Devotional Thought for Today
“Either ‘My Way” or ‘His Way’”
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
“If only we could do whatever we want whenever we want, then we would be happy!” At least it seems that way, right? But when we begin to act upon this, God’s commands become restrictions to our freedom and joy.
Now, the Scriptures are very clear: God does demand obedience, which, to some, appears harsh because they fail to understand its intent: to bear lasting fruits in our lives and lead us toward the path of real freedom.
Our passage commands us to trust God and abandon our own way of doing things (v. 5). We’re told to acknowledge him in everything (v. 6). How demanding! But where does it lead? To straight paths. How often are we confused or overwhelmed? How often do we wish life were simpler or that the right thing to do were clearer? Straight paths begin to sound like an amazing reward.
The author of the Proverbs further instructs us to let go of arrogance, fear the Lord, and turn away from evil (v.7). What a threat to our egos and our whims! But again, where does obedience lead? To healing and refreshment. Obedience takes us from a dry desert to an oasis.
Many years ago I was involved in a serious conflict with a close friend. The wisdom of the Lord told me to love and show grace. My own wisdom told me it was best to punish her, remain bitter, and protect my “rights.” My “freedom” cost me a friend and a great deal of joy.
It took a few years, but I finally submitted to the Lord and walked through forgiveness and reconciliation with her. The seemingly harder path of obedience was the one that brought healing and refreshment to my soul.
How does the Lord’s way appear much more difficult to you today? Ask God to grant you faith and humility that you might trust Him and find healing and refreshment.
Prayer: Oh Lord, I am in great need of Your healing and refreshment, yet I find it so hard to let go of my own ways and trust You. May I find joy and life in rejecting my own wisdom and following Your ways.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 17
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Corinthians 1:20-25: “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Questions to Consider
- According to v. 21, in what sense is the wisdom of the world foolishness?
- Why would a crucified savior be a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Greeks?
- In v. 24, the wisdom of the world is contrasted with what two things?
- The wisdom of the world is foolishness in that it cannot bring anyone into a true knowledge of God. The only way to know Him is to let Him tell us about Himself.
- The Jews expected a savior who would be powerful based on the standards of the world, not a suffering servant. The Greeks admired philosophical and rhetorical brilliance. A crucified savior appeared simplistic and crude.
- The wisdom and power of God. Power, not bare rational thought or profound insight, is the mark of God’s wisdom.
Did you experience conflict between your own wisdom and God’s wisdom today? Was there an instance where obedience led to your soul’s refreshment today?