esteem and consider Him to be relevant in all areas of our lives and in the operation of the world, we will tend to be willing to yield our wills, desire for control, and self-interest to the Lord and to follow God’s Word as the singular absolute source of knowledge and wisdom. On the other hand, if God is understood as someone worthy of less than this high level of respect and not granted the same ultimate authority over all that takes place in life and in the world, then we will not be so inclined to subordinate our own logic, desires, and wisdom to His. Every person on the earth is traveling through life at some place on the continuum that is described above. Each of us gets to wrestle with our understanding of God and with our willingness to submit to Him and to follow His will over every other influence or source of guidance that we may know or hold as significant.

To me, there is one singular difference making element in this life-long tension that is set up by God’s having granted people the free will to make choices regarding how we relate to Him and in the sources that we will turn to for knowledge, guidance, and the wisdom that is required to sort it all out. God provided the world with His answer to the internal struggle that we are all faced with in the person of Jesus. In turn, He left us with His Spirit to dwell with us in the world and to literally reside within the bodies of everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Christ’s presence within our hearts and minds establishes a new foundation for understanding the nature, character, and will of God. The Spirit gives the gift of understanding and the perspective of eternal wisdom to all who seek this revelation from God. Christ changes the manner in which our eyes see our world by giving us a field of vision that is framed in by love, grace, mercy, and justice. He leads us into worshiping God in a manner that comes from deep within our souls as Christ within us causes us to turn away from evil’s attempts to deceive our minds and hearts and misdirect our steps away from God’s desired path.