Christians constantly seem to under-engage with the things of God. That means they don’t throw themselves into God’s arms and God’s plans as often as they could and should.
We even see whole denominations whose main emphasis is explaining what God can’t do and why God doesn’t do things today. Instead of building faith and connecting people with their miracle-working God, they tell people to be happy without any evidence of God’s reality and power in their life.
So I can’t be too upset when ordinary Christians regularly get on with life as if God didn’t care about their situation and any progress is up to them.
However, the Bible tells us to rely on God, casting our problems onto Him, trusting God to get us through difficult situations.
“Jesus said to His disciples, Have faith in God.” Mark 11:22
“Throw all your cares on God, for he cares for you.” 1Peter 5:7
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will do it.” Psalm 37:5
“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.” Proverbs 3:5,6
I particularly want to focus you on the ‘do not lean on your own understanding’ instruction.
It seems from my own experience and my conversations with thousands of Christians through the decades, that Christians are likely to do all in their own power to deal with things, rather than call on or rely on God.
A simple example happened recently. A man who I know has strong faith was held up and was way behind time on a key project. He was about to miss some key appointments and he had more things to do than time to do them.
The man became agitated and stressed, determined to do all in his power to get through this tough situation. A Christian friend advised him to look to the Lord and the man defended himself, saying he was already trusting God, but just needed to get on top of the next thing on the list.
That Christian man was leaning on his own understanding. He knew what had to be done and was not afraid to put pressure on himself to get it done. He was, however, self-reliant, instead of casting this problem and burden on the Lord.
It seems to me that we are all quite prone to acting just like that. We know we need God’s help but we start by making sure we need as little of it as possible, taking as much stress and load on ourselves as we can.
The next thing we do is figure out what we think is the best solution and then cry out to God do what we want. This is what I am calling the ‘Do It My Way God’ syndrome.
I am guilty of that very thing, so I’m speaking from experience here. In years past, when I was running late for something, I would drive as fast as I was allowed, praying, “Lord, give me the wings of an eagle.”
I thought that was quite spiritual, calling on God to get me through the traffic. However, that very prayer was telling God how I wanted Him to solve my problem. It may well be that the meeting I was scuttling to wasn’t going to be important, or would be called off at the last minute, for some reason other than me. It might be that the whole issue I was hurrying to attend to should have been put on the back-burner and not given the priority I was giving it. It may be that there were more important things to do and more important places to be than getting to the meeting on ‘eagle wings’.
Truly letting go means we don’t lean on our own understanding and try to get God to bless our plans. It means we actually let go of the problem and the problem within the problem, so to speak.
Someone who walked in the spirit and trusted God implicitly in everything would react to a delay differently to the rest of us. They would not get stressed and take matters into their own hands. They would not let themselves get wound up to the eyeballs, hurtling in various directions trying to put out fires. They would rest in the Lord.
I am reminded of a testimony I once read, back from World War Two, where a ship was on fire. The situation was dire. At one point it was realised the Captain was not at his post and a young man was sent to find him. The young man found the Captain on his knees in his cabin, handing this impossible situation to God.
The young man was reluctant to knock, but he was under orders to find the Captain. At about that time the ship was shaken by a huge explosion. It turned out that huge boiler tanks exploded from the heat, but also put out the fire. The whole drama was soon over and the ship was saved.
The Captain had turned to God, rather than his own wits. God came through. The young man was deeply impressed by this and reclaimed the faith he had abandoned from his youth.
Are you a ‘Do It My Way God’ person? It’s time to start learning the lesson of resting instead of giving orders and taking matters into your own hands.
Remember those verses quoted earlier.
“Have faith in God. Throw all your cares on God. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will do it. 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.”