Trust God, Not You

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 7, 2019 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” ~Proverbs 3:5

This is one of the most famous verses out of the book of Proverbs, and I can truly say it is the least obeyed. It’s certainly one I don’t apply as often as I’d like to say. Do we truly trust in the Lord with all our hearts? Or do we lean on our own understanding, our own way of thinking? One of my pet peeves is when I hear people claim to be Christians, then spew out some completely heretical and anti-Biblical teachings. After I correct them with, “This is what the Bible actually says,” their response is, “That’s your interpretation.”

God never intended any of us to “interpret” the Bible in any fashion other than the clear language in which it was written. It’s an issue I’ve hit through numerous articles but specifically in my post A Matter of Interpretation. Katie Erickson has also written an article where she gives the basics of hermeneutics. But in all this, there is a key feature in all the arguments about Bible interpretation to watch out for. Who is the filter for determining what is said – God or you?

Many people will say, “How can you read anything without ‘interpreting’ it? After all, we all read our own understanding and experiences into everything we read.” That’s actually true. One of the things I’ve frequently taught is what our worldview is and what it does. It acts as the filter for how we receive and understand things. As Christians, it is imperative that the worldview we use is not ours but God’s in “interpreting” Scripture. These people who side with worldly ideas, even while claiming to be Christian, do not use the Bible as the filter and standard for interpretation, but their own ideas and their own thinking. And in the vast majority of cases, those ideas are in line with this world and with the “experts” of this world, and not with God’s direct, clear, and unambiguous message. There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. The only way to make sure we are getting it right is to NOT trust ourselves, but to trust God alone.

I see this particularly strong in the Old Earth Creation circles, but I also hear this in the Prosperity Gospel circles and heavily in the Emergent Church/Progressive Christian circles. The idea is the same: “I get the be the boss of what God says and whether I want to believe it or not. If I don’t like it, I can change what it means to make it more palatable.” How many times have you heard people saying, “We need to reach these lost people with a message they can understand and receive?” But they aren’t talking about presenting the same true Gospel in a language they can understand, but rather taking out the “offensive” parts. So instead of saying, “God created the heavens and the earth in six days,” to a scientific audience, they instead say, “The science shows billion of years (it doesn’t) therefore the Bible didn’t quite understand what we know today.” Instead of saying homosexuality is a sin, they say, “God loves them just as they are.” What they strive to do is to take out the sting of the Gospel. Why? Because they don’t trust God can do what he does best: convince the heart of the unbeliever, and instead trust upon their own understanding of how a message is to be received.

How should we trust in the Lord, then? How can we read the Bible without inserting our opinions into it? The easy answer is to get you out of the way and let God speak straight. One thing I don’t see nor hear from those who favor “other interpretations” is the seeking of God to clarify what He meant. I tell the skeptics that when I don’t understand something in the Bible, I ask the Author what He was saying. Words have meaning and while languages do change, the message has not. God said what He meant, and He meant what He said. We have to learn to trust God that He got it right the first time, didn’t stutter in saying it, and will deliver perfectly on what He said. When people disregard God and don’t trust what He said on things like Genesis, rest assured that with FEW exceptions, they also disregard and don’t trust Him on things like the Gospel or about His return. And many will do this the whole time claiming to be Christians and that they believe the Gospel. Do they? Making a proclamation of faith is one thing, but Jesus said that won’t cut it.

Why is it so hard to trust God? Man knows less than 1% of what there is to know and each time we discover something, the more we realize how little we do know. Yet God is omniscient. He knows everything there is to know. Why is it hard to trust the one who knows everything to have things under control? Why do we so easily trust ourselves, who truly know very little in comparison? There is an easy answer to this: sin, namely pride. When the Serpent tempted Eve, the temptation was to be as knowledgeable and to be like God. Since the Fall, man has always sought to be better than God. He always sought to be smarter, wiser, more moral, and better than God. That’s precisely what Satan tried to do in his initial rebellion against God.

Man does not trust God because in his sinful, prideful heart, he thinks he’s better than God. But is that true? Can man top God? The answer is an emphatic NO. Nothing man can do can best what God offers. When all men gather together to rage and battle against God, He laughs at them. God knows their thoughts and he knows how to answer each thought. The heart of man is wicked and deceitful. It lies to us. We will readily lie to ourselves to make us feel good, even to our own peril.

And why? Why do we do that? The answer is because we’ve been trained by both our own sin and by the education system to trust our minds and to trust yourself. We commonly hear phrases like, “Follow your heart,” or “What does your heart tell you?” Teachers and counselors always ask, “What do you want to do?” It’s always self-driven, self-understanding, and self-motivated. Our world today focuses as much attention on trusting yourself and trusting your own understanding that when we suddenly come to the Bible, we read it via the same training we received from the world. Let me break it to you simply, but firmly. You cannot be a Christian and live or think as the world does without the Holy Spirit convicting you about it and dealing with it.

We have to stop trusting we can figure it out. This is really hard for intellectual types like me, because those who are educated and know how to think tend to rely on our own understanding far more often than we would like to admit. When you read the Bible, let God speak. Put all your “other books” aside, including the commentaries if you must. They aren’t Scripture and they aren’t they don’t carry the same authority. Many of them are true and many of them are good reading, however, what you are reading is what someone who was not inspired by God thought about what they learned. It doesn’t carry the same authority. Don’t trust upon them over God (as many are wont to do).

Trust the Lord COMPLETELY. Forsake your own understanding because unless it is completely yielded to Christ, it is not to be trusted. When it is completely yielded to Christ, it will cease being your understanding but rather Christ sharing His understanding through you. Stop listening to the “wise of this world.” They really don’t know anything. Buy the Truth, seek wisdom, and get understanding, but know that it can only come from God and will return to God for His glory and His purposes. Anything else is null, void, in vain, and utterly worthless.

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RunningBear said...

This is right thinking. I would pray that I could explain it this plainly!

Charlie said...

Thanks for reading. The more I think about this one, the more I realize, it needs more. The depth to this is something I only scratched the surface upon. I am glad you learned from this and I pray for us both that we continue putting this into practice.