Choosing God’s Way Over My Way

By Dr. Jack Graham

My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with 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 3:1–6

Choices. We make hundreds of them every day. From the moment the alarm clock sounds in the morning until we close our eyes at night, we are faced with countless decisions—some miniscule and some life-changing.

Before any life choice we make regarding relationships, employment, our health, or a particular path to follow, we need the wisdom of God. We dare not make a decision without Him.

Proverbs 3:13 says: “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding.”And Proverbs 2:6 tells us that “the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”God’s wisdom is available to all; He wants us to have it.

The choice to receive His wisdom or to ignore it can be a tipping pointor a tripping pointin your life. If you choose God’s wisdom and His way, He will illuminate a path toward the center of His will. But if you stumble in the darkness and continue on your own path, disappointment and disobedience await.

Proverbs is a book of truthful observations written by a young King Solomon to his son. He is continuing this tradition—this transfer of wisdom—begun by his own father, the great King David of Israel. Before we can fully appreciate Solomon’s wisdom, let’s examine the incredible way in which he received it.

At the age of 20, as Solomon prepared to accept the reigns of leadership over Israel, God came to him in a dream with an amazing offer. God essentially said to Solomon: Ask me anything. Whatever you want is yours. (See 1 Kings 3:4–6.)

Can you imagine God making that offer to you? How would you respond?

Verses 7–9 contain Solomon’s surprising respond:“And now, O Lord my God, You have made your servant king in place of David, my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or coming in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen.… Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil…”(1 Kings 3:7–9).

In the simplest terms, Solomon asked for wisdom. He put aside selfishness and made a God-honoring choice. We know that the Lord was pleased with his request as He replied, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall rise after you” (1 Kings 3:11–12).

I have always viewed wisdom as “the ability to see things from God’s perspective.” Wisdom is choosing God’s way over our own way, and applying His truth and principles to our lives.

Proverbs gives us several practical guidelines for making the spiritual choice of God’s way over our way.

Choosing God’s way begins with fearing God.

The difference between making good decisions and bad decisions is often the fear of the Lord.

Proverbs 9:10 says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” You may be the most brilliant, insightful, educated, talented, and trained person alive, but if you do not live in the fear of the Lord, then the Bible says you are a fool. I personally think this is a great part of what’s wrong with our culture today: there’s no fear of God. You’re living foolishly if you’re living without God, and without the fear of God.

Fearing God means being awestruck in His presence and overwhelmed by His holiness! It is the fear of the Lord that causes us to run to Him, not from Him. In the presence of God we will find the forgiveness and grace and mercy to live life as He intended it.

Choosing God’s way requires filling our hearts with His Word.

My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.—Proverbs 3:1–4

Studying God’s Word is an absolute necessity for living wisely. This is echoed in the New Testament and throughout Scripture. The apostle Paul said in Ephesians 5:15–16: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” He goes on to say that the will of the Lord is that you be filled with the Holy Spirit.

We don’t get wisdom just by hoping so or wishing it to be so, but rather by pursuing it—by keeping God’s commandments and obeying Him. And this is why Bible study is so important. We must read, mark, and memorize God’s Word. We must hide it in our hearts. Because with the revelation of God comes the transformation of our lives.

Choosing God’s way means applying His wisdom to every area of our lives.

But we generally don’t do that, do we? We’ve become so good at compartmentalizing life—we have sections over here that we reserve for ourselves and other sections over there that we reserve for God. I think some of us believe that submitting to Christ involves changing our vocabulary a little bit on Friday night and changing our activities on Sunday morning.

But when Christ comes to live in us, when the Spirit of God indwells us, He offers wisdom that is applicable to every decision we make. Every compartment of our lives must be open to Him. Nothing should be off limits to God.

Choosing God’s way involves trust.

Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us that in choosing God’s way over our way, we must trust His purpose, plan, and will for our lives completely. It doesn’t say not to have understanding; it says don’t lean on your understanding. When you can’t figure out what to do, trust in God; He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. When life doesn’t make sense, trust the Lord with all your heart and He will show you the way; He will clear the path and give you the guidance you seek. And best of all, when trust is based upon love, the decision to follow God’s way will be easy.

Prayer:Lord, thank You for this opportunity to respond to Your truth. Help us to make wise decisions with our lives and to choose Your way over our way. We choose the way of Christ, which is not the best way, but the only way to live! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 


Dr. Jack Graham serves as Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest and most dynamic churches in the country.  

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