Lean Not On Your Own Understanding
It is written,
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
There is a great need, in the Body of Christ, to know how to be “led” by God’s Spirit. In fact, in my opinion, being led the the Holy Ghost may literally make the difference between heaven and hell for many in these last days. In a time of “Strong Delusion” we will not be able to go by what seems right to our natural minds, but we will have to rely upon the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit to know what is of God and what is not. God says,
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
The first step in learning to be led by the Spirit is trust. Trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, and ability of someone. It is the confidence that what someone says is true. Thus, we must first “trust” God’s voice before we can “hear” God’s voice. Else, if we do not believe that God speaks to us we will not obey.
Although God is fully trustworthy, many of us must learn to trust Him. We have been brought up in a world that largely does not know God and so we learn to trust our five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Since we are used to going by what we think is right it can be difficult to switch over to living our lives by what God speaks to us.
God has all knowledge and all wisdom. When God makes a decision is it based upon a perfect understanding of everything. We, on the other hand, base our decisions upon severely limited knowledge and understanding. What seems right in our own eyes is based upon and incomplete picture of what is really going on. Therefore, when God asks us to do something what He says often goes again our own reasoning. We see things one way but God, who knows all, sees things clearly. We must trust what He says more than what we think if we are to be successful believers. When we do this we find that, indeed, God was right and everything, however impossible it may have looked, worked out just fine.
Another problem we have in following the Spirit of God is that we are constantly trying to “figure out” what He is doing and why He is doing it. It is the old “hath God said” scenario that has happened from the beginning of time. God says to do such and such and we immediately try to fit what He is doing into our limited world view. We use the knowledge of good and evil to decide whether what God said makes sense. Thus, when what God says to do does not work out like we assumed it would our faith is shaken.
Trying to figure things out with our natural minds, we all too often jump to conclusions. What God wanted to do was nothing like what we wrongly assumed He wanted to accomplish. Our disappointment arises from our failure to understand God’s motives and methods. We assume things about what God wants to do and when He does not fit our preconceived notions we blame Him and lose faith.
Again, this is where “trust” comes into play. Our trust in God should not be “outcome dependent” but rather we should simply trust Him because we have faith that He knows exactly what He is doing. We are like individual chess pieces on a vast chess board, moved by His Spirit, in a grand masters match of the ages. Many times we cannot see, from our perspective, why we are moved to do certain things, but we have confidence that our obedience will help win the overall game. Likewise, when we are moved by His Spirit to certain actions in this world we trust His ability to lead and guides us into victory. We may not understand the intricacies of His plan but we do trust that He knows what He is doing.
This is why it is important for us not to lean upon our own understanding. When we elevate the imperfect that we think we know above the perfect that He actually does know, we can really mess us God’s plan. People do this all the time for various reason until, when one considers it, it is a wonder that God gets anything done at all. While we are in control of our lives God is not. While we make decisions based upon what we know God is not able to move His plan forward by what He knows. When we lean upon our own understanding we “frustrate” the will of God in our lives. Everything great deed in the Bible was done by men and women who believed God in the face of circumstances that looked the exact opposite of what God was saying. What if if Noah, who had never seen rain, decided that the voice He heard was not ridiculous?
Often times we will not do the will of God because of what we think might happen. Human beings are great at imagining the worst of all possible futures. God says “go” and we say “no”, based upon what we believe the consequences will be. We firmly believe that we know the “actual” circumstances of our lives and what will happen if we do what God commands. Sometimes out of fear or sometimes out of plain laziness, we will not do what God asks because we “know” the trouble it will get us into. However, God loves us and actually “knows” that if we will trust Him even the most outlandish course of action He prescribes will work out to our eternal benefit.
Standing at the edge of the Red Sea five minutes before Moses raised his staff over the waters everything looked hopeless. The children of Israel said,
“And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord.And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?”
Moses had, to all appearances, lead the children of Israel to their deaths or re-enslavement. Yet, what looked one way to the natural man was, in fact, God’s divine plan for the total salvation of His people. Likewise, when the Holy Spirit goads us to do something that looks completely disastrous to our natural reasoning we must know that He has a plan for us that we cannot yet see. That is the time that we should not lean upon our own understanding but acknowledge God and let him direct our paths.
In conclusion, let us trust God and lean not upon our own understanding. Let us have confidence in what our Father says because we know who He is. If we do, we will find out that what seems impossible was simply a paper tiger that looked menacing but held no real danger. We will find that everything we thought prevented us from doing God’s will was, in fact, a mirage that vanished when we reach it. God’s word, whether written word or revealed through His Spirit is what is real, what is truth, and what will never change. Let God be God in our lives and let us always submit to His will even if it goes against our understanding.