REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., was originally posted on March 22, 2014. Mark is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
Proverbs 16 affirms the wisdom of taking responsibility for every decision we make, based on the fact that the plans of the heart belong to man. When making life decisions, people make two mistakes: First, they don’t take full responsibility for their choices; and second, they don’t factor in God’s providence into the outcome of their lives. I’ve realized that it can be very difficult to work with Christians regarding career choices, relationships, and other life decisions because they are always looking for some sign from God.
In some ways, the modern believer is still looking for some power of divination to help find the will of God. I think we all recognize that life would be so much easier if we just had a holy version of the eight ball to tell us what to do with our lives. We laugh at something like that, but is that any different than the person who flips open the Bible to a random spot and decides that whatever he reads is God’s answer? A funny but true story: I had a friend from college who wondered if she would ever get married and decided to go to the Bible for some answers. She just happened to flip to Psalm 56:1 in her NIV and took great encouragement from the text because it told her, “For men hotly pursue me.” Good thing she didn’t have the ESV because it would have said, “Men trample on me.”
The real question that we need to ask ourselves is, “Why do we want a fail proof method of making life decisions?” And if we are honest, part of the answer is that we simply don’t want to be completely accountable for our decisions, especially if things go bad. We need to have someone to blame, even if that someone is God. I don’t know how many times I have heard people complain about a decision that they had made, and then blamed God for things not going the way they had planned. This is a very dangerous road to go down in terms of our faith, because it replaces genuine trust in God with our selfish desire to control our lives. For this reason, Proverbs 16:2 rightfully reminds us that “All the ways of man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.” We know that the will of God is pure and good, but we find ways to screw it up. In those times when life takes an unexpected turn, we must believe that only God can redeem all our choices and establish our plans!
Prayer: Dear God, help me to stop blaming my circumstances or people in my life to explain away my failures. Remind and empower me to take responsibility for my own life. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 2 Corinthians 10-11