Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.

1 Peter 5: 6, 7

There is an almost wildly crazy aspect to the way that God designed us humans, for we have this strong, independent streak that runs throughout our nature and that affects almost everything that we do. As elements of this characteristic existed in Eve and Adam from the first accounts of their existence, it seems that this was something that God designed into them. Yet, it is this same independence that leads to the sort of self-sufficient arrogance that got them and that gets me into many of the situations that cause us so much grief and worry. Then, for me, the worry, concern, and stress drive me deep inside myself. They close me off to engaging in healthy and helpful dialogue with other people, and they cause me to hide out from God. In the end, the situation just gets worse.

So, in trying to resolve this mystery of my Creator’s design for me and my relationship with Him, I have come to this understanding. God wants me and everyone else to desire to be involved in the relationship with Him. The Lord is first and foremost my loving Father. He wants to guide, nurture, counsel, and empower me to live a life that is full and joyous. God delights in the things that we do and in the way that we grow in our understanding of His righteousness. Recognizing my own need for the Lord’s continual guidance and wisdom is the first step toward living in the freedom that God intends for me to enjoy. Then, the next step is the hard one, for I must take my controlling hands off of the outcome and humbly allow God to take charge of the direction that I go in all aspects of my life. 

There is no instantaneous or miraculous cure for a lifetime of practicing the form of self-directed thinking that results in the type of isolation from God that I have experienced with its attendant anxiety and loss of peace and joy. Yet, the Lord provides me and all of us with great hope, for He is gracious with us. He places no restrictions or preconditions on His acceptance of the desire of our hearts to embrace His truth. As I yield myself to Him, God gives back to me and blesses me in ways that are far greater than I could have imagined. As we turn over everything, each and every challenge, worry, concern, struggle, and uncertainty to our loving Father; we can expect the miraculous, for He will provide the answers to it all while allowing that created independence and drive to flourish in ways that are made possible by dwelling in the center of the Lord’s will. 

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For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.

1 Corinthians 1: 12

 

Most of what comes across as complicated and complex in this world is made so by the way that people think. We like to consider the angles, look at the possibilities, and reflect upon the intricacies of almost everything that comes along the way. It is the nature of humans to be inquisitive and to be skeptical at the same time. We don’t want to be fooled into making bad decisions because we under thought the situation, and we would prefer to be the masters of our own destiny based upon the careful manner in which we approached the challenge at hand. This is so much the character of our species that it is generally very hard for us to accept something based upon simple trust and faith.

 

Yet, that is what God has asked of us when it comes to relating to Him and to following His will. We are given the option of entering into a relationship with an unseen being who offers up a hope that is based upon actions that He has taken which seem utterly irrational when evaluated in human terms. Still, that is the point of it all, for our drive to over evaluate things is often a significant impediment to our ability to accept Christ and to enter into that offer of salvation that comes from God by and through Jesus. We want to make it too complex and to overlay what Christ has done with human reason, but Christ’s life, death, and resurrection defy such structure as they are carried out from God’s greater perspective of eternity and from that of His glorious kingdom come into earthly presence. If we are willing and able to set aside our drive for grasping ahold of complete mastery of our understandings and enter into the mystical world of faith, we can also engage with life with God’s view of things.

 

The Lord’s vision and insight change the way that things seem in this world, and He reshapes the manner in which we engage with them, too. Christ’s simplicity and sincerity are defined in the form of a passionate love for all people, an unrelenting adherence to righteousness, pouring out of boundless grace, an ongoing call to people to repent and to return to their Creator, and willing sacrifice of all for the sake of the redemption of any. None of this is complex or complicated. All of what Christ models for us is also ours to be entered into in His power and guided by His Spirit. As we navigate the course that God has granted to us for our days, we too can proclaim that our consciences are clear in that we are taking the truth of Christ’s Gospel of redemption as our life’s direction, and we are living out the Lord’s will for our lives to the best of our ability by virtue of God’s grace.

For to set the mind on flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8: 6

 

God made a choice; He wants to be with us. He desires our companionship and our worship. He could leave us in our lost states, and He could walk away when we start to live like the lost again; but then He wouldn’t be the one true God. For the Lord has made promises to us, and through His Word and by His Spirit He shows us a clear picture of who He is and of how He behaves. God has been demonstrating His faithful love and His unending involvement with people through all of history, and as a personal example of this, He has been holding onto me for as long as I can remember.

 

Yet, I have made a lot of choices in my life that were not so good. I continue to make choices that are clearly not in God’s plan for me, and in these sorts of thoughts and actions I have a lot of company. Everyone faces struggles like this; for, we all make the decision to sin, and it is easy to rationalize and to say that I was just caught off-guard or that it was the bad behavior of someone else that sent me over the edge. But, speaking truth, the sinful things that we do are the result of personal choice. And that choice leads to a form of death, for it separates us from God’s will and from the intimate, close relationship that we can have with Him. Isaiah said it this way,

“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you” (Isaiah 59: 2)

 

Thus, when we choose to think, to act, and to live like someone who does not know Christ, we are making a decision to live in a state like that of death; yet, climbing into the coffin and pulling the lid shut simply makes no sense. God tells us that there are alternatives, and He provides us with a better way to approach life. We are instructed to set our minds so that we are steering a course that has the purpose and the precision of piloting a ship or a plane. Thus, we need to go through life focused very clearly and specifically on the presence of the Spirit of Christ and on listening to His voice. It is important to actively and purposefully do this, for it won’t just happen all of the time.

 

Each of us is different, and what works best for me may not do the same for you. So here are some of the methods that I use to set my mind on the Spirit. I can start every day by pointing my heart and mind into the center of God’s will through prayer and reading Scripture. Then, throughout the day, by entering into prayer and listening to God, I recheck where I am regarding the Lord’s will. Finally, I can choose to end each day by seeking God in prayer with my heart and mind listening attentively to His voice. The life that God wants to lead us to is full of adventure, and it will satisfy us totally. The life that my Lord has planned for me will give me everything that I desire and much more, and it is a life that is characterized by a heart-deep peace that is unbreakable. All of this is there for each of us if we will simply choose to follow the leading of the Spirit.

Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Psalm 51: 6

 

God is like most loving fathers in that He delights in the characteristics of His children. This is especially true for those times in our lives when we most closely resemble our Father. Thus, when we allow truth to prevail in our lives regardless of the personal outcome, God’s smile is as broad as is the entire universe. The Lord implanted truth into the hearts of all people when He created us, for this is an essential part of being made in God’s image. So, it is up to us to respond to this basic component of our beings by allowing it to influence our lives.

 

As we open our hearts to God’s Spirit and seek to develop a relationship with Him, the Lord’s truth starts to have an ever greater influence on the decisions that we make and on the manner that we approach our interactions with others. It is in this process of growing closer to God that the innate, implanted truth of God is worked and processed into the operative component of decision-making that is known as wisdom. Then wisdom guides us away from the natural realm of self centered actions into the Lord’s desired one of self sacrifice.

 

This process of growing closer to God by allowing His Spirit the opportunity to reveal more and more of the person that He designed us to be never ceases in this life. Whether we are deeply committed to living in the center of God’s eternal truth or if we are still rejecting most of it, we have only begun to probe the actual depths of understanding. The person who makes silly and harmful life choices on a daily basis needs to get to know the author of wisdom, and so does the person who lives most of life in the center of the Lord’s will. The fact that I still have miles and miles to travel in gaining in understanding of God’s truth and in learning to apply His wisdom is strangely comforting, for God makes this life a great adventure of discovery and growth, and He is continually delighted with each of us when we choose to travel through the day with Him.