Raising kids and guiding them through the tough choices of life is one of the hardest tasks that I have encountered as a parent. As an example, I have heard my own kids down through the years ask one particular question more than any other in the context of trying to discern between right and wrong. That question is: “What’s wrong with doing this or what’s wrong with this idea or belief?” I love answering that question because it gives me the opportunity to share a new perspective with my kids.
First, I will address their question or issue and then I will propose to them a new line of thinking. In addressing their question, I give them a formula I learned for discerning between right and wrong that I learned from author Jerry Bridges in his book “The Pursuit of Holiness.”
Bridges shares two verses to guide us in the pursuit of right and wrong. First, 1 Corinthians 6:12 states: “All things are lawful for me, but all are not profitable; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” The second verse is 1 Corinthians 10:31, which declare: “Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” From these verses, Bridges poses three questions we all should ask about any issue that we are considering.
- Is it profitable spiritually for me?
- Is it going to bring me under its power?
- Does it bring glory to God?
As you can see, these verses and questions make a pretty compelling case spiritually for our directions and decisions. This formula from God’s Word that is illustrated by Jerry Bridges has helped me tremendously over the years in helping my kids discern between right and wrong.
After this explanation, I can help them go to a different level of thinking. I remind them that God never meant for us to live our lives asking what’s wrong with doing this or that. John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came to give us life and give it to us more abundantly. In other words, God desires to give us His best and I do not believe that ever means trying to spend our time figuring out how to get by spiritually. I encourage them instead to spend their lives wisely in search of God’s best for their lives. Instead, they should be asking “God, what is the best thing or the wise thing?”
Indeed, parenting is hard work and I too have made many mistakes. However, I always wanted to point my kids towards developing an intimate loving relationship with God and give them scriptural guidelines for making decisions. When they grasp this truth, then it becomes so exciting to see them begin to pursue God’s best for their lives.
Let’s covenant together as parents to pray for each other and all of our students as we seek to guide them in finding Godly wisdom for their lives. The Bible tells us in Luke 2:52 that Jesus was raised to grow in wisdom. May God give our children that same Godly wisdom.
We have all encountered those times of life when we have wondered what action or what direction we should follow when life comes to a fork in the road. We stand at that point so often in life and wonder what we should do.
The will of God for Christians can seem so elusive for us at times. One of my favorite passages of Scripture that helps me through the process and serves as a daily guidepost for me is Proverbs 3:5-6. These verses tell us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
The secret is found in verse 6 when it says “He will direct”. Who is the He? He is the God of the Bible, the God who spoke the galaxies into existence, the God who has the hairs of our heads numbered, the God who sees the sparrow fall, and the God who holds the universe in His hands. I am convinced when it comes to the indecisive times of life we forget who the “He” is that wants to direct our paths.
As Christians, we need to make sure that we do trust the Lord with all our heart and try not to solve everything by our own reason but acknowledge Him as Lord and allow Him to guide us. We all want God to tell us what the next 30 years will look like and how everything is to unfold, but God does not work like that. If we knew it all, we would not be dependent on Him but instead try to continually fix things on our own.
We begin by trusting Him to direct our paths. You may be skeptical and wonder how this really works. For me, I trust Him and then I spend time in His word daily so that He can direct me. Psalm 119:105 tells us that “His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” The image that this verse gives us is the idea of being a dark and treacherous path and having only a lamp to provide us light for the next step on the path. That truth transcends into our everyday experience of trusting God for our direction each and every day of our lives. As we trust and acknowledge Him and follow His Word, He will give us enough light to take the next step each day.
Life carries at times so much stress about the future and trying to determine the will of God for our lives. I pray that each of us will take the truth of these verses and allow God to be God in our daily lives so that we can move from being fearful and unsure about which direction to take and instead allow Him to direct our paths. Even if this means He only provides enough direction for one small step at a time.
These verses have reminded me this week that our God, the God of the Bible, can be trusted and that He always has our best in mind!
I love watching our little ones in the Early Education program here at Metrolina as they are so excited about learning new things and gaining new experiences. Even the smallest things of this life bring them joy and you can see that sense of newness with all they encounter. It is exciting to watch them enjoy life and all the things that God has surrounded them with.
As adults, that wonder of life can get lost as our personal lives seem to fall into such ruts and become anything but new or fresh. The daily routine can feel the same and it can become tedious to say the least. All of us have had those Sunday nights when we dread going back to work or to some other responsibility because of that rut we are in. This feeling oftentimes invades our spiritual lives as well.
Unfortunately, many Christians are living without a sense of wonder and excitement of what God is doing in their daily lives. I am afraid that spiritual burnout and monotony are all too common amongst Christians. God never intended for His people to live this way.
The good news is that we serve a God who wants to give us a different spirit and perspective in our daily lives. In Revelation 21:5, God declares “Behold, I am making all things new.” He sent His Son to die on a cross so that we might be “a new creature in Christ” as 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us. He has given us a “new heart” and a “new spirit” according to Ezekiel. He has also called us “to walk in the newness of life” as believers.
My heart’s desire is to not only be a believer who has set himself apart for God and away from the things of this world but also to truly enjoy the Christian life. God has made all things new in my life since I accepted Him as Lord and Savior and I want to live the abundant life that Jesus promised in John 10. He came so that you and I might have that abundant life. That abundant life being a life filled with His joy, His peace, His love, His direction, and more.
I do not know about you but I do not want to live my life dreading that Monday is coming. I want to allow Him to live through me so that the world will know that I belong to Him because of the joy, love, laughter, hope, and sense of newness that characterize my life.
This desire reminds me of the old song we used to sing in Vacation Bible School when I was a kid that said “I got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.” I want to allow God to bring the joy that only He can give in my heart to stay.
God is indeed making all things new! I pray that God would renew each of our hearts today with a passion for Him and that we would allow Him to pull us out of the rut we may be in.
All of us experience those times in our lives when we feel overwhelmed and over our head. That feeling can have such a demoralizing presence in our life. I am afraid many times when things are going good that we may often neglect the privilege of calling out to God in prayer. However, when things are over our head, we most times call out in desperation to God.
Charles Spurgeon described these times so well when stated: “prayer is never more real and acceptable than when it rises up out of the worst places.” I am convinced the struggles we all face could be better handled if we understood ahead of time the leadership that our Great Shepherd will provide for us as we seek Him.
As Christians, we must recognize and submit to the leadership of our great God if we are to navigate the road of life. I have always found Psalm 23 to be one of those great passages that describe the provision and leadership that God wants to provide for our lives. Psalm 23 is all about the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd. Sheep by nature are prone to wander. The Shepherd is there to guide us through the times when we are in over our head. Psalm 23 declares:
“The Lord is my shepherd (leader); I lack nothing. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He refreshes my soul: He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and staff comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
The leadership and provision that God provides is described so beautifully in these verses. First, He is our leader and because of Him we shall lack nothing we need to live this life. He gives us rest and leads us to quiet places when we are in the midst of a storm. He is always with us no matter what we may face. He not only refreshes our spirits during difficult times but He also provides everything we need during those storms. Because of Him, we can live an abundant life and even though we battle adversity we will always experience His goodness and His love.
When I read those verses, I become so encouraged and strengthened in my spirit because of the hope, the joy, and the comfort we have with God. There may be raging waters and storms in your life right now but as a Christian our God wants to lead you to “still waters”.
I pray that God will use this passage to remind us that we need to rely on Him for His leadership and provision whether we are in over our head or not that day.