My son [and daughter], do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.
Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
And so find favor and high esteem
In the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. ~Proverbs 3:1-6
As we begin 2014, it is a perfect time to examine our lives and filter our commitments, relationships, motives, decisions, and plans through the Word of God to ensure that we are on the path that HE has directed.
Have you ever found yourself so busy with ‘life’ that you cannot remember which commitments, relationships, decisions, and plans were made because you heard His voice and which ones were made simply out of happenstance, circumstance, or obligation? I must admit that there have been times in my life when I have had to look at myself in the mirror and make an honest evaluation of just that. If you have not experienced this yet in your life, maybe today is the perfect time for you to take a few moments to filter everything in your life through the Word to be certain that you are walking in the perfect will of God.
Proverbs 3 is filled with many promises…. if you do this or that, then you will receive a promise. For example – to paraphrase the above mentioned verses of Proverbs 3 – if you keep God’s commands, then you will have long life and peace; if you live your life with mercy and truth, then you will find favor with God and man; if you trust in the Lord above all else and maintain an intimate relationship with Him, then He will make straight the crooked (uncertain) paths of your life.
Often, we like to hold onto the promise without acknowledging the requirement. Please do not misunderstand me: God’s grace is abundant and salvation is freely given. However, I believe that we choose daily whether or not to walk in His abundance or simply slide by because of His grace. To walk in His abundance, we must live by His Word – and His Word is filled with commands that we must embrace. When we embrace His Word, we will obey His voice. When we obey His voice, we will submit to His will. When we submit to His will, we will make decisions based upon His guidance.
I have heard others talk of networking and making connections with the “right” people in order to advance in their careers – even ministry. Sadly, many times people with this type of thought process make relationships based upon how they can benefit from those relationships instead of whether or not those relationships are ordained by God.
Friends, let me shout this message as loudly as I can:
If the door is not opened by God, you do not want what is on the other side of it.
If the relationship is not ordained by God, you do not want the results it will bring.
Many years ago, I promised God that I would never put myself in a position where any person could take credit or glory for the opportunities that He places in my life. I must admit that there have been numerous times when I could have walked through doors that were opened by ‘connections,’ but I heard the voice of God say, “no” and I obeyed. You see friends, God opens unexpected doors that do not require our manipulation. Yes, He often uses people to help, but He does it in a way that brings glory and honor to HIS Name only.
I encourage you today: Do not compromise who God is in your life. No opportunity is worth walking in disobedience. Trust him without having to know all of the answers. He always has your best interest in mind!