Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (August 28, 2023)

We are finishing up with our series on “discerning the will of God.” We have seen that, in order to figure out God’s will for our lives, we must study God’s word, pray for God’s wisdom, and listen to godly counsellors. Today, we take a look at one final admonition: to know God’s will, we must practice God’s commandments!

We often bemoan our estate here in this world, where we are constantly struggling to find “direction” in our lives. Isn’t it often the case that, when faced with two equally moral pathways, we don’t really know which one to take? And sometimes, we are tempted to “lay down and wait” – sort of putting things into spiritual “neutral’ until we get clear guidance from God. But the “lay down and wait” approach is the wrong approach for a Christian to take when faced with decisions in life: rather, we should adopt the “keep on keeping on” approach!

You see, when we put God’s commandments into practice – even when we do not feel like it – Proverbs 16:3 assures us that our minds will eventually come around to His way of thinking: “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” This includes God’s guidance! Nowhere in the word of God are we permitted to “lay down” on the job! Even when unsure of the next step in our path of life, we ALWAYS have the confidence that we should be doing God’s will while we wait, and in doing so our thoughts will ultimately be conformed to His will for us.

Remember, friends, that God requires YOU to follow Him! His leading is very personal, focused not only upon His Creation in general, but upon each child individually. Let’s read a very familiar Psalm in a way that emphasizes the “me’s” and “I’s”:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: 

for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the daysof my life:

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

It makes a difference, doesn’t it? No doubt the Lord leads ALL of His children, and that’s all well and good – but He leads YOU, child of God! He doesn’t require you to figure out what everyone else’s pathway is, only YOURS! He doesn’t require you to wait until everyone else starts being faithful to Him, either. Remember Job’s wife, who in anger or despair encouraged him to “curse God and die”? Should Job have waited until SHE was faithful to be faithful to God himself? NO! My beloved friend, YOU must follow Him, even if no one else does!

We should also note that God requires us to walk by FAITH, and not by sight. Five times in Scripture, Jesus rebukes those who seek after signs. In Matthew 16:4, He declares that those who seek after signs are a “wicked and adulterous generation.” Why is that? Maybe it’s because when you’re seeking a sign, you’re not walking in faith! Four times in Scripture, we read that “the just shall live by faith” (see Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; and Heb. 10:38). Paul tells the Corinthians, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor. 5:7. Although this is written in a parenthetical, it is a BIG principle!

Finally, remember that God does NOT require you to work it all out by yourself! Walking by faith is by definition a scary thing! It means you can not see the entire path ahead, but you simply trust God for the next step! When you leave a restaurant to drive home at night, you do not need your headlights to shine all the way from the restaurant parking lot to your garage at home: you only need the headlights to illuminate the immediate path ahead! Do you remember Gideon? God told him to lose the majority so he could win with the minority. That didn’t make any natural sense to Gideon, but it sure made heavenly sense! Do you remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? God didn’t tell them how He would deliver, they just knew He would!

Let’s remember Proverbs 3:5-7: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” The word “direct” in verse 6 means “to make straight or even;” figuratively, it means to make right, pleasant, or prosperous; to make level, or to smooth out. The idea here is that the path may be crooked, strewn with obstacles, but God bull-dozes the way clear for you!

Ultimately, God leads us by a sense of His peace, rather than by signs and wonders. The world gives only stress and turmoil; “[b]ut the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated. . . .” James 5:17. And always remember, beloved friends: no matter how difficult the journey, the ultimate destination is already set!

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor