Sermon Note | Lean on God's wisdom, not your own
"Trust in the Lord will all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
- Proverbs 3:5-6
Recently, my eldest son and I went on a hike in the foothills of the Laurel Mountains, here in Pennsylvania. After fueling up at Primanti Bros., we headed into the woods. It was an easy hike on a familiar trail, so we didn’t take a map. We had some other essentials though – water, good boots, cold weather clothing, and so on. Midway through the trip, my prepared son revealed that he also had a compass. He brought it to practice his orienteering skills.
Compasses are cool things. When our surroundings are unfamiliar or shrouded in darkness, a good compass can guide us toward a goal that we wouldn’t otherwise find.
When we were leaving the state park a while later, we left through an exit opposite our point of entry. A quick turn steered me in a wrong direction, but I didn’t realize it at first. Looking at surroundings that seemed very familiar, I thought that I knew where I was. I thought that I knew where I was headed: north. However, as we drove and drove into increasingly unfamiliar rural surroundings, I realized that I might be going the wrong way. I asked my son to pull out his compass. Sure enough, the compass said that we weren’t headed north at all. We were headed quite the opposite: south!
Laughing, I turned us around and quickly got reoriented in the right direction. Within just a few minutes, we were back on track and on our way home. It was a good thing that we had a compass to correct my mistaken ideas! Otherwise, we might have enjoyed dinner in Maryland and not around our dinner table!
God tells us to be very careful about trusting in our own wisdom. Often times, we’re wrong when we think that we’re right. It’s therefore always good to test our understanding in the light of God’s Word, a compass of sorts for our lives. God wants us to reckon our understanding with his, to make sure that we’re in sync with the Spirit. No matter what we might think of feel in our own wisdom, it’s only when we truly follow where his Word leads that we are truly headed in the right direction.
As we go deeper into 2012, are you consistently orienting yourself with the wisdom of God in prayer, the study of his Word, and the godly counsel of his people? If not, stop. Take some time to seek God’s direction, asking where Christ would want you to go and seeking the wisdom of his Word and Spirit to get you there.